Dilara's 2023 reading log

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Dilara's 2023 reading log

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2022, 9:56 am

Dilara’s 2023 reading log

This is my sixth year in Club Read. I like literary and speculative fiction, especially from countries other than France, the UK and the US. My aim is to read as widely as possible, with a good mix of original languages, places and author backgrounds. I won’t write about all the books I read, but I’ll list them all and review some of them when I can (or when you ask for one). I read in French and English, and welcome posts in both languages.

My previous threads are here:
Spring 2019
Winter 2019

Last year, I joined the Food & Lit challenge over at Litsy, where we cook food and read books from a different country every month. This is still going strong and we have 12 new countries lined up for 2023! I haven't missed a month so far.

I've also joined Naturalitsy, a reading group focusing on nature books, but will only participate sporadically, when practical.

Just like last year, I’ll be reading books set in the French département whose number is the same as the current year, so, in ’23: the Creuse département in what used to be Limousin, in the Massif central (the mountains in central France). Last year was Côtes d’Armor in Brittany.

Here’s the list of books I received at Christmas:
Comment chier dans les bois (How to shit in the woods) by Kathleen Meyer
Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Gulf Poetry
Babel or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R. F. Kuang
L‘archipel du goulache by Florian Pinel

Carry-overs from 2022 – there are still 2 days left: let’s see what I manage in that time

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 11, 11:42 am

Food and Lit 2023

January – Uganda
Waiting: A Novel of Uganda's Hidden War by Goretti Kyomuhendo and a rolex ( https://afrifoodnetwork.com/articles/ugandan-dishes-you-should-try/ )

February – Dominican Republic
Poètes de la République dominicaine, a Dominican poetry anthology edited and translated by Claude Couffon and a "Dominican flag" mixed plate with abichuelas guisadas (beans stewed with onion, garlic, kabocha squash, chili, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, thyme, oregano and celery leaves), pollo guisado (chicken in a delicious pepper, celery, herb and tomato sauce), rice, avocado, lettuce and beetroot

March – Syria

April – Thailand

May – Paraguay

June – Australia

July – Hungary

August – Costa Rica

September – China

October – Nigeria

November – Chile

December – Sweden

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 11, 11:43 am


Map of the Creuse département, in the hills and mountains of central France.

Château de Villemonteix - just because it's pretty.

Babelio has a long list of books set in Creuse ( https://www.babelio.com/livres-/Creuse-France/87989 ), although once light novels and "livres du terroir" are removed, there's a lot less choice...


Vies Minuscules (Small Lives) by Pierre Michon - Read
Vengeances en Creuse by Jacques Jung
Sortie d'usine by Benjamin Carle
La compagnie d'Ulysse by Jean-Marie Chevrier
Léonard, maçon de la Creuse by Martin Nadaud

I'm still looking for a book about the "enfants de la Creuse" (children of Creuse) that's serious and not a tearjerker. Maybe Les Enfants de la Creuse : idées reçues sur la transplantation de mineurs de La Réunion en France

I'd also like a couple of classics or semi-classics set in Creuse or written by Creusois authors.

ETA links and pictures

Muokkaaja: elokuu 26, 9:43 am

I have a few loose goals:

- Read Creusois authors;
- Read a couple more Côte-d'Armor authors because I could have done better on that front last year;
- Read authors from regions of France that I haven't explored at all on my Global Challenge thread (they're all overseas territories: French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélémy, Saint Pierre et Miquelon);
- Read authors from 4 countries that I haven't explored at all yet on my Global Challenge thread, including: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Azerbaijan (partially), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Brunei, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinée Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Kuwait (partially), Laos, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montenegro (partially), Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar (partially), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates (partially), Uruguay, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Ossetia, Transnistria (TBH, I'm surprised at a few names on that list - I'll have to double check my catalogue) ;
- Read diversely.

joulukuu 29, 2022, 11:07 am

Happy new thread. Curious what you find on the Creuse département. And glad you peak into Naturalitsy.

joulukuu 29, 2022, 1:16 pm

I'm looking forward to following your reading again this year, Dilara. I'm glad I found your thread last year, as I learned a lot from your reading. Fascinating mix of books that you received for Christmas. I'm curious about Babel or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution. I'm interested in the theme of translation as colonization tool and how the author explores it.

joulukuu 30, 2022, 2:28 am

>5 dchaikin: Thank you! I am reading The Book of Eels right now. I wanted to read the previous choices, but they weren't available on scribd and I didn't want to buy them...

joulukuu 30, 2022, 2:32 am

>6 labfs39: I've heard a lot of good things about this book: I really hope it lives up to the hype! Translation, colonisation, decolonisation and domination strategies are all subjects I'm very interested in.

joulukuu 30, 2022, 11:00 pm

>7 Dilara86: Interested to hear what you think about it. It sounds very much like it would my kind of thing if he pulls off all those overarching themes the blurb is claiming.

joulukuu 30, 2022, 11:35 pm

>7 Dilara86: I’ll start probably Tuesday (i may not be able to Jan 1st or 2nd)

joulukuu 31, 2022, 2:46 pm

I like your Food and Lit- project. It reminds me of a cookbook that my sister received over 30 years ago with one or more classic recipes from countries from all over the world. I still use some of these recipes.
I'm looking forward to following your thread in 2023. Bonne Année!

joulukuu 31, 2022, 3:17 pm

Happy new year! I'm intrigued by Kuang's book too. I presume, given the contemporaneity of the Jonathan Strange reference that the "Secret history" refers to Donna Tartt's bestseller? Have you read these two books?

tammikuu 2, 1:27 am

I love the Food and Lit idea --- maybe I could read and my husband could cook something, since I hate to cook! I'll be here keeping up with your thread, and unlike last year I'll try to make my presence known occasionally.

tammikuu 2, 7:45 am

>9 lisapeet: Welcome! I'll probably start in a couple of weeks :-)

>10 dchaikin: I'm looking forward to the discussion on Litsy!

>11 Trifolia: Welcome and Bonne Année to you too! I have a couple of books like that: one that's disappointing, and a vegetarian one that I really like and have used a lot: World Food Café.

>12 LolaWalser: Happy New Year! When I asked for this book, I either hadn't read or the book description or I hadn't noticed the books mentioned. I have actually read both The Secret History and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but I only remember them vaguely and wouldn't want to be quizzed on either of them! I have warmer feelings towards Jonathan Strange than The Secret History, which in my recollection was possibly a bit self-indulgent and annoying. Anyway, I'm hoping I won't need to reread them before getting started on Babel, or I won't get anything else done this month :-D

>13 ursula: I'd love to see what both of you come up with, on Litsy, or on LT!

In fact, Happy New Year and welcome to all the visitors on my thread :-)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 2, 11:58 am

>1 Dilara86: & >8 Dilara86: - I'm also hoping to peek at naturalitsy this year, so maybe we'll coincide there.

Will be curious to hear what you think about Kuang's Babel - I dnfd The poppy wars, so I'm wondering whether to try this or not.

tammikuu 2, 4:42 pm

I am so looking forward to your Food and Lit posts on Litsy as well as your longer reviews here.

tammikuu 2, 4:48 pm

>14 Dilara86:

Yeah, me too, not sure I have enough recollection to make it worthwhile. I really liked Clarke (but in no rush to reread), didn't love the other one (although, yes, I admit, almost anything involving the classics and study of, has me halfway smitten).

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 11, 11:44 am

January reads

Carry-overs from 2022

  1. L'archipel du goulache : aventures culinaires dans le bloc de l'Est by Florian Pinel
  2. Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Gulf Poetry by various Gulf authors
  3. Meurtres à la Pomme d'or by Michèle Barrière
  4. The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World by Patrik Svensson

January books

  1. Le visiteur royal by Henrik Pontoppidan
  2. Babel, Or, The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R. F. Kuang
  3. Waiting: a Novel of Uganda by Goretti Kyomuhendo
  4. Arrête avec tes mensonges by Philippe Besson
  5. Les lois naturelles de l'enfant by Céline Alvarez
  6. Ambatomanga, la douleur et le silence by Michèle Rakotoson
  7. Poètes de la République dominicaine edited by Claude Couffon
  8. Requiem by Gyrðir Elíasson
  9. Mon beau cheval noir by Zhang Chengzhi
  10. Vies minuscules: récit by Pierre Michon

Original languages of the books I've read this month:

  • French: 6
  • English: 2
  • Swedish: 1
  • Arabic: 1
  • Danish: 1
  • Spanish: 1
  • Icelandic: 1
  • Chinese: 1

That's 57% English and French

  • 21st-century books: 10
  • 20th-century books: 4
  • 19th-century books:
  • 18th-century books:
  • 17th-century books:
  • 16th-century books:
  • Medieval books:
  • Ancient books:

    That's 100% 21st- and 20th-century

    • Number of female authors this month: 5
    • Number of male authors this month: 7
    • Mixed male/female collaborations this month: 2 (just about - the Arabic poetry anthology has a good mix of male and female authors, but the Dominican one only has one female poet)

  • 19Dilara86
    tammikuu 4, 11:05 am

    L'archipel du goulache is very weird and best taken in small doses, lest the author's huge ego pushes me to rage-quit what is still a very interesting travelogue/coookbook of the countries of the former USSR.

    Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Gulf Poetry is quite a big tome - for poetry - which I will probably be reading in small chunks over a couple of months or more, in between novels. I like it a lot.

    Meurtres à la Pomme d'or is not great and the faster I finish it the better.

    It's not a long book but am drawing out The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World because the discussion is scheduled over a whole month.

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 2:42 pm

    And now that the cold I caught right on New Year's Eve is clearing up and my brain is less foggy, here's what I thought of my reading in 2022.

