Why Read the Classics? by Italo Calvino, Martin L. McLaughlin (translator)

 

Description: From the internationally-acclaimed author of some of this century’s most breathtakingly original novels comes this posthumous collection of thirty-six literary essays that will make any fortunate reader view the old classics in a dazzling new light.

Learn why Lara, not Zhivago, is the center of Pasternak’s masterpiece, Dr. Zhivago, and why Cyrano de Bergerac is the forerunner of modern-day science-fiction writers. Learn how many odysseys The Odyssey contains, and why Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories are a pinnacle of twentieth-century literature. From Ovid to Pavese, Xenophon to Dickens, Galileo to Gadda, Calvino covers the classics he has loved most with essays that are fresh, accessible, and wise. Why Read the Classics? firmly establishes Calvino among the rare likes of Nabokov, Borges, and Lawrence–writers whose criticism is as vibrant and unique as their groundbreaking fiction.

Opening: “In France they start to read Balzac at school, and judging by the number of editions in circulation people apparently continue to read him long after the end of their schooldays. But if there were an official survey on Balzac’s popularity in Italy, I am afraid he would figure very low down the list”

Calvino has some interesting points in each of the thirty-six essays, however this is really more for the serious lit-lovers. No doubt I shall reach for the relevent chapters when I get around to the books he discusses.So it’s a keeper for the reference library

Leopard VI: The Norwegian Feeling for Real by Harald Bache-Wiig, Birgit Bjerck, Jan Kjarstad

Leopard VI by Harald Bache-Wiig
 

 

Who doesn’t like the cover (excluding Scott from Utah of course); an extra star right there!

1. On An Old Farmstead in Europe by Hans Herbjörnsrud, translated by Liv Irene Myhre. A recounting of one of Norway’s oldest myths ‘Blind Margjit and the Man with the Eyes’.

2. The Dogs in Thessaloniki by Kjell Askildsen, translated by Agnes Scott Langeland. Pug-Ugly domestic scenario.

3. Ice by Roy Jacobsen, translated by Kenneth Steven. Had to read this one eyes through splayed fingers. Excellent suspense.

4. The Cock and Mr. Gopher by Jonny Halberg, translated by Don Bartlett. Culinary addiction.

5. I Could Not Tell You by Jon Fosse, translated by May-Britt Akerholdt. blergh – s.o.c. affected shite.

6. Cows by Lars Amund Vaage, translated by Nadia Christensen. Well that was a dairy farmer’s wet dream but no more entries like that, I hope.

7. The Last Beat Poets in Mid-Hordland by Ragnar Hovland, translated by James Anderson. Lovely story.

8. The Jealous Barber by Lars Saabye Christensen, translated by Kenneth Steven. A psychological thriller that was noirly amusing in its absurdity.

Just when I am mentally composing the end rant about the lack of female writers here, next up is a goodie:

9. The Pillar by Karin Fossum translated by Robert Ferguson. Bullying father reveals his fecklessness.

10. The Catalogue by Jostein Gaarder and translated by James Anderson. Superb piece of nihilism surrounding an every leap-year global publication.

11. A Good Heart by Karin Sveen and translated by Katherine Hanson. Crofting community and the question of hand-me-downs ♥♥♥

12. The Motif Herbjørg Wassmo and translated by Donna H Stockton. Not so much!

13. Dublin in the Rain by Frode Grytten and translated by Peter Cripps.

14. I’m Asleep by Tor Ulven and translated by Sverre Lyngstad. Lots of individual ideas to ponder upon here, however, does that make a good story?, I don’t think so.

This is the most ‘quotable snippets’ entry but I cannot recommend it as a whole.

15. Love by Hanne ørstavik and translated by James Anderson

A path runs into the forest, from a secret, forgotten place.
If you can only find it, your body will follow its trace.
Past trees and flowers and anthills and up to a castle so rare,
In the castle sit three damsels, fabulous, fine and fair.
For the prince they sit there waiting, naybe he’ll come one day,
They’re singing a song in the meantime, a lilting, lugubrious lay.

