• 10 Books with Inspirational Male Characters

    30th October 2023 by

    I made a list of books with inspirational male characters. I tried to include books from various cultures which I hope can be of interest to all of you. The list includes books from Mauritania, French-speaking Canada, Turkey, USA, Cuba, Ukraine, Algeria, Pakistan and France. The characters I appreciate are often complex, nuanced and multilayered,… Read more

  • Marzahn, Mon Amour by Katja Oskamp | Book Review

    29th October 2023 by

    “The middle years, when you’re neither young nor old, are fuzzy years. You can no longer see the shore you started from, but you can’t yet get a clear enough view of the shore you’re heading for. You spend these years thrashing about in the middle of a big lake, out of breath, flagging from… Read more

  • Postcard from Oxford | One Day Trip from London

    3rd October 2023 by

    Last Friday I went for a one-day trip to Oxford.. I took a train from London Marylebone Station shortly after 7:00 am and I arrived in Oxford shortly after 8:00 am at the time when the city was slowly waking up. Upon my arrival in Oxford I went to the old city centre and first… Read more

  • Autumn Rounds by Jacques Poulin | Book Review

    30th September 2023 by

    “She had started to pick some new books and it was a pleasure to see how comfortable she was in the library. She’d pick up the books, leaf them, stroke them, talk to them, and breathe in their odor. Bathed in the soft light spread by the sun as it set behind the village, she… Read more

  • Katalin Street by Magda Szabo | Book Review

    23rd September 2023 by

    Katalin Street by the Hungarian writer Magda Szabo was originally published in 1969. This story explores the issues of historic trauma, living with guilt, heavy sorrow, grief wrapped up in solitude and existing in a constant survival mode. This novel also tackles the irreversibility of our actions, emotions and feelings. Life in the novel is… Read more

  • Literary London: A Book Lover’s Guide to the City by Eloise Millar and Sam Jordison | Book Review

    20th August 2023 by

    Literary London delves deep into the literary history of London following in the footsteps of some of the most iconic writers who have lived or visited London. Literary London explains where to find the best literary landmarks in London with the objective to tell the stories behind the stories. We follow the likes of T.S.… Read more

  • A Kidnapped West, or The Tragedy of Central Europe by Milan Kundera | Book Review

    13th August 2023 by

    “Central Europe: the maximum diversity in the minimum of space.” “The people of Central Europe are not conquerors. They cannot be separated from European history; they cannot exist outside it; but they represent the wrong side of this history; they are its victims and outsiders. It’s this disabused view of history that is the source… Read more

  • Klementinum Library in Prague

    Prague Diaries | The Klementinum Library, Astronomical Tower and The Old Town

    3rd August 2023 by

    Another video from my recent trip to Prague. One morning I went for a walk around The Old Town and I visited the majestic Klementinum Library also known as the National Baroque Library of the Czech Republic which was built in 1722 by Kilián Ignác Dienzenhofer. The bookshelves in the Klementinum Library are made of… Read more

  • The Love of Singular Men by Victor Heringer | Book Review

    23rd July 2023 by

    “I’ll never discover where they ended up, no one knows the humble fates of so many people. (…) this entire world is no more than a delusion of my crippled mind. (…) another such world is possible, (…) but a little less heinous.” “I’ve always believed I didn’t come into the world to be, but… Read more

  • Prague Diaries | The Charles Bridge, the Prague Castle and Golden Lane

    11th July 2023 by

    Following my trip to Paris I flew to Prague. On my arrival I checked into a lovely old hotel next to the Charles Bridge and started exploring the city in the afternoon. It’s not my first time in Prague so I did not have to visit many places but I just wanted to get a… Read more

  • Paris Diaries | One Day Walking around Montmartre and Le Marais

    8th July 2023 by

    One Morning in Montmartre During my stay in Paris I spent one morning walking around Montmartre. I did not have much time but I tried to enjoy small walk along the old cobbled streets. I started at Opera Garnier and from there I walked north to the Pigalle Metro station. Then I started climbing La… Read more

  • Paris Diaries | Walk Around Paris On A Balmy Summer Day

    5th July 2023 by

    I have recently spent a few days in Paris to deal with personal matters. I found some time in-between to walk around Paris. I created a few walking videos to keep the record of my memories. I have been to Paris many time before and I have already done all usual sightseeing. On my every… Read more

  • The Map by Barbara Sadurska

    The Map by Barbara Sadurska | Book Review

    18th June 2023 by

    “The turning point came one day when we were searching the house of someone wed brought in for interrogation. I came across a black and white photograph. On the back, written in pencil, was a place name and a date: April 1940. (…) Women standing in a line on a big square with a well… Read more

  • What Have You Left Behind? Voices From A Forgotten War by Bushra Al-Maqtari | Book Review

    20th May 2023 by

    “From that morning, what’s engraved on my mind (…) it is the shock of how war was conjured, how life collapsed in one fell swoop: civil infighting, the humiliation of hunger, the indignity of it all, our generation’s lost dreams. They split the citizens into two warring camps, leaving the majority of us transformed into… Read more

