Saturday, April 14, 2018

April (second week) 2018 Reads

Didn't read a lot this week--we finally had some decent weather and went for a couple of outings including delicious ice cream at the UCONN Dairy Bar.

This week the "Deal Me In" card is the Six of Spades; the story is Afternoon of a Faun by Jung Young Moon (in A most ambiguous Sunday, and other stories); translated from the Korean by Krys Lee and the author.
A quiet dream-like story of three friends spending an afternoon on a lake shore. Nothing much happens as they retell personal stories they've all heard before. A boring afternoon but the writing is lovely and not boring in its creation of an atmosphere of ennui.

Gutenberg finds...

Making Tin Can Toys by Edward Thatcher, c. 1919
Not that I read the whole text--it's quite detailed and I'm not actually going to try to make these. But I loved the pictures and the whole idea. If I had the tools, maybe I'd give it a try.

Suffrage Songs and Verses by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Published in 1911
25 poems, here is a sample (I feel frustrated when I read this) :      

Because the time is ripe, the age is ready,
Because the world her woman’s help demands,
Out of the long subjection and seclusion
Come to our field of warfare and confusion
The mother’s heart and hands.

Long has she stood aside, endured and waited,
While man swung forward, toiling on alone;
Now, for the weary man, so long ill-mated,
Now, for the world for which she was created,
Comes woman to her own.

Not for herself! though sweet the air of freedom;
Not for herself, though dear the new-born power;
But for the child, who needs a nobler mother,
For the whole people, needing one another,
Comes woman to her hour.

from the library...

The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan
An interesting account, but it has much padding that hasn't anything to do with do with the Baltimore.

from my shelves...

Mourning by Eduardo Halfon; translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn
Loved it! Halfon is always wonderful to read.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

April (first week) 2018 Reads

This week the "Deal Me In" card is the Two of Diamonds; the story is Old Man Savarin (on Project Gutenberg in Old Man Savarin and Other Stories, by Edward William Thomson)
A fun story about fishing rights in Canada. Difficult to read because of the dialect.

This Spanish Architect Wants to Revolutionize the Home—by Getting Rid of Kitchens by Samuel Medina"Few spaces of the home are as coveted as the kitchen. But Anna Puigjaner is showing the way out of these wasteful private cooking boxes toward more efficient “shared” alternatives."

from the library...

The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse by Hermann Hesse; Translated from the German by Jack D. Zipes; Illustrated by David Frampton (Illustrator) 

from my shelves...

The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov; translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
I've been reading this as part of Season Four of the Two Month Review
A great read and I really enjoyed the podcasts and essays on the Three Percent blog.


Lost in the City by Edward P. Jone

Saturday, March 31, 2018

March (fifth week) 2018 Reads

This week I juggled several short story collections and only finished one book (a biography, not short stories).

The "Deal Me In" card this week is the Five of Diamonds; the story is The Last Asset (on Project Gutenberg in The Hermit and the Wild Woman and Other Stories, by Edith Wharton)
Americans in Paris. Love this sentence "He was presumably a bachelor—a man of family ties, however relaxed, though he might have been as often absent from home would not have been as regularly present in the same place—and there was about him a boundless desultoriness which renewed Garnett's conviction that there is no one on earth as idle as an American who is not busy."

from the library...

Empress of the East; How a Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman empire by Leslie Peirce
A biography of Roxelana, wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. 

also from the library....a film,OS,TN,GO,FA 

The French minister / directed by Bertrand Tavernier. New York, NY : IFC Films, [2014]

A spoof on french involvement in international diplomacy.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March (fourth week) 2018 Reads

Didn't finish any books this week. March Madness! 

This week the "Deal Me In" card is a Joker which means a wild card pick and a second draw.

I made a library trip this week. I was looking for a book by Joanna Hershon when I noticed a book of Herman Hesse stories so I picked it for my Joker.  It turned out to be a great find.

The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse by Hermann Hesse; translation and introduction by Jack D. Zipes; Woodcut illustrations by David Frampton

So far I've read the introduction which gives a brief biography, a general summary of Hesse's work, and a discussion of the tales in this collection. I've also read the first three stories and enjoyed then very much. The Dwarf is a tale of revenge set in Venice; Shadow Play is set in the surrounds of a semi-deserted castle and concerns a mysterious woman and a jealous man. Both of these stories reveal the dark side of human nature.

A Man by the Name of Ziegler has a very different tone from the first two--there is nothing particularly mysterious or dark about Herr Ziegler. In fact, he is extremely ordinary until he visits a museum and somewhat inadvertently acquires a strange object. Enough said, no spoilers here.

Contents: The dwarf -- Shadow play -- A man by the name of Ziegler -- The city -- Dr. Knoegle's end -- The beautiful dream -- The three linden trees -- Augustus -- The poet -- Flute dream -- A dream about the gods -- Strange news from another planet -- Faldum -- A dream sequence -- The forest dweller -- The difficult path -- If the war continues -- The European -- The empire -- The painter --
The fairy tale about the wicker chair -- Iris.

The second card I drew is the Ten of Spades and its story is The Fire by Birutė Jonuškaitė; translated from the Lithuanian by Jayde Will (in Best European fiction 2015).

This is a perfect story to accompany the Hesse tales. It is about a young man who is a fire lookout in a forest tower. There is a mystery about him and his relationship to a local wood carver. It has the same dark fairy tale mood and I could easily imagine this story taking place in the same time and place as Shadow Play

Gutenberg find...

Book Cover

The Bashful Earthquake : & other fables and verses by Oliver Herford. Illustrated by the author. (c.1898)
Fun poems and illustrations. Not at all like the Hesse, these are light and airy and rather silly at times. And nicely illustrated with black and white sketches (only the cover is in color).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March (third week) 2018 Reads

The poet (Shelley) askes "O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?" Apparently in Connecticut this year the answer is "NO!" Another storm predicted for next week. According to "Of course, the usual disclaimer applies now: keep abreast of the forecast.  Great uncertainty still exists and a much greater impact on New England is still possible."

This week the "Deal Me In" card is the Ace of Clubs and the story is an essay: Someone Without Peers  by Mohammad Tolouei, Translated from the Persian by Farzaneh Doosti (in the October 2017 issue of Asymptote)
Good essay on the influence of a favorite childhood read on an author and his work.

From my shelves...

Mouths Don't Speak by Katia D. Ulysse
Perhaps Ulysse tries to cover too much material in too little space. This story of a woman with a dysfunctional relationship with her parents and a husband with PTSD jumps all over the place. She lives in Baltimore and is trying to come to terms with the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti--where her parents live but where she herself hasn't lived since she was ten years old. With several digressions, switches in points of view, characters who really don't add to the story, I just couldn't get a handle on what story she was trying to tell.
Free copy from publisher through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

From the library...

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabov
Very informative account of a journey through the Bulgaria/Turkey/Greece border area. The map at the beginning was extremely helpful.

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness
(Kindle ed) by Sy Montgomery
An enjoyable read but almost more than I wanted to know about octopuses and the people who study them. Some fine pictures.

The Aeneid by Virgil; translated from the Latin by David Ferry
 About time I got around to reading this and it was not a difficult read.

Gutenberg find...

High SocietyAdvice as to Social Campaigning, and Hints on the Management of Dowagers, Dinners, Debutantes, Dances, and the Thousand and One Diversions of Persons of Quality by George S. Chappell, Frank Crowninshield, and Dorothy Parker

Need I say more?