    I read 202 books in all. It looks like it's a lot, but that's because it includes everything: unfinished books, children's books (including 8-page board books), comics, 45-page poetry collections, etc.

    I gave up on 5 books this year, which on par with 2021 and much better than 2020 and 2019. That's partly because I pushed on with books I didn't like when they were my new book club's choices.

    I really liked or loved about half the books I read.

    I read 80 female authors, 91 male authors and 13 works written by men and women. I feel it might be less balanced than in previous years.

    Once again, I read more books written in French and English than I would have liked (91 and 50, respectively). Then 7 German, 6 Spanish, 4 Italian and Japanese, 3 Arabic, Hebrew and Russian, 2 Chinese, Dutch, Greek, Occitan, Swedish and Urdu, followed by a loooong tail of 1 Bengali, Bulgarian, Finnish, Kikuyu, Korean, Latvian, Malayalam, Norwegian, Polish, Slovak and Turkish. I managed to add two languages to my list of works read in translation: Bulgarian and Slovak. I particularly enjoyed the semi-deep dive into German literature in December.


    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 6, 6:05 am

    La taupe et la taupe written by Gérard Bialestowski and illustrated by Nicolas Spinga

    To start my Creuse year, here's a book that is special to me and my mixed British/French family. It was one of my daughter's favourite books when she was little. It's about a French mole from Creuse called Fouisse and a British mole from Holeshire called Fwizz who build a tunnel under the Channel so they can meet more easily! It is slightly dated and visual clichés abound, but it's still very sweet. Now the mole is from Creuse because the name sounds just like the French word for "dig" - there's nothing recognisably Creusois about Fouisse's home - but I couldn't resist posting about it.

    tammikuu 5, 10:43 am

    Happy new year! Nice plans for 2023, so I'll be happy to follow your thread as usual.

    >21 Dilara86: What a nice review to start your reading year!

    tammikuu 5, 2:24 pm

    >21 Dilara86: I love it!

    tammikuu 6, 1:38 am

    >21 Dilara86:

    So cute. But the pollution in the Channel, oh my.

    tammikuu 6, 3:53 am

    >21 Dilara86: What a lovely way to start the reading year!

    tammikuu 6, 3:59 am

    >22 raton-liseur: >25 wandering_star: Thanks and welcome!

    >23 labfs39: :-)

    >24 LolaWalser: The sad thing is, it's probably not inaccurate. Also, I'm not sure they're visible on the photo, but about half of the fish swimming in the sea are actually fish skeletons :-(

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 6, 10:27 am

    Meurtres à la pomme d’or by Michèle Barrière

    Writer’s gender: Female
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Montpellier (France), Bologna (Italy) and various other places in the South of France and Northern Italy, including Arles, Marseille, Padua, Ferrare…
    First published in 2006

    A few lines from page 100

    - J’ai tout entendu. Je ne veux pas le croire. Que vont-ils faire de mon mari, Anicette ?
    - Éléonor, je vous jure solennellement que nous allons tout faire pour le sortir de geôle. Je vais réunir tous nos amis et…
    - Tu verras que tu n’en trouveras plus guère ! Tous vont nous abandonner/ Ils n’oseront pas se mettre en travers du chemin du Prévôt. Tu sais bien que cet homme se croit chargé d’une mission divine.
    Je vous laisse entre les mains de Béatrix qui prendra soin de vous et de votre fils. Je reviendrai dès que j’en saurai plus.
    La première chose à faire était de courir jusqu’à la « Treille Blanche », la maison des champs de Catalan pour prévenir François, Félix et les autres.

    This novel is a historical murder mystery that revolves around food. Its main character, François, is an apothecary’s apprentice who would much rather be a cook. When his master, Laurent Catalan (a real historical person : https://musee.info/Chez-Catelan (in French)), is framed for a series of mysterious murders, he and his Swiss friend Felix are tasked with finding the real culprit(s) to exonerate him. Thankfully, they are able to bounce from illustrious physician to famous herbalist to renowned cook, princess, etc. until they solve the case.
    The author shoehorns every possible historical fact, anecdote, object and person from the Renaissance. It is both tiring and unconvincing. I can’t say it detracts from the plot because it’s so thin it doesn’t make much difference. This was so disappointing. The only interesting bit was the non-fiction part at the end. It contains mini-bios of the famous characters encountered in the novel and a few Renaissance recipes from period cookbooks.

    ETA: Clearly, there are as many opinions about this book as there are readers: ratings range from 5 to 2 stars, and no two members gave it the same number of stars...

    tammikuu 7, 3:54 am

    Le visiteur royal de Henrik Pontoppidan, traduit par Marguerite Gay et Ulla Morvan

    Langue d’origine : danois
    Traduction vers le : français
    Lieu : un hameau du Jutland au Danemark
    Livre publié pour la première fois en 1908

    Un extrait de la page 45 (ce court roman compte 90 pages)

    Comment t’appelles-tu ?
    - Abelone.
    Il lui tapota la joue.
    - C’est un bon nom ! Un nom de fête. Écoute-moi bien ma petite amie. Tu as bien une autre robe à te mettre que cette espèce de chiffon à parquet ? Une robe noire, pas vrai ? Cette de ta confirmation. Et un tablier blanc propre ? Bon ! Suis-moi.
    Dans le salon il avait sans rien dire fait déjà les premiers préparatifs. Il avait déplacé les plantes en pots rangées sur le rebord de la fenêtre et les avait disséminées avec goût tout autour de la pièce. La table ronde qui se trouvait près du canapé fut roulée sous le lustre, et Abelone reçut enfin l’ordre de mettre le couvert.

    En relisant la liste des nobélisé·es à la recherche d’auteur·rices que je n’avais pas lu·es, le nom – fantastique - d’Henrik Pontoppidan m’a sauté aux yeux. Cet auteur danois a reçu le prix Nobel conjointement avec Karl Gjellerup en 1917. Aucun des deux ne me disait quoi que ce soit, et seul Pontoppidan était disponible en bibliothèque : un unique tout petit roman – même pas son œuvre la plus connue – perdu dans les réserves ! Ça fera bien l’affaire en première approche et de toute façon, c’était ça ou rien… J’avoue être un peu étonnée de n’avoir pas entendu parler de lui avant, puisque outre son Nobel – qui je vous l’accorde, date un peu – son grand roman Pierre le chanceux (Lykke-Per) a fait l’objet d’une adaptation Netflix en 2018.
    Le visiteur royal, publié en 1908, sent la fin du XIXe, les contes fantastiques de Maupassant et de Gogol, mais transposé dans une austère famille bourgeoise du fin fond de la campagne du Jutland. Il raconte la visite inopinée d’un mystérieux inconnu la nuit du lundi au mardi gras, pendant le « carnaval ». J’ajoute des guillemets à ce mot, employé par les traductrices, car il ne correspond pas à l’idée que je me fais du carnaval : pas de foule, pas de fête collective, et dans la famille du roman, pas de déguisement ni de plat de fête, même si tout laisse penser que d’autres – les paysans – ne dérogent pas à la tradition. Sauf que le sulfureux visiteur saura forcer la main du maître et de la maîtresse de maison pour que la soirée soit aussi festive et sens dessus-dessous que ce qu’exige un carnaval. Et plus rien ne sera plus jamais pareil, mais pas forcément pour le meilleur…
    C’est bien observé mais malaisant et il faut bien le dire, ça dénote une vision assez pessimiste de la nature humaine. 90 pages, finalement, c’est bien suffisant !

    tammikuu 7, 7:03 pm

    >28 Dilara86: I should look this one up as it fits in both my Nobel challenge and the Baltic Sea theme read. Nice review.

    tammikuu 7, 7:32 pm

    >28 Dilara86: interesting read and fun review.

    tammikuu 9, 3:58 am

    >29 labfs39: That would depend on how strict you want the Baltic criterium to be, though: the novella is set in Jutland, which is a bit of Denmark that isn't bathed by the Baltic if you see the Kattegat sea as a separate body of water or as part of the North Sea. If anyone has an informed opinion, please chime in!

    >30 dchaikin: Thanks!

    tammikuu 9, 7:50 am

    >31 Dilara86: We are counting any country that borders the Baltic Sea, so I could fudge it.

    tammikuu 11, 8:47 am

    I finished The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World, a non-fiction book written by Patrik Svensson, yesterday. I must admit its 233 pages were a bit of a slog for me and I'm not sure I would have read it to the end if it hadn't been a Naturalitsy group read. Clearly, looking at the conversation, I'm in the minority: people seem to be enjoying it. Personally, I found the fact-to-fluff-and-triteness ratio disappointing. The pages about young Freud's trials in Trieste, for example, add nothing and drag on and on. I think I would have enjoyed it more as two separate books: one about eels (with the history of the study of eels kept short and to the point), and one about the author's family.

    tammikuu 11, 8:53 am

    I haven’t started Chapter 6 yet. I admit I thoroughly charmed by the Freud’s search for a male eel.

    tammikuu 11, 9:36 am

    >34 dchaikin: Oh well! Each to their own :-D I was going to keep more or less to the monthly schedule, but then changed my mind because I was afraid I'd lose momentum and never finish it if I stopped.

    tammikuu 11, 11:31 am

    Cross-posted in the Nobel thread in Lectures des francophones

    Pour voir un peu où je me situe, j’ai décidé de passer en revue les différents lauréat·es.

