Tag: Books: Translated Texts


Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 25 November, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Here we go, another set of mini-reviews that couldn’t possibly fit in review posts of their own xD Once again this batch of mini-reviews features mainly classics (especially from the Little Black Classics series–after oggling over them for a good chunk of the year, I finally got my hands on some of them! 🙂 ). Included in this batch of reviews are:

So without further ado…

How We Weep and Laught at the Same Thing
By: Michel de Montaigne
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

‘No one characteristic clasps us purely and universally in its embrace.’

A selection of charming essays from a master of the genre exploring the contradictions inherent to human thought, words and actions.

I first encountered Michel de Montaigne in my first year of undergrad. We had to read a selection of essays for World Literature class and absolutely fell in love with his stuff; he wrote about things that I often thought about, and I could totally emphasise where he was coming from with certain topics. I wish I had picked up his complete works when I was in undergrad instead of the required selected text, but whatever, every now and then I’d pick up a slim volume from Penguin Classics featuring a few of his essays. This is one of them, in which he contemplates on the nature of human thought, how we define ourselves, life, death, etc. I don’t know what else I could really say about it except that it’s worth checking out; a lot of his observations are still applicable today and to the human condition.

Rating: ★★★★★

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Review: Wolf Winter

Posted 3 November, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Wolf Winter
By: Cecilia Ekack
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley

Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms BlackĂĄsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow.

While herding the family’s goats on the mountain, Frederika happens upon the mutilated body of one of their neighbors, Eriksson. The death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbors’ strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson’s widow, Maija is drawn into the dark history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackåsen. Young Frederika finds herself pulled towards the mountain as well, feeling something none of the adults around her seem to notice.

As the seasons change, and the wolf winter, the harshest winter in memory, descends upon the settlers, Paavo travels to find work, and Maija finds herself struggling for her family’s survival in this land of winter-long darkness. As the snow gathers, the settlers’ secrets are increasingly laid bare. Scarce resources and the never-ending darkness force them to come together, but Maija, not knowing who to trust and who may betray her, is determined to find the answers for herself. Soon, Maija discovers the true cost of survival under the mountain, and what it will take to make it to spring.

I’ve been wanting to read this book since late last year when I saw a few fellow book bloggers post reviews on this novel. The premise sounded interesting and some have recommended it if you liked Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites (review), which I did. Many thanks to the publishers for approving me an eARC of the book to read in anticipation for the paperback release of this novel. The paperback of this novel will be available on 2 November 2015.

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Review: Hollow Heart

Posted 23 October, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Hollow Heart
By: Viola di Grado
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In this courageous, inventive, and intelligent novel, Viola di Grado tells the story of a suicide and what follows. She has given voice to an astonishing vision of life after life, portraying the awful longing and sense of loss that plague the dead, together with the solitude provoked by the impossibility of communicating. The afterlife itself is seen as a dark, seething place where one is preyed upon by the cruel and unrelenting elements. The Hollow Heart will frighten as it provokes, enlighten as it causes concern. If ever there were a novel that follows Kafka’s prescription for a book to be a frozen axe for the sea within us, it is The Hollow Heart.

I’ve heard good things about Viola di Grado’s works and she was definitely recommended if you enjoyed works from other Italian authors like Elena Ferrante (see author tag). So I decided to check out this book (though her first novel, 70% Acrylic 30% Wool, sounds very interesting too and got a lot of great reviews!), even though the little mention at the above quote about Kafka sort of left me hesitating for a moment (not a big fan of Kafka).

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Review: The Little Paris Bookshop

Posted 23 September, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 8 Comments

The Little Paris Bookshop
By: Nina George
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.

Two Three things caught my attention with this novel: the title, the book cover, and the premise of the novel. I love books about books, about characters who love books and recommend books to other people. I received an eARC of this novel courtesy of the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book was available on 23 June 2015.

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Review: The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

Posted 21 September, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

The Poetry of Pablo Neruda
By: Pablo Neruda
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

“In his work a continent awakens to consciousness.” So wrote the Swedish Academy in awarding the Nobel Prize to Pablo Neruda, the author of more than thirty-five books of poetry and one of Latin America’s most revered writers, lionized during his lifetime as “the people’s poet.” This selection of Neruda’s poetry, the most comprehensive single volume available in English, presents nearly six hundred poems, scores of them in new and sometimes multiple translations, and many accompanied by the Spanish original. In his introduction, Ilan Stavans situates Neruda in his native milieu as well as in a contemporary English-language one, and a group of new translations by leading poets testifies to Neruda’s enduring, vibrant legacy among English-speaking writers and readers today.

Over the years I’d come across an occasional line or poem from Pablo Neruda but sort of delayed in picking up a collection of his works because I didn’t quite know which collection to pick up. After much debate, hours of browsing GoodReads, Indigo, Amazon, etc., I finally settled on picking up this collection; it seems the most complete, and I might as well jump in, right?

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