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

    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

  • Book Review: Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

    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

  • Introduction to the Prose of Anna Langfus

    13th Apr 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

  • Book Review: Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley

    5th Apr 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

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

    29th Mar 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

  • Book Review: In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

    28th Mar 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

  • Book Review: Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga

    2nd Mar 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

  • Reflections: The Melancholic Soul of Fernando Pessoa

    16th Feb 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

  • Book Review: Medallions by Zofia Nalkowska

    14th Feb 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

  • Book Review: The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain

    9th Feb 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

  • Book Review: The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

    10th Jan 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

  • Book Review: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

    13th Dec 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

  • Book Review: The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

    13th Dec 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

  • Book Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

    29th Nov 2020 by

    This book offers beautiful writing and delights with a very sharp approach to the question of identity, “cultural power”, cultural clashed 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

  • An Introduction to Anita Brookner’s Prose

    8th Nov 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

  • An Autumn Visit to West Highgate Cemetery in North London

    1st Nov 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

  • Book Review: The Distance by Ivan Vladislavić

    31st Oct 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

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

    16th Oct 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 Books to Read during the Autumn

    16th Oct 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

  • Book Review: Returning to Reims by Didier Eribon

    17th Aug 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

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

    16th Aug 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

  • Book Review: The Black Notebook by Patrick Modiano

    6th Jul 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

  • Book Review: 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

    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

  • Book Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

    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

  • Book Review: French Lessons by Alice Kaplan

    10th Feb 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

  • Book Review: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

    2nd Feb 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

  • Book Review: Honeymoon by Patrick Modiano

    6th Dec 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

  • Book Review: Melmoth by Sarah Perry

    24th Nov 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

  • Book Review: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

    24th Jul 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

  • Book Review: Reunion by Fred Uhlman

    14th Jul 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.

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

    30th Jun 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

  • Book Review: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

    30th Jun 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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