Lazy Long Weekend Reading

Last weekend was one of those idyllic long weekends; gorgeous weather and no commitments, except to a pile of books! I spent most of it outside, reading. I could easily spend the whole summer like that and be perfectly happy. And the book pile would not even be empty. And probably be added to even. A good thing too, as that means I’ll always have something to look forward to.

I finallly managed to finish The Republic of the Imagination by Azar Nafisi. I had already read and loved her Reading Lolita in Tehran. Azar has a refreshing view on literature, she makes you think and view things from a different perspective. Really worth reading.

You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft

After reading The Republic of the Imagination I wanted to reread The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Huck Finn is definitely one of those books that you should read lying underneath a tree. I hadn’t read it since my youth, and in spite of the underlying social issues that I was now more aware of, I laughed heartily. Mark Twain raises the issue of slavery without making concessions to style or humor. Just like Turgenev, Twain lets the two protagonists, Huck and Jim, speak for themselves by contrasting them with the so-called civilised society.

It may be normal, darling; but I’d rather be natural

Having finished with Huck, I felt like reading another American classic (I don’t exclusively read Russian literature, you know..:-)) and Breakfast At Tiffany’s by Truman Capote was calling my name. Heroine Holly Golightly is another one of those spirited characters that escapes from ’civilisation’. It’s an entertaining classic that you can read time after time.

Sometimes I do judge a book by it’s cover, and that’s why I recently bought Five Russian Dog Stories. The stories are Mumu by Turgenev, Chestnut Girl by Chekhov, Trezor by Saltykov, Arthur, the White Poodle by Kuprin and Ich Bin from Head to Toe by Ilf & Petrov.

I already knew Mumu and Chestnut Girl, but Trezor seemed familiar too, even though I can’t remember reading it before, and I didn’t have it in my collection either. It’s probably just the familiarity; a typical Russian story in a typical Russian setting. A sweet story, told from the perspective of a very recognisable dog. The last two stories could have been left out in my opinion, but the foreword by translator Anthony Briggs really contributes to this little collection. A nice little collection!

Finally I made some good progress in Pushkin’s Button by Serena Vitale for the necessary blog research.

All in all we had a good think about life in general and it was a fantastic weekend!

My next blog will be dedicated to Turgenev’s touching story Mumu. May the summer be long and beautiful with plenty of books to enjoy!

 

© Photos are mine and the illustration comes from Wikipedia

 

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Bibliophile

A bibliophile, that's what I am. A book lover. I love new books, that no one has read yet and that still smell completely new. I love old books, with browned pages and crooked spines, that have been read and read again. I read books because of their cover. I'm particularly fond of pocket books from the forties and fifties. Actually I read anything and everything, but I do love nineteenth century Russian literature above all.

Once I discovered how to read there was no stopping me. I probably read eighty percent of the books in the children's department in the library. Every week I took home the maximum amount of books that was allowed and devoured one book after another. With a book in my favourite chair, that was me. From that chair I traveled through time and space, and experienced countless adventures.

When I was about sixteen I read something nineteenth century Russian for the first time. Probably Gogol. I loved it. But we got a television, reading became mandatory at school and suddenly I had different interests. Nonetheless I went on to study Russian at university, so that I could read in Russian. Nowadays, admittedly, I really can't anymore.

People who read my blog regularly will have noticed that I have three major favourites: Tolstoy, Turgenev and Pushkin. But I love the others too. Luckily nineteenth century Russian literature is an excellent source of inspiration and I'm sure there's lots to discover and write about yet!

From October 22nd until October 25th I will be at the Helsinki Book Fair 2015. One of the themes this year is Russian literature. Some 33 modern Russian writers will attend, including Lyudmila Ulitskaya and my modern favourite Mikhail Shishkin (whose Letter Book made me cry!). It's going to be really interesting, and besides, I'm hoping to find a couple of nice books…

For more information please click on the link below.

http://www.messukeskus.com/Sites3/Kirjamessut/en/Kavijat/program/Pages/default.aspx

 

To be continued…