    Voici ma grille de lecture :
    Nom barré : j’ai lu au moins une œuvre
    Nom souligné : auteur·ice que j’aimerais bien découvrir
    Nom en gras : auteur·ice dont j’aimerais bien approfondir l’œuvre
    Nom suivi d’un Point d’interrogation ? : j’ai lu un court extrait (un poème dans une anthologie, par exemple), ma lecture remonte à tellement longtemps que je ne me souviens de rien, ou je ne suis pas à 100% sûre de les avoir lus

    Années 1900
    • 1901 : Sully Prudhomme France
    • 1902 : Theodor Mommsen Empire allemand
    • 1903 : Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Norvège
    • 1904 : Frédéric Mistral France, écrit en occitan provençal ; et José de Echegaray Espagne
    • 1905 : Henryk Sienkiewicz ? Royaume de Pologne (alors sous administration russe)
    • 1906 : Giosuè Carducci Italie
    • 1907 : Rudyard Kipling Royaume-Uni
    • 1908 : Rudolf Christoph Eucken Empire allemand
    • 1909 : Selma Lagerlöf Suède

    Années 1910
    • 1910 : Paul Heyse Empire allemand
    • 1911 : Maurice Maeterlinck ? Belgique, écrit en français
    • 1912 : Gerhart Hauptmann Empire allemand
    • 1913 : Rabindranath Tagore ? Raj britannique, écrit en bengalî
    • 1914 : (non décerné)
    • 1915 : Romain Rolland ? France
    • 1916 : Verner von Heidenstam Suède
    • 1917 : Karl Adolph Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan Danemark
    • 1918 : (non décerné)
    • 1919 : Carl Spitteler Suisse, écrit en allemand

    Années 1920
    • 1920 : Knut Pedersen Hamsun Norvège
    • 1921 : Anatole France ?France
    • 1922 : Jacinto Benavente Royaume d'Espagne
    • 1923 : William Butler Yeats ? Irlande, écrit en anglais
    • 1924 : Władysław Stanisław Reymont Pologne
    • 1925 : George Bernard Shaw Irlande, écrit en anglais
    • 1926 : Grazia Deledda Italie
    • 1927 : Henri Bergson ? France
    • 1928 : Sigrid Undset Norvège
    • 1929 : Thomas Mann Allemagne

    Années 1930
    • 1930 : Sinclair Lewis États-Unis
    • 1931 : Erik Axel Karlfeldt Suède (prix posthume)
    • 1932 : John Galsworthy Royaume-Uni
    • 1933 : Ivan Bounine, Russe blanc exilé en France
    • 1934 : Luigi Pirandello ? Italie
    • 1935 : (non décerné)
    • 1936 : Eugene O'Neill États-Unis
    • 1937 : Roger Martin du Gard France
    • 1938 : Pearl Buck États-Unis
    • 1939 : Frans Emil Sillanpää Finlande

    Années 1940
    • 1940-1943 : (non décerné)
    • 1944 : Johannes V. Jensen Danemark
    • 1945 : Gabriela Mistral Chili
    • 1946 : Hermann Hesse naturalisé Suisse, né Allemand, écrit en allemand
    • 1947 : André Gide France
    • 1948 : T. S. Eliot Royaume-Uni, né Américain
    • 1949 : William Faulkner ? États-Unis

    Années 1950
    • 1950 : Bertrand Arthur William Russell ? Royaume-Uni
    • 1951 : Pär Lagerkvist Suède
    • 1952 : François Mauriac France
    • 1953 : Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill Royaume-Uni
    • 1954 : Ernest Hemingway États-Unis
    • 1955 : Halldór Laxness Islande
    • 1956 : Juan Ramón Jiménez ? Espagne
    • 1957 : Albert Camus France
    • 1958 : Boris Pasternak Union soviétique (contraint de refuser le prix)
    • 1959 : Salvatore Quasimodo Italie

    Années 1960
    • 1960 : Saint-John Perse ? France
    • 1961 : Ivo Andrić Yougoslavie, écrit en serbo-croate
    • 1962 : John Steinbeck États-Unis
    • 1963 : Georges Séféris Grèce
    • 1964 : Jean-Paul Sartre France (décline le prix)
    • 1965 : Mikhaïl Cholokhov Union soviétique
    • 1966 : Samuel Joseph Agnon Israël, écrit en hébreu ; Nelly Sachs Suède, écrit en allemand
    • 1967 : Miguel Ángel Asturias Guatemala
    • 1968 : Yasunari Kawabata Japon
    • 1969 : Samuel Beckett Irlande, écrit en français et en anglais

    Années 1970
    • 1970 : Alexandre Soljenitsyne Union soviétique
    • 1971 : Pablo Neruda Chili
    • 1972 : Heinrich Böll ? Allemagne de l'Ouest
    • 1973 : Patrick White Australie
    • 1974 : Eyvind Johnson et Harry Martinson Suède
    • 1975 : Eugenio Montale Italie
    • 1976 : Saul Bellow États-Unis, et Canada
    • 1977 : Vicente Aleixandre Espagne
    • 1978 : Isaac Bashevis Singer États-Unis, né Polonais, écrit en yiddish
    • 1979 : Odysséas Elýtis Grèce

    Années 1980
    • 1980 : Czesław Miłosz Pologne/ États-Unis, écrit en polonais et en anglais
    • 1981 : Elias Canetti Royaume-Uni/ Bulgarie, écrit en allemand
    • 1982 : Gabriel García Márquez Colombie
    • 1983 : William Golding Royaume-Uni
    • 1984 : Jaroslav Seifert Tchécoslovaquie
    • 1985 : Claude Simon ? France
    • 1986 : Wole Soyinka Nigeria, écrit en anglais
    • 1987 : Joseph Brodsky États-Unis, écrit en russe et en anglais
    • 1988 : Naguib Mahfouz Égypte, écrit en arabe littéraire
    • 1989 : Camilo José Cela Espagne

    Années 1990
    • 1990 : Octavio Paz Mexique
    • 1991 : Nadine Gordimer Afrique du Sud, écrit en anglais
    • 1992 : Derek Walcott ? Sainte-Lucie, écrit en anglais et en créole
    • 1993 : Toni Morrison États-Unis
    • 1994 : Kenzaburō Ōe Japon
    • 1995 : Seamus Heaney Irlande
    • 1996 : Wisława Szymborska Pologne
    • 1997 : Dario Fo Italie (j’ai vu une de ses pièces, par contre)
    • 1998 : José Saramago Portugal
    • 1999 : Günter Grass Allemagne

    Années 2000
    • 2000 : Gao Xingjian France, né en Chine, écrit en mandarin et en français
    • 2001 : V. S. Naipaul Royaume-Uni, né à Trinité-et-Tobago, écrit en anglais
    • 2002 : Imre Kertész Hongrie
    • 2003 : J. M. Coetzee Afrique du Sud, écrit en anglais
    • 2004 : Elfriede Jelinek Autriche
    • 2005 : Harold Pinter Royaume-Uni
    • 2006 : Orhan Pamuk Turquie
    • 2007 : Doris Lessing Royaume-Uni
    • 2008 : J. M. G. Le Clézio France/ Maurice
    • 2009 : Herta Müller Allemagne, née en Roumanie, écrit en allemand

    Années 2010
    • 2010 : Mario Vargas Llosa Pérou/ Espagne, naturalisé espagnol
    • 2011 : Tomas Tranströmer Suède
    • 2012 : Mo Yan Chine
    • 2013 : Alice Munro ? Canada, écrit en anglais
    • 2014 : Patrick Modiano France
    • 2015 : Svetlana Alexievitch Biélorussie, écrit en russe
    • 2016 : Bob Dylan États-Unis (j’ai écouté ses chansons)
    • 2017 : Kazuo Ishiguro Royaume-Uni, né au Japon, écrit en anglais
    • 2018 : Olga Tokarczuk Pologne (prix attribué en 2019)
    • 2019 : Peter Handke Autriche

    Années 2020
    • 2020 : Louise Glück États-Unis
    • 2021 : Abdulrazak Gurnah Tanzanie, écrit en anglais
    • 2022 : Annie Ernaux France

    "Nouveau prix de littérature" (c'est à dire le prix ayant remplacé le Nobel en 2018, année du scandale) : Maryse Condé

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 13, 9:19 am

    Well I finished Babel, Or, The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution last night. I found it extremely disappointing but I don't have enough free mental bandwith to explain why in detail right now. It was YA with delusions of grandeur and a squarely contemporary American viewpoint. I think the author would have been well advised to sit on her research for a few more years - she clearly hasn't had time to digest it properly. I also don't think she's read enough Victorian literature or knows enough about people in the British Empire to write convincingly.

    tammikuu 13, 10:24 am

    >37 Dilara86: wow. Not the response i anticipated

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 14, 3:10 am

    >38 dchaikin: And to be honest, not what I had anticipated either (or I wouldn't have asked for it at Christmas!) The reviews I saw at the time were universally positive, but they're a lot more polarised now. I'd be really curious to know what people I actually follow on LT think of it.

    Thankfully, I've just finished a fantastic novella: the (small) run of disappointing reads has ended!

    ETA: Post >37 Dilara86: looks damning because I just wanted to run quickly through the negatives - and most of those boil down to a a less-than-satisfying handling of themes I care about in a book marketed for adults. The juvenile writing style and way of looking at the world didn't help. It doesn't make it unreadable or without merit. In fact, I still gave it 3 stars because it's still an ambitious page-turner and it's not unresearched. Panning it completely would have felt unfair and unkind.

    tammikuu 14, 9:28 am

    >39 Dilara86: fair enough. Ridgewaygirl reviewed it yesterday (in case you haven’t seen). She was much more positive about it.

    tammikuu 14, 5:27 pm

    >37 Dilara86:

    You know, somehow I'm not surprised. Language is subtle, translation complex, communication even across power differentials isn't amenable to crude, simplistic analysis.

    tammikuu 14, 8:34 pm

    >37 Dilara86: I didn’t like The Poppy War so have been resisting wishlisting this one despite the overwhelming wave of positive reviews. I hadn't seen the more polarised ones.

    tammikuu 15, 11:42 am

    I may give The Book of Eels a shot anyway. Maybe not so much Babel.

    tammikuu 15, 1:22 pm

    >42 wandering_star: I actually did like poppy war well las much as you can like it given its denoument, but hated the sequel. So interesting to read your comments on Babylon along side Ridgeway's Looks like I have to make my own mind up by reading it myself, darn it :)

    tammikuu 16, 10:40 am

    >40 dchaikin: Thanks, I'll wander over!

