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Showing posts from February, 2014

King's March

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King's March. That's right: King's March. How could it have taken me so long to come across something called King's March? It's a month-long event hosted by Wendy and Rory. And the goal is to read some Stephen King. If you know me you know how much of a Stephen King fanatic I am. Just look at all the gushing reviews.
My goals would be two short story collections, Full Dark, No Stars and Different Seasons. I have seriously under-read King's short stories. I may throw in a shorter novel.
I'm excited. Oh, and I love this button.

Reading Hector Hugh Munro aka Saki

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Last night I noticed this huge monster of a book on the shelf called the World's Great Selected Short Stories. I'd always thought it looked kind of dull, had never opened it and vaguely knew that it had stories by just the kind of renowned writers, whom I have only ever read in text books. But that was then - before I tried and enjoyed Shakespeare, poetry and (a few) love stories. Last night, I finally decided to read the book.
The first section contained stories by H. H. Munro, better known as Saki, whom I had obviously heard a lot about, but I couldn't tell you exactly where I'd heard it all, and whom I hadn't read. I wonder why; having spent most of last night and some of today morning devouring the nineteen short stories by Saki that this book had to offer. I have overused the word 'awesome' to the point where it has little weight, but here it applies in its truest sense.
The great thing about Saki's short stories is that they are really, really sh…

Nobel Prize Laureates I Have Read

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I recently read a really nice short story by Alice Munro. I am currently reading Blindness by José Saramago. What do they have in common? That's right, they were both awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature: Saramago way back in 1998 and Munro only last year. When someone commented "How often do you get to say you've read a Nobel Prize winner?" at the book club the other day, it got me thinking. I honestly didn't know if I ever had any - the only author I was certain about was William Golding, and only because Lord of the Flies formed a large part of my syllabus last year. So I found this list of all Nobel Prize Winners in Literature ever and satisfied my curiousity.
I have read the works of twelve Nobel Prize Laureates: Alice Munro 2013 - Dimension (short story)V. S. Naipaul 2001 - The Mystic MasseuseWilliam Golding 1983 - Lord of the Flies, The Hot GatesGabriel Garcia Marquez 1982 - Love in the Time of CholeraHeinrich Böll 1972 - The Train Was on Time, Clown, And…

Translator Translated by Anita Desai

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I found this little collection of short novellas (long short stories?) at a random bookstore in Hyderabad. Never having read anything by Desai, buying it was just an instinctive leap. I'm so glad I did! Of the three short stories in The Artist of Disappearance, my favourite was Translator Translated. Warning: this is less of a review and more of a rant about translators and translations.
Summary: A lonely English teacher, Prema, who lives a miserable unsatisfied life, is offered a chance to try her hand at translation. The book in question is written by her favourite Oriya author, Suvarna Devi. When she translates the first book - Prema finds herself a purpose in life, she finds her voice and takes her back to a time in her life when was full of curiosity and passion. She begins to identify herself with Suvarna Devi, begins to consider her a friend, even. When the book is released, at a press conference, Prema finally meets Suvarna Devi, only to discover that she's exactly lik…

Ich nannte ihn Krawatte by Milena Michiko Flašar

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Ever since I joined that Goethe Institut online library, my English reads have considerably piled up. But like any freshly joined library, it is just too addictive. Ich nannte ihn Krawatte was the first book I randomly selected and it was the start of my non-stop German reading. I hope this has a translation, because you have to read it!
The most fascinating thing about this book is that the author is Austrian with Japanese roots. Ich nannte ihn Krawatte is set in Japan and describes some really intriguing aspects of Japanese society. It's like reading Ishiguro: it has that wistful Japanese tone of writing, without the disconnected, pieced together feel of a translation. The only difference is that this particular original is in German.
Summary: A hikikomori is a young person who has distanced himself from society and reduced contact with family to a minimum; a recluse. The word literally means pulling inward.
In "Ich nannte ihn Krawatte" by Milena Michiko Flašar, our na…

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

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This is a scary book; and the more I think about it, the scarier it gets. I like it, now that I've read it: the writing style, the evocative descriptions, the peeking into people's souls: but I'm still not sure I should have read it. It has some freakish stuff in it, which has been crawling around in my mind for two days. I want to not have read this book and I want to not have liked this book, and you may think I'm overreacting (which I probably am) but all my melodrama doesn't make that story any less creepy.
Summary: The back covers says: "Off the easternmost corner of India, in the Bay of Bengal, lies the immense labyrinth of tiny islands known as the Sundarbans, where settlers live in fear of drowning tides and man-eating tigers. Piya Roy, a young American marine biologist of Indian descent, arrives in this lush, treacherous landscape in search of a rare species of river dolphin and enlists the aid of a local fisherman, Fokir, and a translator, Kanai. Tog…