  • Things We Do Not Tell The People We Love by Huma Qureshi | Book Review

    22nd April 2023 by

    Things We Do Not Tell The People We Love by Huma Qureshi is a collection of ten profoundly moving short stories, written in lyrical and luscious prose underpinned by a variety of subtle emotions. Each story explores themes of loneliness, relationships, connections, misunderstandings, silences, unspoken emotions and feelings, internal turmoil, cultural and social norms within… Read more

  • 20 Books about Immigration, Belonging and Identity

    25th March 2023 by

    I have prepared a list of 20 books exploring themes of immigration, belonging and identity related to social class, ethnicity, and nationality. Often the theme of immigration intersects with the theme of belonging and identity. Therefore, I have decided to include all these themes in one list. As usual I have tried to give the… Read more

  • Visit to the Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau

    21st March 2023 by

    Last September I went to visit the Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, a site of former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp during WW2. I took this short video during my last video. Emotionally it was difficult for me to film inside the blocks. I mostly captured the outside area. At a personal level this place… Read more

  • London Moments | Walk around Hampstead Heath and Visit to the 19th Century Cemetery in East London

    19th March 2023 by

    I hope you all are doing well. I recently went for a peaceful walk around Hampstead Heath in North London. I love taking nature walks to find a way for me to stop, to breathe, to seek out the wondrous moments in the present. This is a form of therapy for me. I hope you… Read more

  • Michel The Giant. An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie | Book Review

    4th March 2023 by

    Michel the Giant by the Togolese writer and adventurer, Tete-Michel Kpomassie is an extraordinary book about a long journey that Michel took from his home in Togo via Europe to reach Greenland, the land of eternal ice he had become fascinated with as a child and dreamt of visiting. In 1950s when he was a teenager, Michel found… Read more

  • Stories of the Sahara by Sanmao | Book Review

    25th February 2023 by

    Sanmao belongs to the 20th century most iconic women. She was a writer, traveler, and university teacher born in China in 1943 and then raised in Taiwan. As an adult she travelled extensively across Spain, Germany, Central America and spent a few years living in the Western Sahara where she closely observed the native Sahrawi… Read more

  • 12 Books with the Inspirational Female Protagonists

    24th February 2023 by

    I hope you all are doing well. I would like to share with you a few book recommendations with the Inspirational Female Protagonists. These are characters dealing with loneliness in its various forms, trauma, ageing, poverty, life within strict religious and social norms, no opportunities for ‘better’ life. I have tried to include titles from… Read more

  • The Desert and The Drum by Mbarek Ould Beyrouk | Book Review

    18th February 2023 by

    “I refused to be intimidated by the chapters of the past or the indecipherable pages of the future. (…) It was time to detach myself from the old ways: I was no longer from here. I was from nowhere, and I was going faraway”. “I am nothing. I am the emptiness that wanders the streets… Read more

  • Under the Tripoli Sky by Kamal Ben Hameda | Book Review

    14th February 2023 by

    “The soul of life is the little things, the minor events no one notices…. That’s where life is, the pleasure of being alive, otherwise there’s just this vast blueness casting its shadow over us.  (…) Take care of your soul as the wind does, have fun your own as a butterfly does and live within… Read more

  • 10 Books about Loneliness

    2nd February 2023 by

    I have prepared a list of my favourite books which explore a theme of loneliness, solitude, and aloneness in various forms and aspects of daily life. The stories mentioned below portray loneliness related to the contemporary urban existence, traumatic experiences caused by war or displacement, being an outsider within a society, being an introvert in… Read more

  • Afternoon at Brasserie Zedel in London’s Soho

    26th January 2023 by

    (AD: Today’s review is kindly sponsored by OpenTable but all opinions are my own) Lavish Art Deco Brasserie Zedel located in the heart of Central London, Soho, just within less than a minute from Theatreland occupies the spacious basement under Piccadilly Circus. You enter through the small ground-level boulevard style café just a minute away… Read more

  • A Single Rose by Muriel Barbery | Book Review

    23rd January 2023 by

    A Single Rose by a French writer, Muriel Barbery is a beautifully crafted book which can fill one’s heart with gentle warmth, peace, and hope for a better tomorrow. If you are in need of reading something delicate, comforting written in ethereal prose, this slender volume won’t disappoint you. This is a little novel full… Read more

  • The Halfway House by Guillermo Rosales | Book Review

    19th January 2023 by

    Guillermo Rosales (Havana 1946 – Miami 1993) was a Cuban writer of excellence with a very unique style and profound level of sensitivity shining through his words. Prior to his death, he destroyed all his work except for two books ‘El Juego de la Viola’ and this one, The Halfway House, published in Spanish under… Read more

  • 8 Best Books by Elif Shafak

    27th December 2022 by

    I always devour all the books written by a Turkish writer, Elif Shafak. I deeply connect with the way she tells the stories of people from the peripheries of the society and how she gives the voice to the voiceless. In her books Elif Shafak always shows a rather nuanced perspective and avoids stereotyping. I… Read more

  • The Peace of Small Moments | Cosy Winter Day Off in London

    25th December 2022 by

    I know I have not posted a book review for some time but I am currently reading a lot and hopefully very soon I will be able to share with you a few book recommendations. Also, I have been on very strong medications since November to treat my autoimmune condition and it is a bit… Read more