    >41 LolaWalser: There is that, but also more obvious stuff: plot holes and contradictions that should have been resolved at the editing stage. One that stayed with me is the eye thing. The main protagonist is half-Chinese, half-European, and we are told that he has his European father's eyes, and that he can pass for white a lot of the time. Yet, at one point, he is mocked for his single eyelids. I feel the author tried to cram in as many of her thoughts as possible, whether they made sense in context or not.

    >42 wandering_star: Oh, if it's not too much bother, what didn't you like in The Poppy War? It's in my wishlist, but I'm not sure I want to read it now, given what I thought of Babel...

    >43 lisapeet: I'd be interested in your opinion of it!

    >44 cindydavid4: Anybody who reads it and writes about it, please ping me so I can check out your review - there's such a wide range of opinions, it's fascinating.

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 16, 11:11 am

    Food and Lit Challenge, January: Uganda

    Waiting: A Novel of Uganda's Hidden War by Goretti Kyomuhendo

    Writer’s gender: Female
    Writer’s nationality: Uganda
    Original language: English (with the odd dialogue in Runyoro and Swahili)
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: a hamlet in Hoima, Western Uganda
    First published in 2007

    A few lines from page 100

    “I still don’t understand why he doesn’t speak English. I thought he went to school before he joined the army.”
    “Yes, he did, but, you see, everyone in Tanzania speaks Kiswahili. It is used in offices, schools, and even among the village people who never went to school. English is only taught in private primary schools as a language of instruction. But in the government ones where the majority go, they use and teach Kiswahili only.”
    “But what about their own languages? I mean, the languages of their tribes?”
    “They don’t speak them.”
    “Then how can they tell what tribe someone belongs to?”
    “I’m sure it must be difficult since everyone speaks the same language. Maybe they can tell by their names, you know, just like here; people from different regions have different names.”
    “I guess I like it better here, where people are able to speak the language of their tribes.”
    We found Bahati sitting outside his shelter, his head bent between his legs, reading a magazine full of colored pictures. When he heard us coming, he looked up and smiled broadly at Jungu, at the same time folding the magazine and pushing it quickly into his pocket. He had a shy, boyish, round face, but his eyes were sharp and roving.
    “Mtoto hajambo?”—Is the baby fine? he asked Jungu.

    Waiting: A Novel of Uganda's Hidden War was recommended by Eliz_M and I’m quite glad she did. It is set in Uganda during the 1979 civil war around the time of Idi Amin's ousting. His soldiers are retreating, killing and pillaging as they go. Villagers have to hide out in the bush at night to escape them. The Laws of fiction stipulate that something awful must happen, and I found the tension in the first half of the novella hard to take, but then I’m easily stressed. Still, the writing is surprisingly gentle and not too graphic, given its subject matter. We also get to learn a lot about women's daily lives and chores. I liked it a lot.

    Food-wise, I made a rolex. That’s a Ugandan street-food dish made with an onion (and maybe cabbage) omelette rolled up (rolled eggs = rolex) inside a chapati (a layered, flaky flatbread that’s undistinguishable from what I call a paratha) with some more raw vegetables. I used grated carrots, red pepper, avocado and coriander leaves. Very nice and if you use ready-made bread, very quick too. I don’t think it’ll ever be more than the sum of its parts, however. So, if your vegetables are tasteless, it won’t taste great.

    Here's a ridiculously bad photo of my attempt:

    tammikuu 16, 3:26 pm

    Sounds great, the book and the meal (I’m imagining a Ugandan breakfast burrito). I like that excerpt.

    tammikuu 16, 4:41 pm

    >45 Dilara86: I don't remember this well so I had to look up my review! (https://www.librarything.com/topic/301236#6787464) - it seems that I really liked the first part, which I thought set up an interesting tension between having power and using power; and then the rest of the book completely abandoned the tension and was just about the fighting.

    tammikuu 17, 1:11 pm

    >47 dchaikin: Yes, that's it! I knew there'd be similar dishes from other places in the world, but couldn't come up with any...

    >48 wandering_star: Thank you :-) That's not dissimilar to the way Babel is structured.

    tammikuu 18, 2:39 am

    >46 Dilara86: Interesting review. Not sure I'll read it (even if it gets translated into French).
    You review made me think about Girl by Edna O'Brien. It's very remotely related (not the same place, not the same time), but the same kind of violence I guess.

    tammikuu 19, 3:32 am

    I've started Ambatomanga, Le silence et la douleur by Malagasy author Michèle Rakotoson. She gave an interview to Jeune Afrique which contextualises and clarifies her book.

    tammikuu 19, 4:06 am

    Catching on some threads I haven't visited yet. Have you mentioned why you are focusing on la Creuse this year? We have a farmer friend who owns a farm there and we used to go down to the farm, pick the pig and cow we wanted, then come back from the farm with our suitcases full of, well... you know.

    Un creusois is also my favorite cake. It's so light and that noisette flavor is heaven. If you're not already familiar with it, I highly suggest making it! However, I can't get the top of the cake to be crisp like the farmer can. Mine is always a bit too moist. Not sure how she incorporates the ingredients (are the egg whites beaten, whipped, barely mixed?, etc) so the end product is still different even though I've tried numerous methods.

    Funny enough this recipe says not to beat the eggs too much or the cake will come out too dry. That's definitely not my problem!

    tammikuu 19, 7:39 am

    >52 lilisin: I am focusing on the Creuse because it is département number 23 and we're in 2023 :-) I did Côte-d'Armor (département 22) last year.
    Creusois are scrumptious! I've never made one, but I thought they'd be straightforward and am rather disappointed that it looks like there's a knack to them!

    tammikuu 19, 7:04 pm

    >53 Dilara86:

    Oh no, I made you hesitate! It really is straightforward! Just throw all the ingredients together, mix, and bake. I just like the slight crust on the farmer's cake, that is all! It's like saying you like a corner piece over a middle piece after having baked brownies. The flavor doesn't change at all.

    tammikuu 20, 3:46 am

    >54 lilisin: That's reassuring :-)

    On the subject of cooking, we're doing the Dominican Republic for Food and Lit in February.

    Habichuelas guisadas ( https://www.dominicancooking.com/habichuelas-guisadas-dominican-beans ) sound nice and I either have, or can easily get hold of all the ingredients. I'll probably serve them with plain rice, avocado and another salad vegetable to be determined. Also, possibly tostones if I can get plantain without queueing up for ages at the open-air market-stall on a workday morning...

    I have started a bilingual anthology of 20th-century Dominican poetry: Poètes de la République Dominicaine, edited by Claude Couffon, who I believe also edited the Cuban poetry anthology I read last year.

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 24, 9:07 am

    Litsy Food and Lit – February: Dominican Republic

    I'm a bit early, but as I had the right ingredients in the fridge and my library hold came through, here it is: a bilingual Dominican poetry collection and a Dominican Sunday lunch.

    Poètes de la République dominicaine edited, introduced and translated by Claude Couffon, written by Manuel del Cabral Franklin Mieses Burgos Pedro Mir Ruben Suro Aida Cartagena Portalatin Freddy Gaton Arce Enriquillo Rojas Abreu Manuel Rueda Antonio Fernanez Spencer Federico Jovine Bermudez Norberto James Rawling Mateo Morrison Enrique Eusebio Tony Raful

    Writer’s gender: male editor, 1 female poet, 13 male poets
    Writer’s nationality: Dominican Republic
    Original language: Spanish
    Translated into: French
    Location: N/A, Dominican Republic, Paris, Cuba, Chile…
    This collection was first published in 1992; the poets featured all wrote in the 20th century.

    A few lines from page 98-99
    Santo Domingo es esto by Manuel Rueda

    Spanish original versión

    Santo Domingo es esto : in millón de habitantes que te miran
    une millón de moribundos que se esfuerzan
    bajo el sol.
    Que hacen ruido y te miran
    te gritan
    te esquivan a sabiendas
    te persiguen
    te violan
    te agarran la solapa
    te sacuden los hombros
    te interrogan
    te besan
    te preguntan
    te comprimen
    te arreglan la corbata

    French translation

    Santo Domingo c’est cela : un million d’habitants qui te regardent
    un million de moribonds qui s’agitent
    sous le soleil.
    Qui font du bruit et te regardent
    t’évitent sciemment
    te poursuivent
    te violent
    te saisissent par le revers
    te secouent les épaules
    te questionnent
    te demandent si
    te compriment
    retouchent ta cravate

    A useful anthology of 20th-century Dominican poets, with the Spanish original on the left, and the French translation on the right. I particularly enjoyed Manuel del Cabral and Manuel Rueda.

    The food

    The traditional dominican Dominican Sunday lunch is called la bandera dominicana because it is red, green and white like the Dominican flag*. Using the recipes from https://www.dominicancooking.com/17570/la-bandera-dominicana-our-traditional-lun..., I made habichuelas guisadas (beans stewed with onion, garlic, kabocha squash, chili, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, thyme, oregano and celery leavs), pollo guisado (chicken in a delicious pepper, celery, herb and tomato sauce), rice, avocado, lettuce and beetroot (apparently, it's traditional?). I will definitely make these dishes again.

    *Except I checked and it's red, white and blue - with tiny laurel and palm branches in the middle.

    tammikuu 22, 2:07 pm

    Looks delicious!

    tammikuu 22, 5:21 pm

    … and it looks quite beautiful too.

    tammikuu 22, 5:32 pm

    Uh I'm so hungry...