16. The Man Who Collected the First of September, 1973 by Tor Åge Bringsværd and translated by Oddrun Grønvik.

17. A Forgotten Petunia by Bjørg Vik and translated by Don Bartlett.

18. Deep Need – Instant Nausea by Trude Marstein and translated by Don Bartlett.

19. The Story of the Short Story by Kjartan Fløgstad and translated by Sverre Lyngstad.

20. Life of a Trapper by Gro Dahle and translated by Katherine Hanson.

21. It’s So Damned Quiet Øystein Lønn, trans by Steven T. Murray.

22. Veranda With Sun Laila Stein, Katherine Hanson

22. Homecoming Jan Kjæstad, Sverre Lyngstad

23. The Long Trip by Beate Grimsrud, translated by Angela Shury-Smith

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Edited by Harald Bache-Wiig, Birgit Bjerck and Jan Kjærstad.

Introduction by Harald Bache-Wiig.
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Now a good thing about anthologies is that you can get a taster, a little peek at an unknown writer. Having enjoyed #3 I have ordered a book by Roy Jacobsen about the northern war.

The Lost Villages of Britain by Richard Muir

bookshelves: reference, dip-in-now-and-again, history, paper-read, one-penny-wonder, nonfiction, skoolzy-stuff, published-1982, summer-2014

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Richard III FutureLearn
Recommended for: Jemidar
Read in July, 2014


Diagrams, colour plates, black and white piccies on glossy paper. Absolutely lovely and something I shall dip into a lot when planning our UK cottage rental short breaks.

Although the main reason for reading is to do with when the landed gentry started enclosing the lands for sheep back in late mediaeval times, it is surprising the amount of more recent evacuations such as when Tottington in Norfolk became deserted when the army took over.

Tottington

The most ominous desertion I have seen is in Farmagusta where the washing still hung on the lines and the buildings taken over by nature.

Rating is five ‘munching-the-land-where-there-used-to-be-kitchen-gardens’ sheep.

On Architecture, Volume I: Books 1-5 by Vitruvius

bookshelves: dip-in-now-and-again, skim-through, ancient-history, architecture, e-book, how-to, nonfiction, history, published-27bc, roman-civilisation, rome, skoolzy-stuff

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Simon Keay
Recommended for: Chris Ethier
Read on May 26, 2014

 

Read here: http://academics.triton.edu/faculty/f…

After a rather understandably brown-tongued humble preface we are then advised that architects should know their history, music, art, philosophy, astronomy and medicine.

The Temples of Minerva, Mars and Hercules will be Doric, since the virile strengths of these Gods make daintiness entirely inappropriate to their Houses.

Book Two opens with Dinocratus who had quite the idea – make Mount Athos into a statue of a God. Looksee here:

Timotheus: a sculpture of Leda and the Swan in which the queen Leda of Sparta protected a swan from an eagle, on the basis of which a Roman marble copy in the Capitoline Museums is said to be “after Timotheus”.

The basis of a Björk dress:

The Mausoleum at the ancient city of Halicarnassus was the tomb of the king, Mausolus.

As for “wattle and daub”, I could wish that it had never been invented.

Basilica, Pompeii

Vitruvian Etruscan temple model. – Archaic Etruscan – In his book, On Architecture, Vitruvius set out the rules for designing Tuscan temples.

Vitruvian Harmonics

Aspendos

Tepidarium at Pompeii

In a German Pension by Katherine Mansfield

bookshelves: gutenberg-project, e-book, published-1911, tbr-busting-2014, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, dip-in-now-and-again, nutty-nuut, under-500-ratings, germany, spring-2014

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Wanda & TA
Read from May 05, 2012 to May 23, 2014

 

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1472

Description: In a German Pension is a remarkable collection of short stories, displaying all Katherine Mansfield’s skill in the genre. Written shortly after the author visited Germany as a young woman, these short stories form a series of satirical sketches of German characters. From a young wife’s preoccupation with her husband’s stomach, to a society lady’s inability to see beyond the latest fashion, Katherine Mansfield depicts, in exquisite detail, the minute changes of human behavior. In a German Pension reveals her as a true disciple of Chekhov. A key figure in the Modernist movement, Katherine Mansfield is most remarkable for perfecting the art of the short story.

I have a feeling that I will like this ‘write-back’ to EvA’s romanticism – all in the the contrast, what!what!