  • London Slow Winter Day | A Visit to the Crossness Pumping Station, Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral

    16th December 2022 by

    I hope you all are doing well. A small piece of London for you 💜🌺💜 I made a video from my recent visit to Crossness Pumping Station in Abbey Wood followed by a short visit to Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral. I hope this video will bring you a small piece of London, some joy,… Read more

  • A Visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum and Natural History Museum | London Slow Moments

    9th December 2022 by

    I hope you all are doing well, and can enjoy some slow moments in life 💜 I made a recording of my recent visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I also managed to squeeze a short tour of the Natural History Museum. I hope this video will bring you a small piece… Read more

  • Christmas in London | Covent Garden, Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, and Kenwood House

    9th December 2022 by

    I am back in London and decided to go for a walk around London and check Christmas decorations, and Christmas Markets. It was extremely busy and streets were so crowded. Therefore, recording was very difficult and chaotic but I hope you will get a glimpse of some places in London from videos below. My favourite… Read more

  • This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga| Book Review

    22nd November 2022 by

    This Mournable Body by the Zimbabwean writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga, tells a story of a middle-age woman, called Tambu living in Harare (Zimbabwe) who is trying to find her way in this world. Tambu leaves her stagnant job as a copywriter with hope that she will find a better job where she is treated with respect… Read more

  • Christmas Market in Poland

    22nd November 2022 by

    I spent a few weeks in Poland and very much fell in love with a beautiful city of Wroclaw. I was lucky to have a few days off during the week of the Christmas Market’s opening. I was surprised how huge Christmas Market was there. It looked like a snapshot from a fairy tale. As… Read more

  • Diary of an Invasion by Andrey Kurkov | Book Review

    13th November 2022 by

    “I […] will continue to write for you so that you know how Ukraine lives during the war with Putin’s Russia.” “This war (…) will continue as a war for historical truth and historical memory. “ “Ukraine will either be free, independent, and European, or it will not exist at all. (…) Ukrainians did not… Read more

  • Autumn in Poland | All Saints’ Day and a Splendid Stroll in the Park

    4th November 2022 by

    I spent All Saints’ Day in Poland, and it has been the most wonderful time. Unfortunately, I forgot to switch the night mode on so the quality of this video is not the best, but I hope you will get a sense and better understanding of All Saints’ Day in Eastern Europe when the graves… Read more

  • Poland is Beautiful | A Visit to the Japanese Garden in Wroclaw

    31st October 2022 by

    Another little vlog from my time spent in a beautiful city of Wroclaw in Poland. I went to Szczytnicki Park and the most beautiful Japanese Garden which is located within Szczytnicki Park. The Japanese Garden was designed by the Japanese gardener, Mankichi Arai for the occasion of the 1913 Global Exhibition. During the 1997 flood,… Read more

  • Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes | Book Review

    30th October 2022 by

    “We must certainly consider, not just in this class, but outside it, in our own turbulent and fretful lives, the element of chance. The number of people we deeply meet is strangely few. Passion may mislead us furiously. Reason may mislead us just as much. Our genetic inheritance might hamstring us. So might previous events… Read more

  • Autumn in London | A Peaceful Visit to The Leighton House Museum

    25th October 2022 by

    I hope you are having a peaceful autumnal week 🍂🍁🍂 I have recently visited The Leighton House Museum, an art museum near High Street Kensington in West London. I highly recommend this place. It is just beyond beautiful, stunning, with amazing history. There is also a lovely cafe and garden where you can sit and… Read more

  • Poland is Beautiful | Exploring the Old City of Krakow

    23rd October 2022 by

    In September I spent a few weeks in Poland. One of the cities I have visited was Kraków, an ancient capital of Poland, currently one of the most important cultural centres in Europe. Below you can see the video of my trip from Wroclaw to Krakow by train and the time I spent there walking… Read more

  • 10 Books to Soothe Your Soul

    21st October 2022 by

    As my stress levels have been skyrocketing over the last weeks and months, I often find myself seeking a refuge in books. During the times of anxiety, I am always in need of reading something heartwarming, soul-healing, soul-soothing and gentle. I have prepared a list of 10 books that can help you soothe your soul… Read more

  • Autumn in London | A Visit to Waterstones Piccadilly, the biggest bookstore in Europe

    18th October 2022 by

    Over the weekend I went to Waterstones Piccadilly in Central London, the biggest bookshop in Europe, with books spread over five floors. I made a relaxing video inside this bookstore. It was extremely busy and crowded so the footage is not the best, but I hope this little video will give you an idea of… Read more

  • Read With Me | Autumn Evening Reading Session

    15th October 2022 by

    I am currently reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I invite you for a 25-minute evening reading session accompanied by soft and relaxing music. I hope this video will help you to find peace and calmness.

  • Poland is Beautiful | Exploring the Old City of Wroclaw

    26th September 2022 by

    I spent a few days in a beautiful city of Wrocław in Poland. It is visually one of the most beautiful cities I have visited. Beautifully taken care of, with many cafes, restaurants, bookstores, markets, wonderful public transport! I highly recommend it to everyone.