    Domingo--Lucienne Delyle

    tout là-bas j'ai connu
    le plus beau de ma tribu
    mais les blancs aux yeux clairs
    l'ont emmené vers la mer

    So ominous.

    tammikuu 23, 1:14 am

    >56 Dilara86: That plate looks beautiful and sounds delicious!

    tammikuu 23, 4:26 am

    Thank you all for the compliments!

    >59 LolaWalser: A 1944 castanet tango about islands, tomtoms and palm trees, that's quite a string of clichés :-)) I'm pretty sure the author was using Domingo as a cipher for Nazi-occupied France. I can just picture the song's "narrator" is listening to BBC Radio London while thinking of her beloved and hoping he is biding his time in Britain and not dead...

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 23, 4:58 am

    Arrête avec tes mensonges (Lie with me) by Philippe Besson

    Writer’s gender: Male
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: in and around Barbezieux, near Cognac in Charente (France)
    First published in 2017

    A few lines from page 100

    A la place, nous achèterons des billets pour Scarface de Brian de Palma. J’ai pourtant fait observer que la critique est épouvantable : on déplore de la violence gratuite, un langage inutilement grossier, une esthétique tapageuse. Mais c’est Thomas qui a raison, bien sûr. Le film est un chef-d’œuvre, peut-être d’abord une fable féroce sur l’argent qui corrompt. Tandis que défile le générique, il dit : géniale, la scène de la tronçonneuse, hein ? Je le regarde et je lui réponds, avec ironie : j’ai failli me serrer contre toi, à ce moment-là. Il sourit en retour. Je reçois ce sourire comme un cadeau. Il n’y a pas eu tant d’occasions où Thomas m’a souri. Ce n’était pas son genre.

    I saw the trailer for the film inspired by this novel the other day and thought I'd check out the book. For once, there is an English translation available, by actor Molly Ringwald. I'd been meaning to read Philippe Besson for some time. I was put off by his enthusiasm for Macron and the controversy following his planned appointment as general consul for France in Los Angeles (which he eventually declined). Thankfully, he saw the error of his ways 😉 and has since declared that he was disappointed when Macron’s motto of “neither on the right nor on the left” evolved to – in his opinion (but I agree with him) - “on the right and on the right again”.
    Most of the book is set in Barbezieux and the Cognac countryside which is where the author grew up, as the son of a rural one-class primary school teacher. He tells us about his last year of high school – in 1984 – and his secret relation with another boy, Thomas, from a poor farming family living off a few cows and a small vineyard used to grow grapes for the local cognac distillery. Those reminiscences were sparked when he met Thomas’s son a couple of decades later. Besson left home and became a successful – and openly gay – writer. Thomas stayed, and lived an unhappy heterosexual life. Besson writes autofiction and tells us time and again that he lies, so I don’t necessarily know where to draw the line between truth and embellishment, although I have a few ideas.
    A lot of the eighties “colour” spoke to me. That boy could almost have been my big brother. We didn’t live in a similar environment, but we spent our summer holidays in the same place. I felt very invested in the boys’ fates. I more or less read this book in one sitting and I got teary-eyed at the end, without feeling emotionally manipulated. Loved it.

    tammikuu 23, 7:47 am

    Enjoyed your review. It is good to be grounded in a book because it takes place in an area or region that you know well.

    tammikuu 23, 9:09 am

    Les lois naturelles de l'enfant (The Natural Laws of Children: Why Children Thrive When We Understand How Their Brains Are Wired) by Céline Alvarez

    Writer’s gender: Female
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Gennevilliers, a working-class town in the greater Paris area (France)
    First published in 2016

    Céline Alvarez is a teacher, researcher and arguably, activist, who conducted an experiment in a school with a deprived intake in Gennevilliers to see if a pedagogy inspired by Montessori and her precursors Édouard Séguin and Jean Itard, as well as the latest academic research, could improve the well-being and school results of very young pupils. She taught a class of children aged 3 to 6 with the help of a TA. She is a proponent of child-led education, positive reinforcement, non-violent communication, mutual respect and high expectations. The results she describes in the book are miraculous and I really want to believe them because I am in broad agreement with her principles, but I am very aware that we only have her word for it. The book’s subtitle “Why Children Thrive When We Understand How Their Brains Are Wired” is somewhat misleading: there are no serious scientific explanations, which I am very disappointed about. It’s also short on actionable advice. What it did very well however, is present an uplifiting story and encourage the reader to be kind, patient and encouraging towards the babies, toddlers and small children in their lives. This is why I kept on reading, despite my initial misgivings due to the rather patronising and old-fashioned introduction that reminded me of Madame de Fleurville in the Comtesse de Ségur’s Les petites filles modèles – a tone that was, thankfully, at odds with the rest of the book.

    If anyone has used her methods or has an informed opinion about them, please chime it!

    Author’s English website : https://www.celinealvarez.org/?locale=en

    tammikuu 23, 9:21 am

    >63 baswood: It does feel special!

    tammikuu 23, 10:38 am

    >64 Dilara86: This is interesting, thank you for sharing. I explored the website a bit, and like the emphasis on flexibility, rather than strict adherence to Montessori (or any other method). I also liked that they are basing their practice on brain science. The science was not new to me, but it was nice to see many studies summarized together. One problem I stumbled across was their emphasis on executive function. I agree that it is important for success in school and life, but I would really liked to have seen how they saw ADHD playing into their ability to teach executive function. A child with ADHD has a brain that functions differently, and executive function is one of the area's impacted. I'm not sure I believe that it can corrected through teaching. I think it can be mitigated, but I haven't yet (I haven't explored the entire site) seen discussion on brain differences.

    tammikuu 23, 2:05 pm

    >62 Dilara86: very nice review

    >64 Dilara86: my kids did a private Montessori from ages 1-5, but really ages 3-5. They’re each different but we had a good experience. My daughter started regular public school kindergarten reading. My son did not start as a reader but still benefited. If we had had a nearby Montessori option for elementary school, we would have pursued it. (If we had stayed in town, there were options)

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 23, 2:27 pm

    >61 Dilara86:

    Yes, SO stereotypical, it's colonialism commenting on colonialism. :) I totally missed the sub-reading you propose, tho', but you are right. (Ironically, Delyle had some trouble clearing her name after the war against accusations of collaboration...)

    >64 Dilara86:

    Have you read, and does she mention, A. S. Neill of Summerhill fame? That's where my mind first goes when I think of ad lib education... but the pedigree to some of the ideas is much longer, of course. I read Summerhill as a teenager feeling deeply aggrieved that I didn't go to a school like that.

    Bruno Bettelheim's approach to teaching autistic and "difficult" children also emphasised listening to the children and fulfilling their special needs first, however bizarre. I read about his school in Chicago with great interest, not sure how much of his system survives, though.

    I never read Montessori but her ideas may have been the source for the others.

    >66 labfs39:

    I don't follow this field but in the past it's been notable that for some reason there's a great difference between US and Europe regarding childhood ADHD (statistics, diagnostics and treatment).

    tammikuu 23, 3:38 pm

    >68 LolaWalser: I don't follow this field but in the past it's been notable that for some reason there's a great difference between US and Europe regarding childhood ADHD (statistics, diagnostics and treatment).

    I think this was the case, but it is changing, perhaps as brain science offers "proof" of differences. I don't want to take over Dilara's thread, but this article has some interesting info: Is Europe Doing a Better Job of Treating ADHD Than the U.S.?

    tammikuu 23, 4:37 pm

    >69 labfs39:

    That looks to be a partisan site... just saying; they could be right about the trends, but I find the overall slant extremely off-putting. Honestly, it's not my field so I don't feel I can give useful input. But from experience with the US research and pharma relating to other stuff, not to mention the "anecdata" that comes with living in various places... I fear it's no good thing.

    tammikuu 23, 5:25 pm

    >64 Dilara86: Weve always had a montessori program along with my preschool sped class. Its interesting to me how different teachers interpret the her ideas. I liked the centers and allowing kids to make choices. But sometimes this meant a free for all; I believe children learn best through play but also need some structure, in fact they thrive on it. What boggled me is that a couple of classes did not want adults talking to children whle they were in the center and in fact the kids were encouraged to play quietly. I used to take some of my higher language kiddos there, but not in those classes, my kids needed to learn languagee,not stifle it

    That being said most parents I know who had their kids in Montessori really liked it and saw progress in their kids learning, so there we are.

    I did love having accesss to some of their materials' really interesting toys and games that really enourage kids to problem solve and imagine.

    tammikuu 23, 5:29 pm

    >66 labfs39: executive function has been a thing in our schools for several years, I know my dh who worked with older special needs kids had some structure for it. But like anything else you need to teach to the childs needs, and that isn't going to work for a lot of our kids. I think it can be modeled, rather than taught and perhaps have more meaning that way

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 23, 5:42 pm

    Also interesting how many different variations have come out of Montessori (which is based on Piaget's theroies) especially Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia. They all emphasize independence in childrens learning with differen variations

    The big new thing (within the last 5 years) is Nature Play. Started by the book the last child in the woods, it explains how important outdoor and nature activities are importants to a childs motor, cognitive and language development as well as providing opportunities for children to explore safely but with risk. Its also been found helpful for children's behavior and attention, esp for kiddos suffering from ADHD We were in the planning stages of setting up a nature playgeround at our school when they decided to close the program, but Ive seen how well this work with adult guidance (aka,not a free for all)

    tammikuu 23, 8:43 pm

    >70 LolaWalser: You're right, LW, it's a US advocacy site and an anecdotal story. It did mention some recent changes in EU policy though, which I thought interesting. I don't want to take up Dilara's thread, but if you want to discuss it more, pop by my thread or drop me a pm.

    tammikuu 24, 8:48 am

    Please stay: I don't feel like my thread's being highjacked! The conversation is interesting and on-topic.