**Hattip Blair** Also available here: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/schola…

Germans at Meat 7
The Baron 19
The Sister of the Baroness 29
Frau Fischer 43
Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding 61
The Modern Soul 79
At “Lehmann’s” 105
The Luft Bad 125
A Birthday 135
The Child-Who-Was-Tired 163
The Advanced Lady 185
The Swing of the Pendulum 211
A Blaze 239

History of London Prisons. Geoffrey Howse by Geoffrey Howse

bookshelves: e-book, spring-2014, tbr-busting-2014, published-2012, nonfiction, london, history, britain-england, architecture, bullies, casual-violence, dip-in-now-and-again, execution, eye-scorcher, gorefest, gulp, lifestyles-deathstyles, medical-eew, mental-health, newtome-author, nutty-nuut, ouch, plague-disease, recreational-homicide, religion, revenge, spies, tragedy, true-grime, under-10-ratings

Read from April 04 to 08, 2014

 

Description: London has had more prisons than any other British city. The City’s ‘gates’ once contained prisons but probably the most notorious of all was Newgate, which stood for over 700 years. The eleventh century Tower of London was used as a prison for a variety of high profile prisoners from Sir Thomas More to the Krays. Discover the background of a variety of historic places of incarceration such as The Clink, the Kings Bench Prison; and debtors prisons such as the Fleet Prison and the Marshalsea. ‘Lost’ prisons such as the Gatehouse in Westminster, Millbank Penitentiary, Surrey County Gaol in Horsemonger Row, The House of Detention, Coldbath Fields Prison and Tothill Fields Prison are also described in detail; as are more familiar gaols: Holloway, Pentonville, Brixton, Wandsworth and Wormwood Scrubs. In his A History of Londons Prisons Geoffrey Howse delves not only into the intricate web of historical facts detailing the origins of the capitals prisons but also includes fascinating detail concerning the day-to-day life of prisoners – from the highly born to the most despicable human specimens imaginable – as well as those less fortunate individuals who found themselves through no fault of their own ‘in the clink’, some soon becoming clients of the hangman or executioner.

Opening: The original function of the Tower of London, built for William I (William the Conqueror) and completed in 1097, was to act as a power base for the King within the City of London itself.

When I first went to the Big School, Kay, my bestie, brought to school a book she had pinched off her dad about implements of torture. Hidden in her satchel she would flash me diagrams, pull a grimmace, then laugh wildly and flick through some more. It is a fact: older children and newish teenagers love this the way young children love the horror of fairytales.

This book has aspects of that ‘can’t bear to watch but can’t look away’ mesmerism. Coming to this I see there is only one other rating here on grramazon, and that is a 5* too.

I still think it is sad/unjust about Raleigh.

The Lost Heart Of Asia by Colin Thubron

bookshelves: under-500-ratings, published-1994, travel, nonfiction, paper-read, one-penny-wonder, politics, turkmenistan, dip-in-now-and-again, spring-2014, books-with-a-passport, lifestyles-deathstyles, uzbekistan, kazakstan, kyrgyzstan

Read from March 05 to 16, 2014

 

 photo 384023_zps5a7625f8.jpg

Description: Thubron travelled throughout Central Asia in the wake of the break-up of the Soviet Union and documented the widespread social upheaval in a region reeling from political change. Thubron is an inspirational writer, intrepid traveller and insightful observer and his The Lost Heart of Asia is an outstanding guide to the history, people and culture of a vast region resonating with history and politics.

Opening: TURKMENISTAN: The sea had fallen behind us, and we were flying above a desrt of dream-like immensity. Its sands melted into the sky, corroding every horizon in a colourless light. Nothing suggested we were anywhere, or even moving at all. The last solid objects in the universe were the wing-tips of the plane.

Ashkhabad

Makhtumkuli – the eighteenth-century founder of Turkic literature.

It is claimed that Merv was briefly the largest city in the world in the 12th century.

Bukhara is the capital of Uzbekistan

Samarkand

When God loved us
he gave us Amu Dariya
When he ceased to love us
He sent us Russian engineers

4* In Siberia
3* The Lost Heart of Asia
3* To a Mountain in Tibet
2* Journey Into Cyprus

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