  • Poland is Beautiful | Evening Walk in Kazimierz, The Old Jewish Quarter | Krakow

    20th September 2022 by

    I hope you all are well. Wishing you a very peaceful start of the week! I am sending you a lot of hugs! Just a little comforting video for you which I hope will provide you with many moments of calmness. In September I visited a beautiful city of Krakow in Poland where I stayed… Read more

  • Daughter by Tamara Duda | Book Review

    30th August 2022 by

    Daughter [Dotsya] by Ukrainian writer, Tamara Duda [Tamara Horicha Zernia] has been included by the Ukrainian Book Institute in the list of thirty most important books published after 1991. Tamara Duda was awarded the 2022 Shevchenko National Prize, the highest literary award in Ukraine. It is worth mentioning that Duda was working as a volunteer… Read more

  • 8 Atmospheric Books to Read in Autumn

    28th August 2022 by

    Autumn is my favourite time of the year. As we are slowly about to say goodbye to summer and welcome Autumnal Equinox in the Northern hemisphere on 23 September, I put together a list of few books with autumn vibes, a beautiful veil of melancholy and nostalgia. In my view they all are great reads… Read more

  • Without Blood by Alessandro Baricco | Book Review

    24th August 2022 by

    Written in sparse, minimalist prose, Without Blood by the Italian writer, Alessandro Baricco is a poignant short story exploring themes of morality, a vicious cycle of revenge and violence, the destructive nature of war, its cruelty, savagery and its long legacy on the lives of its participants and survivors. Other themes include the existence of… Read more

  • What We Live For, What We Die For by Serhiy Zhadan | Book Review

    23rd August 2022 by

    What We Live For, What We Die For by Ukrainian writer, Serhiy Zhadan born in Luhansk Oblast (Eastern Ukraine), currently living in Kharkiv where he supports defense of the city and his country. Zhadan’s collection of poems written between 2001 and 2015 reminds us that Ukraine is an extremely diverse and multifaceted country with its… Read more

  • A Woman’s Battles and Transformations by Édouard Louis | Book Review

    20th August 2022 by

    “I think I’d forgotten that she had been free before my birth – even joyful (…) that she had once been young and full of dreams (…) her freedom and contentment had become an abstract notion, something I vaguely knew.” “ (…) the telling of her life’s story was the best remedy she could think… Read more

  • The Teacher by Michal Ben Naftali | Book Review

    6th August 2022 by

    “The greatest mystery of my life: living in the aftermath.” The Teacher by the Israeli writer, Michal Ben Naftali is an exceptional and profoundly moving novel. I cried towards the end of the book and after I closed the last page of this book. The Teacher tells a story of a woman, Elsa Weiss, born… Read more

  • This Tilting World [Pièces détachées] by Colette Fellous | Book Review

    5th August 2022 by

    “I say, too: could all of us, perhaps, without knowing it, the French, the Italian, the Maltese, the Jews, the Greeks, the Muslims of this country, we who watch and play together at the café, in this small nowhere-town, yes could all of us already be refugees, already hostages or prisoners, or even disappeared?” “In… Read more

  • 7 Books by Ukrainian Writers Everyone Should Read

    5th August 2022 by

    Below you can find a list of books by the contemporary Ukrainian authors exploring the war in eastern Ukraine which started in 2014 as well as the annexation of Crimea. All these books are available in English and constitute an important contribution to the public discourse when it comes to better understanding of Ukraine, its… Read more

  • 10 Great Books by African Writers

    2nd August 2022 by

    I have prepared a few book recommendations written by the African writers including Mohamed Sarr, Kamal Ben Hameda, Adrienne Yabouza, Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, Ivan Vladislavic, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Tete-Michel Kpomassie, Leila Aboulela, Scholastique Mukasonga, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Kaouther Adimi, Andre Aciman. I hope you will find this list of books useful and interesting.

  • Journey to Karabakh by Aka Morchiladze | Book Review

    19th July 2022 by

    Journey to Karabakh by the Georgian writer, Aka Morchiladze is set in the post-Soviet Georgia of the early 1990s and in the heavily contested region of Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This book can be read as a metaphor for the meaning of individual freedom and social as well as cultural constraints imposed on us,… Read more

  • Flowers of Lhasa by Tsering Yangkyi | Book Review

    27th June 2022 by

    “People change over time. People’s lives, and loves, are ever shifting, never permanent. But everyone has one goal that never changes: the pursuit of that word “happiness”. Everyone has the right to pursue a happy life, and no matter what people do to pay the bills, it’s always a happy life they’re striving after.” By… Read more

  • 10 Short Books You Can Read in One Day

    24th June 2022 by

    These are some of my favourite books under 200 pages including Patrick Modiano, Zofia Nalkowska, Adrienne Yabouza, Mohsin Hamid, Tahar Djaout, Yevgenia Belorusets, Octavio Paz, Jhumpa Lahiri, Alifa Rifat. I hope you will find these recommendations of interest.