    >67 dchaikin: Daughter's also looking at Montessori private schools for the grandbaby - they've mushroomed these last few years - but they're torn between that and supporting local state schools. I think that early years teachers generally do a good job of taking child psychology on board. It's later that things can go downhill - at least in France. And fully private schools are unregulated - we don't necessarily know how trustworthy they are.

    >68 LolaWalser: Have you read, and does she mention, A. S. Neill of Summerhill fame?
    I don't think so. I have vague recollections of a documentary on the school broadcast years ago, which I watched. It was all very 1970s :-) Speaking of which, I remember back in the early noughties (?) looking at the offsted report of Summerhill and thinking that the inspection framework was never going to be useful for it. One of the things that struck me was that the school was poorly-rated because there was no structure to the day and the children swore!

    Alvarez's main references, apart from Montessori, were Stanislas Dehaene and the Harvard center on the developing child, I think.

    More answers later...

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 24, 1:19 pm

    >71 cindydavid4: It looks like you agree with Alvarez on silence and structure! And also teaching to the child's needs...

    tammikuu 24, 3:12 pm

    >74 labfs39:, >75 Dilara86:

    It's just so complex and touchy a subject... not sure one can have a casual chat about it.

    Mainly, I'm concerned that the US has structural problems that ought to be addressed by political action first and foremost. It stands to reason that a sick society produces sick people. But the main thrust of American research is to look for magic bullets, while the overarching mentality supports seemingly limitless capitalist exploitation. This is how you get paradoxes like excellent doctors, research, and most advanced practices, at the same time as health indicators place the country below so many poorer places.

    My point is that before we talk of any illness, and especially of psychological and psychiatric conditions, we ought to have a medicine (and the larger society) that is genuinely dedicated to people's well-being, not making a buck.

    tammikuu 24, 3:55 pm

    I think this discussion has been informative; for one thing the OP is asking for feedback For another the responses have attempted to answer the question. No one here is joining this conversation to fight, at last thats what I see. In order to acheive the progress you desire, these illnesses must be made known to people so they know options. I do agree that society and medicine needs to be more dedicated to peoples well being; It would be nice if in my life time we have national health insurance. In the meantime we can chat about these topics I think

    tammikuu 26, 6:09 am

    L'archipel du goulache : aventures culinaires dans le bloc de l'Est by Florian Pinel and Jean Valnoir Simoulin, English content translated by Catherine Rossier

    Writers’ gender: male
    Writers’ nationalities: France (possibly also USA?)
    Original language: French and English
    Translated into: French
    Location: the countries that made up the USSR
    First published in 2022

    A few edifying lines from the introduction

    Je sais d’avance que certains d’entre vous ne vont pas apprécier ce livre. (…) Pas de problème, remettez vite ce bouquin sur son étagère et restez vautrés dans les confortables certitudes de vos vies étriquées. Pour les autres, retroussez vos manches et bon courage, je vous promets que les recettes en valent la peine.

    Pages 100 and 101

    This book evolved from the author’s blog - https://foodperestroika.com/ (in English).

    L‘Archipel du goulache is 1/3 travelogue, 1/3 food memoir, 1/3 cheffy show-off recipes. The author seems very contemptuous of his readers and the unfortunate people he was in contact with in his travels across the former USSR. Why say something positive or factual about a place when you can just write about all the misfortunes that befell you: touristas, racketeering, bad food, unpleasant encounters, terrible hotels…? On the food side, a lot of the inspiration comes from upmarket creative restaurants and various cookbooks. I find it a bit sad that they were not able (willing?) to find competent home cooks to make up for the alleged dearth of decent restaurants in some of the places, notably in the Caucasus. Just think of what Olia Hercules was able to do in Kaukasis. The title - a riff on Solzhenitsin‘s Gulag Archipelago - is also in poor taste. Still, the books is both reasonably informative and inspiring (or inspirational 😊). On paper, it has all the things I like in a cookbook: cultural, historical and geographical information, interesting recipes, lots of high-quality photos (although subject choices were not necessarily to my taste – too many dead animals, depressing buildings, derelict streets, etc.) The authors’ negativity, flippancy, and superiority complex wore me down however.

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 26, 7:59 am

    Requiem (Sorgarmarsinn) by Gyrðir Elíasson, translated by Catherine Eyjólfsson

    Writer’s gender: Male
    Writer’s nationality: Iceland
    Original language: Icelandic
    Translated into: French
    Location: a small village in Eastern Iceland
    First published in 2022 (French translation), 2018 (Icelandic original)

    A few lines from page 100

    En remontant à pied la côte vers la maison, je me demande si mon annonce ramènera quelque chose, ou si j’aurais dû promettre une récompense en bas de page. Quelle serait la récompense appropriée pour un carnet à la fois inestimable et sans valeur. Devrais-je peut-être allouer ma voiture en guise de récompense ? Elle est vieille, certes, et ce n’est qu’une Mitsubishi. Je coterais sans hésiter le carnet plus haut qu’elle. Au bout de quelques centaines de pas, je me retourne et vois que la caissière est sortie sur le trottoir pour lire mon annonce en entier.

    Jónas is spending some time alone in his wife’s uncle’s holiday home in a remote Icelandic village. As an amateur composer, he is hoping to fill in his notebook with new works – and he hears music in every mundane sound: a lawnmower, the hum of chest freezer, raindrops... – and also escape his previous life.

    I finished this quiet (for a book about music no less!), introspective novel yesterday, but its understated sadness is still with me.

    tammikuu 26, 9:22 am

    >79 Dilara86: that quote - a touchy author!

    >80 Dilara86: Hopefully it’s a not an unpleasant sadness. Requiem sounds like it would be a perfect book for some moods.

    tammikuu 26, 1:39 pm

    >79 Dilara86:

    A conversation piece! I do like the sound of that sundae.

    tammikuu 27, 11:47 pm

    >81 dchaikin: It is quite defensive, isn't it...

    Hopefully it’s a not an unpleasant sadness. Requiem sounds like it would be a perfect book for some moods.
    It wasn't unpleasant - to me. Obviously, it could be too close to the bone for some readers or in some situations - I agree with your remark about moods.

    >82 LolaWalser: So do I! I'd order it in a restaurant in a heartbeat. Not sure I want to spend a day in the kitchen making it, though!

    tammikuu 28, 12:10 am

    I started my first Creusois novel: Vies minuscules by Pierre Michon, an author originally from Châtelus-le-Marcheix (289 inhabitants!), halfway between Limoges and Guéret. It's about his family and the area where he grew up, so there is a strong sense of place.

    Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that the village is also a setting in La carte et le territoire (The Map and the Territory) - there is no way I am going to read that - and L'envoyée spéciale (Special Envoy), which sounds a lot more appealing, although I might regret it, seeing as I don't read spy novels, I didn't like the only Echenoz novel I read, and the envoy goes from Châtelus to North Korea, which is a risky proposition for someone like me who is a bit touchy on the whole writing about foreigners and unknown countries thing...

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 28, 7:52 am

    >84 Dilara86: The only Echenoz that I've read is 1914, and I was lukewarm about it.

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 28, 12:33 pm

    >85 labfs39: I've just looked at the summary of 1914, and it doesn't appeal. I'm still on the fence about L'envoyée spéciale, however. Especially since watching this 10-minute interview of Michon and Echenoz in Michon's family house - the one that's described in Vies minuscules and L'envoyée spéciale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u7XzLtj-28 . I also want to live there :-))

    Muokkaaja: tammikuu 29, 5:56 pm

    >79 Dilara86: That tone from the author would really annoy me. It should not take that much imagination to work out why things might be difficult when travelling in that part of the world!

    Perhaps this article will be a nice counterpoint: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-book-of-tasty-and-healthy-food/


    tammikuu 31, 2:13 am

    >87 wandering_star: Thank you, that was interesting.

    helmikuu 1, 11:45 pm

    For a place with under 300 inhabitants at any point, three novels set there seem quite an achievement.

    Minuscule lives fills me with tenderness and tears.

    helmikuu 4, 6:32 pm

    I see that you are one of the 13 LTers that own The Madwoman of Serrano. Have you read it yet? I just finished it and was impressed.

    helmikuu 11, 11:32 am

    >90 labfs39: I haven't read it. In fact, I don't even own it: I just heard about it and added it to my wishlist because it sounded interesting. The fact that you liked it is rather encouraging! I'll see if I can get hold of it :-)

    Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 3, 3:57 am

    February reads

    1. Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Gulf Poetry by various Gulf authors (started last December, finished mid-February)
    2. Daïra pour la mer by Nassuf Djailani
    3. Tâdo, Tâdo, wéé, ou « No more baby » : roman by Déwé Gorodé
    4. Fragiles by Philippe Delerm
    5. Yallah Bye a graphic novel written by Joseph Safieddine and illustrated by Kyungeun Park
    6. Z comme zombie by Iegor Gran
    7. Le guide des premiers secours by Noémie Sylberg
    8. Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meun, Le Roman de la rose by Armand Strubel
    9. La boîte de petits pois by GiedRé

    Original languages of the books I've read this month:

    • French: 8
    • English:
    • Kibushi: 1/3 of Daïra is bilingual - with poems in the original Kibushi/bushi/kibošy/shibushi (a language spoken in Mayotte with Malagasy roots) and in their French translation
    • Arabic: 1

    That's 89% English and French

  • 21st-century books: 9
  • 20th-century books:
  • 19th-century books:
  • 18th-century books:
  • 17th-century books:
  • 16th-century books:
  • Medieval books:
  • Ancient books:

    That's 100% 21st- and 20th-century

    • Number of female authors this month: 3
    • Number of male authors this month: 4
    • Mixed male/female collaborations this month: 2

  • 93Dilara86
    helmikuu 16, 3:23 am

    So, I caught the flu a couple of weeks ago and have been recovering slowly but surely. I am still sleeping 10 hours+ a night, which leaves less time for reading, but at least, my brain's back, and reasonably challenging books make sense again. I also have so many CR threads to catch up on!

    helmikuu 16, 1:26 pm

    >93 Dilara86: whoa. Glad you’re feeling a bit better.

