Book Review: Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

Book Review: Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak tackles many different topics including religion, or rather the meaning of God in one’s life, how cultural and political circumstances shape lives of the individuals and the position of women in Eastern and Western societies.

The story does provide an insight into Turkey’s turbulent past such as military coup in the 1980s and how life looked like during the rule of the military. There are descriptions of house search, torture, imprisonment of the individuals for holding different opinions to the ones accepted by the government and society. We also see what the years of torture, imprisonment and humiliation can do to the individual life.

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Book Review: 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Book Review: 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This a little uplifting book recommendation from my side for anyone in need of magical and cosy stories.

“84 Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff provides one of these pleasant reading experiences. It is a true story written by real life events; this tale is both life-affirming and sad but still a real treat for all the bibliophiles.

This gem consists of letters written between an American writer, Helene Hanff and a British bookseller, Frank Doel and other employees of Marks & Co Bookshop in London which was based in Charing Cross Road. Their correspondence overspanned the period of twenty years, between 1949 and 1968.  Sadly, Frank died in 1968 without ever having an opportunity to meet Helene in person.

This little book is about developing a long-distance friendship between two people by the means of letters. Over two decades, they had exchanged gifts, recipes, ideas on books and current world events. What started as an inquiry about one book that Helene was unable to find in New York City, it turned into a magical relationship between two unique souls connected by their love for words and stories.

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Book Review: A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros

Book Review: A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros


“I feel fortunate at least to open books and be invited to step in, if that book shelters me and keeps me warm, I know I’ve come home”.

“I’m fascinated with how those of us who live in multiple cultures and the regions in between are held under the spell of words spoken in the language of our childhood. After a loved one dies, your senses become oversensitized. Maybe that’s why I sometimes smell my father’s cologne in a room when no one else does. And why words once taken for granted suddenly take on new meanings”.

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Book Review: French Lessons by Alice Kaplan

Book Review: French Lessons by Alice Kaplan

 “I have been willing to overlook in French culture what I would not accept in my own for the privilege of living in translation”.

French Lessons by Alice Kaplan is an interesting book. The author elaborates on such themes as living life through an acquired language and its impact on one’s course of life; the reasons as to why people want to adopt a different culture, the question of acceptance by so-called ‘native speakers’ but also there is a question as to who defines who is a ‘real’ native [speaker]. The book also discusses the reasons related to French intellectuals being attracted by fascism during the 1930s and 1940s and it explores the idea of freedom of speech and ethics related to it.

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Book Review: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Book Review: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is one of my favourite books I have ever read. This book holds a special place in my heart as it depicts beautifully with all the necessary nuances the most important characteristics related to Russia and Eastern Europe during the course of the tragic 20th century. Having an Eastern European heritage, Bulgakov’s book has always resonated with me at a personal level as no other book ever had.

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Book Review: Honeymoon by Patrick Modiano

Book Review: Honeymoon by Patrick Modiano

‘Honeymoon’ by Patrick Modiano is an evocative, melancholic tale, and, at times, it resembles a frame from “film noir” of the 1950s. Modiano presents the lives of the protagonists from the point of an observer, never depicting the reality in a straightforward manner, but rather showing different angles, playing with the memory, the passage of time and changeability of place we used know. The reader must remain focused and to reflect on the past, presence and future to appreciate the full artistry and emotional sensitivity of Modiano’s writing.

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Book Review: Melmoth by Sarah Perry

Book Review: Melmoth by Sarah Perry

Melmoth by Sarah Perry is a tale of moral complexity related to the human condition. Perry’s book draws upon Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin written in 1820 which once was a well-read book with a greater significance.

Perry retells the legend of Melmoth, the loneliest being in this world who wanders across the times and places to lure away the ones who committed the acts of an unconceivable cruelty to wander alongside her for eternity. The guilty who are followed by Melmoth must make a choice between being led into the darkness or living with what they have done or what their actions led to.

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Book Review: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

Book Review: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

“I would be reading at my desk, something she deemed part and parcel of my job, and considerate as she was, she kept me company but left me undisturbed. We were two solitudes benefiting from a grace that was continuously reinvigorated in each other’s presence, two solitudes who nourished each other.”

“I identify with outsiders, with the alienated or dispossessed. (…) I like men and women who don’t fit well in the dominant culture, or, as Alvaro de Campos calls them, strangers in this place as in every other, accidental in life as in the soul.”

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Book Review: Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

Book Review: Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”

Mercier, P., Night Train to Lisbon, London: Atlantic Books, 2009
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Book Review: No Place to Lay One’s Head by Françoise Frenkel

Book Review: No Place to Lay One’s Head by Françoise Frenkel

“It is the duty of those who have survived to bear witness to ensure the dead are not forgotten, nor humble acts of self-sacrifice left unacknowledged.  (…) I dedicate this book to the MEN AND WOMEN OF GOODWILL who, generously, with unfailing courage, opposed the will to violence and resisted to the end.”

Françoise Frenkel, No Place to Lay One’s Head, 2019, Pushkin Press

If you love literature and, in particular, books by Patrick Modiano, you will love this compelling beautifully written memoir, No Place to Lay One’s Head (Rien ou poser sa tete) by a Polish-Jewish enigmatic writer, Françoise Frenkel (1889-1975) with a preface by Patrick Modiano.

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Book Review: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

Book Review: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

“The path of fiction could easily misled you into the cosmos of stories where everything was fluid, quixotic, and as open to surprises as a moonless night in the desert”

Shafak, E., The Bastard of Istanbul, Penguin Random House UK, 2015, pp. 96 – 97
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Book Review: Elsewhere, Home by Leila Aboulela

Book Review: Elsewhere, Home by Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela is a Sudanese writer living in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was born in Cairo, grew up in Khartoum and moved to Scotland in the 1990s. Her books often deal with the experience of being ‘an outsider’, an immigrant and she also frequently touches on the subject of religion: Islam and what it means to be a devoted Muslim woman in today’s world.

Elsewhere, Home is a collection of vignettes about immigration, loss, alienation, crossing different cultures, what it means to be ‘third culture’ child. Those stories explore human relationships with a great deal of empathy. They offer a very nuanced, complex picture of immigration. This collection evolves around immigration in the UK, with a special focus on Scotland. We meet a variety of characters from different social backgrounds across all age groups, mainly coming from East Africa and Middle East.

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Reflections: Invictus by W.E. Henley

Reflections: Invictus by W.E. Henley
My Spring Flowers

“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”

Somewhere in Scotland

Reflections: Alone by Edgar Allan Poe

Reflections: Alone by Edgar Allan Poe

“From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me roll’d
I
n its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—”

ALONE BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
Morning Stroll in Wanstead Park

Winter in Paris – Night

Winter in Paris – Night

A few photos from Paris that I took during December 2019 while visiting the city with my mum. We walked a lot, we visited many bookshops and spent a great time wandering streets of Montmarte! My favourite treat was a visit to Angelina and drinking their hot chocolate!

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Edinburgh: The Healing Power of this Magical City

Edinburgh: The Healing Power of this Magical City

A few pictures from my favourite place on Earth: Edinburgh…..

Edinburgh is a place that I hope to call “home” one day.

Every time I am in Edinburgh, I get this strange feeling of coming back home.

Edinburgh heals my soul – all my worries, all my sadness seem to disappear every time I come here.

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