  • In Light of India by Octavio Paz | Book Review

    20th June 2022 by

    In Light of India by the Mexican poet and the 1990 Nobel Prize laureate, Octavio Paz is a rich collection of essays on India, packed with ideas, informative, well- researched and lived-through insights, deep ruminations on culture, history, religion, philosophy, society, architecture, languages, Sanskrit poetry and the notion of nationhood and statehood shown through the… Read more

  • Life Went On Anyway by Oleg Sentsov | Book Review

    13th June 2022 by

    “But life went on anyway. It didn’t finish. Life never finishes, even if someone leaves it.” Life Went On Anyway by a Ukrainian dissident artist, writer, filmmaker, Oleg Sentsov is a collection of autobiographical stories which portray Sentsov’s childhood and growing up in the Crimea during the last years of Soviet Union and in a… Read more

  • The Weight of Loss [Garden of Earthly Bodies] by Sally Oliver | Book Review

    13th June 2022 by

    The Weight of Loss is a beautifully crafted debut novel by an extremely gifted writer, Sally Oliver. The novel offers a profound exploration of a young life shaped by grief, loss, trauma and troubled relationships. It is also a story of how the ordinariness of the reality we inhabit has an impact on our inner… Read more

  • Co-wives, Co-widows by Adrienne Yabouza | Book Review

    3rd June 2022 by

    Adrienne Yabouza is a writer from the Central African Republic (CAR). She worked as a hairdresser for many years in the capital of CAR, Bangui. Currently Adrienne dedicates her time to writing books for children and adults in French, Sango, Yakoma, and Lingala. As a young woman she fled the civil war in CAR with… Read more

  • Stoner by John Williams | Book Review

    20th May 2022 by

    I remember reading Stoner by John Williams a decade ago or so when it was republished here in UK almost 40 years after it was first published in USA. It had a huge impact on me. When Stoner was published first time in 1965, it only sold 2000 copies and it did not achieve a… Read more

  • Lucky Breaks by Yevgenia Belorusets | Book Review

    18th April 2022 by

    Lucky Breaks by Ukrainian writer and photojournalist, Yevgenia Belorusets in translation of Eugene Ostashevsky is a collection of vignettes accompanied by a series of black and white photos taken by the author herself and placed carefully within the text. Even though these photographs do not illustrate any of the events described in the book, they… Read more

  • Grey Bees by Andrey Kurkov | Book Review

    10th April 2022 by

    Grey Bees by the great Ukrainian writer, Andrey Kurkov has become one of my all-time favourite books and its protagonist, one of the most beautiful solitary characters I have encountered in literature, Sergey Sergeyich is someone I would love to set off on a journey with across free, independent Ukraine one day. I cannot express… Read more

  • Reputation by Sarah Vaughan | Book Review

    4th April 2022 by

    Reputation is a compelling crime novel providing a nuanced social and cultural commentary on a modern society. While I was reading Reputation by Sarah Vaughan, I could not stop thinking about a Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered in 2016 by the man who was shouting ‘Britain First’, and a Conservatives MP David Amess… Read more

  • Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov and Ukrainian Literature

    16th March 2022 by

    I have read a few books by the great Ukrainian writer, Andrey Kurkov in the past. Each of them deserves a wider audience especially these days. His books are an emphatic reflection of the Ukrainian soul. Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov is an original book which is worth reading to get a glimpse… Read more

  • Palace of the Drowned by Christine Mangan | Book Review

    16th March 2022 by

    For those who can read these days and want to escape into a world of written words for a few moments, I would like to recommend you Palace of the Drowned by Christine Mangan set in Venice of the nostalgic 1960s, before and after the 1966 Venice flood. It is an atmospheric, gothic, slow-paced, character… Read more

  • Red is My Heart by Antoine Laurain and Le Sonneur | Book Review

    16th March 2022 by

    “I feel as if I am looking at the world through a keyhole and what I see scares me.” Many people in Eastern Europe go currently through grief, an extreme level of anxiety, shock, pain, a feeling of loss. For many Eastern Europeans, generational traumas have resurfaced. For those who are able to read, maybe… Read more

  • Brotherhood by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr | Book Review

    20th February 2022 by

    A few thoughts about about one of my favourite books I have read recently, Brotherhood (Terre Ceinte) by the Senegalese writer, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, a winner of the French prestigious 2021 Prix Goncourt for La plus secrete memoire des hommes  (Men’s Most Secret Memories). Written with maturity and unmatched sensitivity and empathy, Brotherhood explores many… Read more

  • Living Quietly | Walk With Me Around East London

    11th February 2022 by

    Let me take you for a winter walk around East London. Have a restful Friday and weekend ahead. “…I have so many dreams of my own, and I remember things from my childhood, from when I was a girl and a young woman, and I haven’t forgotten a thing. So why did we think of… Read more

  • Martita, I Remember You by Sandra Cisneros | Book Review

    6th February 2022 by

    “People look at me and they just see a woman who works in an office. It’s as if your body isn’t an anchor or an iron bell anymore. That’s all. Just someone who answers the phone. Nobody asks me, what’s that you’re reading? Eduardo Galeano’s The Book Of Embraces? Gwendolyn Brooks’s Maud Martha? Elena Poniatowska’s… Read more