    Muokkaaja: helmikuu 18, 9:38 am

    Fragiles de Philippe Delerm (textes) et Martine Delerm (illustrations)

    Une lecture légèrement ambivalente pour moi. J'ai bien aimé le style des illustrations : le côté onirique, les personnages un peu androgynes et "imprécis" dans lesquels on peut se projeter... Les textes étaient parfois un peu bêta, ou au contraire pas très clairs (à moins que mon état grippal et fiévreux m'ait rendu obtuse), parfois touchants.

    Muokkaaja: helmikuu 18, 11:11 am

    Daïra pour la mer by Nassuf Djailani

    Writer’s gender: Male
    Writer’s nationality: France (Mayotte)
    Original languages: French and Kibushi (a variant of Malagasy used in Mayotte)
    Translated into: N/A and French (by the author)
    Location: N/A, France, Mayotte, Comoros
    First published in 2022

    A few lines from page 100

    des moissons fertiles

    qui, lequel tu es ?

    tes rires résonnent
    daïra dans ce champ
    dans cette ville
    dans ce cœur triste

    tu n’es autre
    qu’un serviteur
    un fils
    un père qui ne compte pas
    un botaniste qui féconde
    pour une moisson des clartés

    je me souviens de cette main
    tendre sur ce visage
    brûlant de connaître.

    Éditions Bruno Doucey publish poets from all around the world and they have some big international names in their author list: Margaret Atwood, Louis-Philippe Dalembert, Vénus Koury-Ghata … to the point where I’m thinking of reading all their back catalogue.

    Djailani is Mahorais (from the Comoros island Mayotte, a French overseas département) and lives in Limoges, in Central France where he works for France 3 (a French state TV station with regional branches). He created éditions Project’îles with Jean-Luc Raharimanana, a Malagasy author whose novel Revenir I read and absolutely loved back in 2018.

    Daïra means circle in Arabic and the word is used in Mayotte for a Sufi ceremony with ritual dancing and singing (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6redS9xbCo4&t=1s ). The poems in this collection are short, moving and accomplished. Most of them are rooted in Mahorais realities. The middle section is bilingual, with the Kibushi original on the left page and the French translation on the right. All the others were written directly in French. I’ll be looking for more to read from Nassuf Djailani.

    helmikuu 20, 2:11 am

    >96 Dilara86:

    I'm glad to see you too admired Raharimanana (I only recently read a story of his).

    maaliskuu 3, 3:50 am

    >97 LolaWalser: And I'm glad you did too! He deserves to be better known! I should have chimed in on your thread, but I've fallen behind on everybody's threads and haven't had the time or the energy for anything much recently...

    maaliskuu 3, 3:52 am

    La boîte de petits-pois de GiedRé

    J'ai terminé samedi dernier La boîte de petits-pois de GiedRé, sur sa petite enfance et la vie de sa famille en Lithuanie soviétique. Le style de sa BD est tout aussi faussement enfantin et benêt que ses chansons. A la seconde page, j'étais déjà bien lassée et je doutais de tenir toute la longueur du livre. Et puis j'ai fini par m'habituer à la forme au point de ne presque plus la voir, et j'ai pu me concentrer sur le propos : l'URSS, c'était très nul et très super. Les papas et les mamans devaient toujours faire attention à ce qu'ils disaient, mais quand un adulte revenait de quelque part, il avait toujours des cadeaux et des fois, c'était même un chewing-gum et alors là, on pouvait le mâcher avant de le refiler au voisin et ainsi de suite jusqu'à ce que tous les enfants de la cour aient eu leurs minutes de mâchouillage, parce que chez nous, on savait partager. Bon, évidemment, il y a du fond sous les histoires d'enfants, mais le livre ne m'emballait que moyennement, jusqu'aux dernières pages en noir et blanc : une espèce de postface qui contextualisait le livre, qui fait le grand écart entre les souvenirs de GiedRé toute petite et les souvenirs ainsi que les points de vue de sa mère qui a souffert du système soviétique. Et tout d'un coup, le livre s'est mis à faire sens. Et finalement, j'ai plutôt aimé. Comme quoi, la contextualisation, ça a du bon !

    Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 10, 5:35 am

    March reads

    1. Le Roman de la Rose by Guillame de Lorris and Jean de Meun
    2. Connaître et protéger la petite faune urbaine by Colonel Moutarde
    3. Les hirondelles se sont envolées avant nous by Hala Mohammad
    4. Bédouin by Mohed Altrad
    5. De retour au village, a short story by Chat Kopchitti
    6. L'Héritage d'Esther by Sándor Márai
    7. Mars by Asja Bakić
    8. Delacroix by Alexandre Dumas and Catherine Meurisse
    9. Les Impératifs : Poèmes de l'ascèse, Edition bilingue by al-Maʿarrī
    10. Le Manifeste d'un Juif Libre by Théo Klein
    11. Le voyage sur les mers du prince Takaoka by Tatsuhiko Shibusawa
    12. Chevêche... aussi rouge que l'aurore by Odile Cail
    13. 300 recettes culinaires pour maigrir (par la méthode des "basses calories") by Béhotéguy de Teramond
    14. Fêtes et croyances populaires en Europe: au fil des saisons by Yvonne de Sike
    15. Cannibale by Didier Daeninckx
    16. Au pays des vermeilles by Noëlle Châtelet

    Original languages of the books I've read this month:

    • French: 10
    • English:
    • Arabic: 2
    • Hungarian: 1
    • Croatian: 1
    • Thai: 1
    • Japanese: 1

    That's 62.5% English and French

  • 21st-century books: 9
  • 20th-century books: 5
  • 19th-century books:
  • 18th-century books:
  • 17th-century books:
  • 16th-century books:
  • Medieval books: 2
  • Ancient books:

    That's 87.5% 21st- and 20th-century

    • Number of female authors this month: 8
    • Number of male authors this month: 8
    • Mixed male/female collaborations this month: 0

  • 101Dilara86
    maaliskuu 13, 5:17 am

    Les hirondelles se sont envolées avant nous by Hala Mohammad, translated by Antoine Jockey

    Writer’s gender: Female
    Writer’s nationality: Syria
    Original language: Arabic
    Translated into: French
    Location: N/A, unspecified foreign countries (to a Syrian narrator), Syria
    First published in 2021 (French version)

    A few lines from page 100

    Les gens de l’amour

    Depuis toujours l’amour traverse le chemin
    Depuis toujours il habite la coïncidence
    Comme le voyage habite le chemin.
    Le chemin s’accoutume au voyage
    Comme s’il était son passé
    En lui il grandit et avec lui l’intimité grandit.
    Depuis toujours l’amour déserte le chemin
    Comme la lune déserte le soir
    Comme le jour déserte le jour
    Et le lendemain déserte le lendemain.

    Hala Mohammad is a Syrian poet and documentary maker. She’s been living in France since 2011. She is well-known in Arabic countries, less so in Western countries, but Editions Bruno Doucey (I love them!) published two of her poetry collections, including Les hirondelles se sont envolées avant nous, in bilingual Arabic/French form. It deals mostly with exile, in a wistful, sad, subdued tone. The French version was a pleasure to read. I don’t know how accurate it was, but I appreciated its elegance and seamlessness. I’ll be looking for more poetry by Hala Mohammad and more translations by Antoine Jockey.

    maaliskuu 13, 6:52 am

    The Persian New Year and spring festival Nowruz is on the 20th this year.
    Nowruz e Jamshid: a song based on lines from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz2Hcqo9ong
    The video's aesthetics are not to my taste, but others might enjoy it and the song's interesting...

    maaliskuu 13, 10:48 am

    I've just read De retour au village, written by Thai author Chat Kopchitti and translated by Louise Pichard-Bertaux. This a short story is available online : https://journals.openedition.org/ideo/196
    It's very short, the translation reads OK but is a bit wooden. Beggars can't be choosers, I suppose. The dearth of translations from Thai into either French or English saddens me. It's not as if Thailand doesn't have a literature!

    maaliskuu 14, 7:00 am

    >103 Dilara86: I had never thought about it, but you're right, there are not that many books translated from Thai to French. I wonder why.
    I've read De retour au village thanks to your link.It's nice and unexpected. How did you come across this short story?

    Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 14, 7:30 am

    >104 raton-liseur: My theory is that as Thailand was not colonised by a Western country, it's not as much on the Western cultural radar as former colonies.

    I was researching Thai literature (we're doing Thailand next month for Food and Lit on Litsy) on Wikipedia, and the link to this short story was on the author's page :-)

    maaliskuu 14, 9:15 am

    I highly recommend Bangkok Wakes to Rain - I am sure you have come across that in your research - although written in English, it really evokes Bangkok for me. Another book in English by a Thai/US writer is Sightseeing.

    There is a Bangkok-based publisher, River Books, which publishes in both Thai and in English translation - here is the fiction page of their catalogue. https://riverbooksbk.com/index.php/books/fiction.html

    maaliskuu 15, 9:58 am

    >106 wandering_star: That makes sense. Now, I am eager to see what you will read for your Litsy month, Thaïland is a country I have so rarely paper-visited!
    I have only Venin by Saneh Sangsuk (not sure it's available in English) in my global reading list, and I think I read that one based on a review you wrote about it!

    maaliskuu 15, 12:57 pm

    >106 wandering_star: Thank you for the recs. Bangkok Wakes to Rain was in my wishlist, probably thanks to your thread :-) I've added Sightseeing too. River Books sounds fantastic!

