Tag Archives: reading

summer reading

 

A slower pace at work and a long holiday in Turkey allowed for more reading than the first part of the year. Here, a recap of the books I read this summer:

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. A work of historical fiction about the Dutch East Indies Company’s outpost in Japan through the eyes of the young clerk Jacob de Zoet.

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. Described as a ‘biography-in-collage’, this work looks at the lives of scientists Marie and Pierre Curie as they fall in love and discover new elements of the periodic table together.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. The crazy world in which the bombardier Yossarian tries to survive when the number of missions he has to make before he can complete his service keeps being raised and the ominous rule of Catch 22 hangs above.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The story of fireman Guy Montag who lives in a dystopic world in which books are burned and independent thoughts questioned.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. A portrait of an African-American girl raised in the South and her childhood moments of triumph and tragedy.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. A view on 1870s upper class New Yorkers in which recently engaged Newland Archer faces off with the demands of society as his relationship with the scandalized cousin of his fiancée deepens.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. A collection of short stories portraying the reporters, editors, and related characters of an English-language newspaper based in Rome.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Catherine Morland visits Bath and then the mysterious abbey and learns how tricky it is to navigate through 18th-century society.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. A novel written through an exchange of letters between novelist Juliet Ashton and members of a unique society on Guernsey Island. They share their experiences during the German Occupation of World War II and friendships form through the post.

Also two audio books!

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. The story of an unforgettable protagonist, Oskar Blum, a young boy who lives in post-9/11 New York. He heads out into the city on a quest to understand his father’s death at the World Trade Center as the tale interweaves with his family’s past.

Bossypants by Tina Fey. The autobiography of comedian and producer Tina Fey, describing the forays of her youth and the experiences that led to her career success.

a soft breath of anonymity

To San Franciscans ‘the City That Knows How’ was the Bay, the fog, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, Top o’ the Mark, Chinatown, the Sunset District and so on and so forth and so white. To me, a thirteen-year-old Black girl, stalled by the South and Southern Black life style, the city was a state of beauty and a state of freedom. The fog wasn’t simply the steamy vapors off the bay caught and penned in by hills, but a soft breath of anonymity that shrouded and cushioned the bashful traveler.

Currently reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, as part of my summer of exploring modern American literature with my little sister.

Weekend Links #34

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed over the last week:
1. Receiving tickets to see The Avett Brothers at Paradiso thanks to a dear colleague (pictured above via)
2. Watching Jack Goes Boating at the open air film festival Pluk de Nacht
3. Reading an interesting interpretation of a book I recently re-read,  Seeing Catch-22 Twice
4. Contemplating the dangers of fast fashion again while reading The Tyranny of Trends (via @tout_moi)
5. Enjoying Rachel’s stories of short fiction on Elephantine
6. Viewing Don McCullin’s lost negatives of the Berlin Wall

thou art mortal

The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, ‘Remember Caesar, thou art mortal.’ Most of us can’t rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

a chaos of slippages and blunders

Currently reading and loving The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.

If only, Shiroyama dreams, human beings were not masks behind masks behind masks. If only this world was a clean board of lines and intersections. If only time was a sequence of considered moves and not a chaos of slippages and blunders.

A Fresh Air interview with author David Mitchell.

books from winter and spring

The months since January have been filled with work projects, making the moments I could escape into a book even more of a pleasure. Here, an overview of the books I have read over the past five months, with the addition of two from my recent holiday:

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. An escaped convict flees Australia for India to start a new life. Adventure ensues as he enters a life of crime and philanthropy in Bombay, while providing insight into the penal system he fled.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. Actually a book for young adults, a quick read about 15-year-old Daisy who departs from New York to visit her cousins in England. War breaks out, the adults disappear and the children must learn to survive on their own.

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier. A non-fiction account weaving together the stories of past travelers to Siberia and Frazier’s own experience exploring the vast region and its history.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. A young girl from a poor family and her stories of growing up in Brooklyn. Just beautiful.

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. A psychologist explores the secrets that keep a patient, renowned artist Robert Oliver, in a vow of silence. His search leads him into an exploration of the lives behind French Impressionism. An interesting read, but not as captivating as Kostova’s The Historian.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay. Journalist Julie Jarmond’s investigation into Vel d’Hivs, a round up of Jews in Paris, unveils unexpected links to her own life. I fail to see how this could be a New York Times bestseller.

Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson. A novel inspired by Lucy M Montgomery’s tales of Anne Shirley, which imagines the years of childhood that formed the girl who first appeared in Anne of Green Gables. Lovely, full of imagination, and exactly the Anne I expected.

make happiness

Sunshine and reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I never want it to end.

“People always think that happiness is a faraway thing,” thought Francie, “something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.”

(photo via)