  • The Sundays of Jean Dezert by Jean de La Ville de Mirmont | Book Review

    24th January 2022 by

    Jean de La Ville de Mirmont (1886 – 1914)  was killed at the age of 27 during the World War I. He was an author of a collection of poetry, short stories and a 1914 self-published novella, The Sundays of Jean Dezert. Mirmont was a close friend of another French writer and the 1952 Nobel… Read more

  • Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym | Book Review

    18th November 2021 by

    Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym published in 1977 (and nominated for the Booker Prize) is a poignant exploration of loneliness. This is a story of four single people in their 60s: Marcia, Letty, Edwin and Norman who have worked together for several years in an office in Central London doing unspecified clerical work. They… Read more

  • The Wheel by Jennifer Lane | Book Review

    13th October 2021 by

    “In the world we live in, we have been taught from a young age that traditionally masculine traits are what will make us succeed; intelligence is measured logically through tick-box tests, the loudest voice in the room tends to win the debate and we are told to be cruel to fight our way to the… Read more

  • No Touching by Ketty Rouf | Book Review

    4th October 2021 by

    “Today , I don’t exist. Tomorrow, I probably won’t, either. (…)Today is the first day of school.” “Exhausted. (…) Do your job. Hang on. (…) It is a truly wretched existence, one that drove me to seek stimulation by reading the great philosophers. Where the hell did I get the ludicrous idea of finding happiness… Read more

  • Invisible Ink by Patrick Modiano | Book Review

    25th September 2021 by

    “It comforted me to think that even if you sometimes have memory gaps, all the details of your life are written somewhere in invisible ink.” “I did not want to quantify my life. I let it flow by, like mad money that slips through your fingers. I wasn’t careful. When I thought about the future,… Read more

  • The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak | Book Review

    29th August 2021 by

    ‘Where do you start someone’s story when every life has more than one thread and what we call birth is not the only beginning, nor is death exactly an end?’ ‘People on both sides of the island [Cyprus] suffered – and people on both sides would hate it if you said that aloud. Why? Because… Read more

  • The German Room by Carla Maliandi | Book Review

    15th August 2021 by

    “No matter where I go, I’m still broken. And now I’m thousands of miles from home, in a place where I barely speak the language and I have no idea what to do.”  “Even if I crossed the whole world looking for a place to feel at home, I wouldn’t belong anywhere.”  The German Room… Read more

  • The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun | Book Review

    20th July 2021 by

    “Not all disasters catch your eye. The ones that become real issues are distinct. (…) The disaster has to be on a certain scale for busy people to take the time to sympathize or pay attention. (…) The empathy can fade too. (…) If you compared several disasters that had occurred at similar times and… Read more

  • Fresh Water For Flowers by Valerie Perrin | Book Review

    14th July 2021 by

    Fresh Water for Flowers is the most extraordinary, moving tribute to the resilience of human spirit. I must admit that I don’t remember when last time I was so deeply touched by a story. This book hugs YOU, offers comfort and numerous moments of tenderness, as well as it evokes the spirit of profound emotions… Read more

  • The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout | Book Review

    4th July 2021 by

    “Books — the closeness of them, their contact, their smell, and their contents — constitute the safest refuge against this world of horror. They are the most pleasant and the most subtle means of traveling to a more compassionate planet.” Tahar Djaout (1954 – 1993) was one of the most talented Algerian writers of the… Read more

  • North Korea Like Nowhere Else by Lindsey Miller | Book Review

    30th June 2021 by

    North Korea Like Nowhere Else is a photographic exploration of the life in North Korea from the unique perspective of the Westerner living in the capital city of Pyongyang between 2017 and 2019. Through a series of evocative as well as informative stories, anecdotes and captivating photos accompanied by the author’s very sensitive, insightful and… Read more

  • Internat [The Orphanage] by Serhiy Zhadan | Book Review

    13th June 2021 by

    Internat also published in English under the title ‘The Orphanage’ by the Ukrainian writer Serhiy Viktorovych Zhadan (Serhij Zadan) is my favourite book I have read so far this year and definitely one of the best books I have ever read. Yale University Press published an English translation of this magnificent novel in April 2021… Read more

  • A Bookshop in Algiers by Kaouther Adimi | Book Review

    5th June 2021 by

    A Bookshop in Algiers by the Algerian writer Kaouther Adimi is a literary feast. This book might be small in size, just under 150 pages, but it is dense with captivating literally anecdotes related to both Algerian and French titans of literature as well as with many unique perspectives on the history and culture of… Read more

  • A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar | Book Review

    23rd May 2021 by

    “I found something in Siena, for which I am yet to have a description, but for which I have been searching, and it came (…) at that strange meeting point of two contradictory events – the bright achievement of having finished a book and the dark maturation of the likelihood, inescapable now, that I will… Read more

  • Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman | Book Review

    9th May 2021 by

    If you are not familiar with a wonderful Dutch historian, Rutger Bregman, I would highly recommend you to watch his 2017 TED Presentation: ‘Poverty Isn’t a Lack of Character, It’ s a Lack of Cash.’ Also, I would encourage you to watch his now viral talk at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos where… Read more

  • Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri | Book Review

    8th May 2021 by

    Whereabouts was originally written in Italian by the Bengali-American writer, Jhumpa Lahiri who also translated the book herself.   “Solitude: it’s become my trade. (…) It’s a condition I try to perfect”.   Written in forty-six short vignettes, Whereabouts portrays daily wanderings and inner workings of the narrator’s mind who is a solitary unnamed woman… Read more

  • Anna Langfus | Introduction

    13th April 2021 by

    I would like to share with you a lit bit about one of my favourite writers who is almost unknown these days to the anglophone audience. I hope that some of my French followers might have read some of the books by this remarkable author of a profound sensitivity.   Her name was Anna Langfus (1920… Read more

  • Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley | Book Review

    5th April 2021 by

    Hot Stew is the second novel by Fiona Mozley whose debut novel, Elmet was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Hot Stew is a wonderful ode to London’s Soho providing a sharp social analysis of life in a modern metropolis. The book tackles the issues of gentrification, social class, stigmatisation, poverty, privilege, London’s housing… Read more

  • The Photographer at Sixteen by George Szirtes | Book Review

    5th April 2021 by

    “Displacement hits you later than you expect, just when you think you have settled down and become part of the world all over again. That is when it begins to ache, when a certain inarticulable desolation creeps in. Your body is not where your body ought to be (…). It is as if you had… Read more

  • El Excluido [‘The Excluded’] by David San Jose Martinez | Book Review

    29th March 2021 by

    El Excluido’ [‘The Excluded’] by the great Spanish writer, David San Jose Martinez. This book is a wonderful literary achievement, beautifully written with a very rich language, a veil of nostalgia and profound emotional sensitivity. It is a novel but its form – the collection of vignettes, somewhat separated, somewhat connected, is very innovative. El… Read more

  • In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri | Book Review

    28th March 2021 by

    “Why do I write? To investigate the mystery of existence. (…) To get closer to everything that is outside of me. (…)Writing is my only way of absorbing (…) life.”  In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri   constitutes an astonishingly beautiful discourse exploring the subjects of identity, the meaning of exile, belonging, cultural displacement, alienation,… Read more

  • Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga | Book Review

    2nd March 2021 by

    “Nothing in Rwanda was left in me but a wound that could never be healed.”  “Humiliated, afraid, waiting day after day for what was to come, what we didn’t have a word for: genocide. And I alone preserve the memory of it. And that’s why I am writing this.”   “Where are they? Somewhere deep in… Read more

  • The Melancholic Soul of Fernando Pessoa | Reflections

    16th February 2021 by

    “Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” A few thoughts from “The Book of Disquiet” by Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935), a Portuguese writer who is the dearest to my heart. Fernando was a Portuguese poet, considered one of the most significant literary figures of the early 20th century, and one of the… Read more

  • Medallions by Zofia Nalkowska | Book Review

    14th February 2021 by

    Medallions by a Polish novelist and essayist, Zofia Nalkowska (1884 – 1954)  Medallions is considered the masterpiece in the world Holocaust literature, deeply influences by Nalkowska’s experience as a member of the Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes which was established in 1945. During that time, she visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, Treblinka and many… Read more

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | Book Review

    10th February 2021 by

    “If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.” “Time only blunts the pain of loss. It doesn’t erase it.” “I… Read more

  • The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain | Book Review

    9th February 2021 by

    “Marcel Proust, Iike all writers of genius, had succeeded – and he more than any other – in this transmutation which is the very essence of literature: a spirit and soul embodied in a rectangle of bound paper, living on after them.” “The Readers’ Room” by Antoine Laurain This little mystery book serves as a… Read more

  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri | Book Review

    10th January 2021 by

    “𝑺𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒔 𝒘𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒇𝒖𝒍 𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔, 𝒔𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒆 𝒅𝒐 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒍𝒐𝒔𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔.” The Beekeeper of Aleppo is beautifully written, but it should be mainly read for its subject matter. Christy Lefteri portrays the journey of Syrian refugees in a realistic, emphatic, and respectful manner. The Beekeeper of Aleppo tells a story… Read more

  • Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland | Book Review

    13th December 2020 by

    My stress levels have been skyrocketing over the last weeks and months due to the current situation related to pandemic. For that reason I have been in need of reading something heartwarming, soul-healing, soul-soothing and gentle. And, this little gem of a book, Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland brought me solace, so needed moments… Read more

  • The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel | Book Review

    13th December 2020 by

    “At night, here in the library, the ghosts have voices. (…) But at night, when the library lamps are lit, the outside world disappears and nothing but the space of books remains in existence. ” – The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel is one of the greatest… Read more

  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid | Book Review

    29th November 2020 by

    This book offers beautiful writing and delights with a very sharp approach to the question of identity, “cultural power”, cultural clash between the West and the East in a context of the dominance of one powerful country such as the United States (US) prior and after the attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11… Read more

  • Anita Brookner | Introduction

    8th November 2020 by

    Let me introduce you to one of my favourite writers, Anita Brookner (1928 – 2016)  Anita Brookner was an English novelist and art historian, born into the Polish – Jewish family in North London. She was appointed as Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cambridge in 1967 and was the first woman… Read more

  • London | An Autumn Visit to West Highgate Cemetery

    1st November 2020 by

     I hope you are all well and enjoy the autumn if you are based in the Northern hemisphere. A few weeks ago I went to visit West Highgate Cemetery in North London to roam the leafy, ancient avenues of this Victorian cemetery. The cemetery opened in 1839 and there are many well-preserved graves dated back… Read more

  • The Distance by Ivan Vladislavić | Book Review

    31st October 2020 by

    The Distance by a wonderful South African novelist, Ivan Vladislavic is a magnificent and stunning literary achievement. This is a remarkable, thoughtful read and a real feast for all the bibliophiles. This book is both, global and local; universal and South African – Praetorian; ordinary and surreal; alien and familiar. The ‘distance’ in the book is… Read more

  • Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali | Book Review

    16th October 2020 by

    ‘When we walked side by side, did I not feel his humanity most profoundly? Only now did I begin to understand why it was not always through words that people sought each other out and came to understand each other.’ I was profoundly moved by this gem of a book. In ‘Madonna in a Fur… Read more

  • 6 Compelling Autumn Reads

    16th October 2020 by

    A Start in Life by Anita Brookner (‪1928 – 2016‬) “Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature” is one of the boldest opening sentences I have ever read. The main protagonist, Ruth, turns to books for comfort while navigating through many ambiguities in her daily life such as taking… Read more

  • Amour | How the French Talk about Love by Stefania Rousselle | Book Review

    12th September 2020 by

    “I am single today, and I have been struggling with my thoughts. And after so many years, I want to know what it is just to be two. United. One. I’ve never had that experience. People say they ‘fall’ in love. That word is so negative. I want to ‘rise’ into love. That’s exactly what… Read more

  • Returning to Reims by Didier Eribon | Book Review

    17th August 2020 by

    ‘Returning to Reims’ by Didier Eribon moved me profoundly. This book is about suffering, pain and shame related to one’s social background. Through showing his personal story of social exclusion, cutting ties with his working class origins, Eribon explores a number of important themes including the history of France over the last 100 years, how… Read more

  • This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun | Book Review

    16th August 2020 by

    “For a long time I searched for the black stone that cleanses the soul of death. When I say a long time, I think of a bottomless pit, a tunnel dug with my fingers, my teeth, in the stubborn hope of glimpsing, if only for a minute, one infinitely lingering minute, a ray of light,… Read more

  • Distant View of A Minaret by Alifa Rifaat | Book Review

    16th August 2020 by

    “Distant View of A Minaret” by Alifa Rifaat (1930 – 1996) is a collection of fifteen short stories depicting lives of women within a traditional Muslim society.Rifaat shows Muslim women who wish to adhere to strict religious teachings and they see men as the ones who do not follow their religious obligations towards women. She… Read more

  • The Black Notebook by Patrick Modiano | Book Review

    6th July 2020 by

    “Many years later I tried to find that hotel I hadn’t recorded its name or address in the black notebook, the way we tend not to write down the most intimate details of our lives, for fear that, once fixed on paper, they’ll no longer be ours”. I read Patrick Modiano‘s books whenever I feel… Read more

  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff | Book Review

    25th May 2020 by

    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… Read more

  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid | Book Review

    24th May 2020 by

    “(…) but that is the way of things, for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind”.  “(..) to love is to enter into the inevitability of one day being able to protect what is most valuable to you”. “We are all migrants through time”.   “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid… Read more

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

    16th May 2020 by

    “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… Read more

  • French Lessons by Alice Kaplan | Book Review

    10th February 2020 by

     “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… Read more

  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov | Book Review

    2nd February 2020 by

    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… Read more

  • Honeymoon by Patrick Modiano | Book Review

    6th December 2019 by

    ‘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… Read more

  • Melmoth by Sarah Perry | Book Review

    24th November 2019 by

    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… Read more

  • London | 10 Literary Places to Visit

    1st October 2019 by
  • An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine | Book Review

    24th July 2019 by

    “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,… Read more

  • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak | Book Review

    20th July 2019 by

    “The possibility of an immediate and wholesale decimation of civilization was not half as frightening as the simple realization that our individual passing had no impact on the order of things, and life would go on just the same with or without us.” “We must do what we can to mend our lives, we owe… Read more

  • Reunion by Fred Uhlman | Book Review

    14th July 2019 by

    Reunion by Fred Uhlman is such a little book, and depending on the edition, over ninety pages long. It is a story about friendship between two young boys, Konrad and Hans, growing up in Germany of the 1930, where a political landscape was changing drastically. Hans was born into an assimilated Jewish family.

  • James Baldwin | Reflections

    6th July 2019 by

    Books written by James Baldwin have always had a special place in my heart. They helped me to overcome many struggles that I faced as a young immigrant earlier in my life. I cannot express with words how much Baldwin’s writings mean to me. I especially like this quotation below from one of his interviews… Read more

  • Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier | Book Review

    5th July 2019 by

    “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

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

    30th June 2019 by

    “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,… Read more

  • The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak | Book Review

    30th June 2019 by

    “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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