    >107 raton-liseur: If I can easily get my hands on one of the books recommended by wandering_star, I'll read them. Les nobles by Dokmaï Sot also appealed to me, but I'd have to buy it.

    Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 16, 8:59 am

    I've finished Badawi by Mohed Altrad. My copy's titled Bédouin because it is a special France Loisirs book club edition and they clearly didn't trust their customers would pick it up with its original title. *sigh*
    I hadn't heard of Altrad before, but it looks like he is a self-made billionaire businessman. He was born to a young repudiated woman in a poor Bedouin community in Syria, was abandoned by his father and brought up by his uncaring maternal grandmother. The novel is his fictionalised autobiography. It's the usual rags-to-riches story: a young, bullied, unloved boy from a poor and denigrated community works hard at school, wins a scholarship, makes a place for himself against all odds. I'm not sure why Actes Sud published it - they usually go for more polished stuff. The book was on my Unread shelves (it originally belonged to my late mother), it fit this month's Syrian theme, and it was quick read.

    maaliskuu 17, 2:06 am

    I've managed to finish another short novel: L'héritage d'Esther (Esther's Inheritance) by Hungarian writer Sándor Márai, about a middle-aged spinster and her family being manipulated into giving all their assets to a charming sociopath. It was an excruciating read (because of its bleak subject matter, not because it was badly written). The translation by Georges Kassai and Zéno Bianu was slightly clunky and the psychology felt superficial at times. I am not sure Márai is for me.

    Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:58 am

    Delacroix by Alexandre Dumas and Catherine Meurisse

    Authors’ genders: 1 male, 1 female
    Authors’ nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: France, mostly Paris
    First published in 2019

    Pages 96-97

    La mort de Sardanapale / Death of Sardanapalus

    Graphic artist Catherine Meurisse had the great idea of turning Alexandre Dumas's 1864 eulogy of Delacroix into a graphic non-fiction book. Some readers hate her take on Delacroix's masterpieces - I like it. I like the way she digested Delacroix’s paintings and made them her own, while still keeping them wholly recognisable as Delacroixs, full of life, colour and movement. I like her use of watercolours, the mixing of high art and caricature… and the way all the things I don’t enjoy in Delacroix – the orientalism, the sadism… – almost disappear from the pages, as she focusses on composition and colour. Alexandre Dumas’s text was well worth exhuming. He knew Delacroix personally and really brings him to life (no pun intended). It also gave me better understanding of the way the Romantics vs Classicists quarrel played out in France.

    maaliskuu 18, 4:01 am

    That looks good although I miss Liberté's naked bosom.

    I skimmed through Delacroix's journal the other day--he noted when he banged his models etc. Not sure why it shocked me; but it did.

    maaliskuu 18, 1:54 pm

    >112 LolaWalser: That looks good although I miss Liberté's naked bosom.
    LOL Each to their own: I can't say I miss it myself :-D It always felt a bit gratuitous to me, although to be fair, Delacroix is an equal opportunities fan service provider, looking at the number of naked male bodies contorting on his paintings.

    I skimmed through Delacroix's journal the other day--he noted when he banged his models etc. Not sure why it shocked me; but it did.
    I would have reacted like you, I think. By the way, Dumas mentions the mistresses in passing. Clearly, that to him was a redeeming feature to what he though was an otherwise staid and boring life. I rolled my eyes hard at that point!

    maaliskuu 18, 4:41 pm

    >113 Dilara86:

    The way I think about it, as a symbol of freedom there's no need for any clothes. Delacroix didn't have the surrealist imagination to represent freedom with, say, a cipher or a slice of watermelon, but freedom uncovered is indubitably freer than freedom covered.

    I know there's a huge discussion to be had around the female nude in art, but I hate that we should all become prudes because of leering men.

    Artists & models... the one I can't get over (and just this morning I noticed glancingly he's in the news again up on The Guardian--illustrated by a painting of his 12-year old Tahitian "bride") is Gauguin, that unspeakable slime.

    maaliskuu 19, 7:15 am

    >113 Dilara86: I think I have the same feeling as Dilara, feeling the naked breast as being a bit gratuitous, but I see >114 LolaWalser:'s point. I like this painting and the allegory of Freedom, but more for her fierce look than for her breast.

    >114 LolaWalser: And I must admit I love Gauguin's painting. The man had many flaws to say the least, but there is something in his painting that moves me.

    maaliskuu 19, 9:18 am

    Before I forget, I've discovered a very promising publisher this morning: https://www.editionszoe.ch/collections/classiques-du-monde

    huhtikuu 7, 1:41 am

    Le voyage sur les mers du prince Takaoka by Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, translated by Patrick Honnoré

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: Japan
    Original language: Japanese
    Translated into: French
    Location: everywhere in South-East Asia
    First published in 1987

    A few lines from page 100

    C’est très facile. Nous sommes ici sur le golfe du Bengale, dans le royaume d’Arakan. Le territoire du royaume est formé d’une longue bande côtière, limitée à l’arrière par une chaîne montagneuse orientée nord-sud. De l’autre côté des montagnes, l’État des Pyu et le royaume de Nanzhao sont en guerre permanente mais Arakan échappe aux effets pernicieux des troubles. Disons avec assurance que depuis la fondation du royaume par le roi Chandra il a cinq cents ans, Arakan n’a jamais été soumis, ni aux Pyu ni à Nanzhao, préservant ainsi son identité culturelle.

    Shibusawa Tatsuhiko was a writer, art critic and translator. He was a friend of Mishima and translated Sade, Genet and Bataille into French. This is last novel before his death from cancer in 1987.
    This was a great random(-ish) find! Inspired by past travelers' memoirs and Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West, this is the story of a 10th-century Japanese prince/monk's adventures as he travels all over South-East Asia hoping to reach India. He meets many strange beasts and people, including a dog-headed man and a talking dugong. And then, illness/old age strikes. Will he ever make to India, and how? I did not see the final twist coming!
    Let’s deal with a couple of minor (to me – maybe not to others) negatives first. The impression I get is that it might have been first translated by a non-native and then tidied up by the French translator, who lost his concentration now and then. Also, the description of (trigger warning) what amounts to child molestation, however fondly remembered it was by the now-adult character made me unconfortable.
    Having said that, the book was both fun and instructive and I liked the way it played with the tropes of folktales, travellers’ tall tales, Buddhist texts and old-fashioned academic writing. I feel I have a slightly better grasp of the culture, history and geography of South-East Asia since I had to look up many many place names (typically because historical names I hadn’t come across before were favoured over contemporary ones, for obvious reasons) and literary works, as the narrator kept referencing other books. To be clear, the novel stands on its own as a fantasy adventure story: it is entirely readable without that background knowledge – I just like to research stuff.
    One of my favourite reads so far this year.

    Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 7, 6:35 am

    Cannibale by Didier Daeninckx

    Writer’s gender: Male
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Paris, Nouvelle-Calédonie
    First published in 1998

    A few lines from page 100

    Tous les crocodiles du marigot étaient morts. Le cirque Höffner voulait bien nous prêter les siens, mais seulement en échange d’autant de Canaques*…
    Des coups de sifflet ont retenti, couvrant le brouhaha qui s’élevait au-dessus du fleuve des visiteurs. Je me suis penché à la fenêtre pour apercevoir une dizaine de policiers qui prenaient position autour du bâtiment tandis que plusieurs autres s’apprêtaient à y entrer de force.

    * This spelling conveys the contempt the zoo manager feels towards the Kanak. Most of the book is written from the POV of the Kanak character, and uses the non-controversial spelling of “Kanak”.

    In my endeavour to read books from all regions of France, including overseas ones, I picked up this novella at the Emmaüs charity shop because I remembered that in (Tâdo, Tâdo, wéé, ou « No more baby » : roman, New-Caledonian writer Déwé Gorodé mentioned Daeninckx as one of “the good’uns”. Non-local authors are never my first choice when I want to read a book set in a given place (Nouvelle-Calédonie in this instance), but this one looked like it could be worth reading.
    As it turns out, most of the action takes place in Paris anyway, but the main character is Kanak. The narrator of Cannibale is an old Kanak man in present-day Nouvelle-Calédonie. He is stopped by two young independence fighters manning a road block and decides to tell them about his time in a human zoo at the 1931 Paris World Fair – and crucially, how the Kanak were treated, and how he escaped from it to try and find his sweetheart, sent with part of the Kanak group to a German circus in exchange for crocodiles!
    It gives a good sense of the racism but also of the multiculturalism of Paris in the thirties and deftly highlights the fact that human zoos and colonialism were controversial at the time (the Surrealists’ pamphlet against the World exhibition is mentioned, for example) without veering into White Saviour territory.
    There were however far too many uninteresting (to me!) pages dedicated to navigating the Parisian public transport system and streets, with no descriptions, just street and metro station names (which by the way felt out of character coming from a narrator who can’t read and doesn’t know the place). It reminded me of the extended family meals of my childhood, with endless discussions on how to get from A to B in Paris. It beat arguing about politics, I suppose…
    The book is short and somewhat unsatisfying, but it is – I think – sensitively written and interesting, if not as engaging as it could have been.

    huhtikuu 10, 3:51 am

    March Food and Lit - Syria

    A good month for Food and Lit!

    I didn't want to cook anything too time-consuming and most recipes I found were quite long and fiddly (kebbe!), or were a bad choice for a family meal because of their sweet and sour profile, which my dad doesn't like. In the end, I made a Syrian beef, carrot, pea and tomato stew (Bazalia ou Ruz). We ate bulghur with it, then cardamom-flavoured yogurt with dried apricot & pistachios in orange blossom water. Not mind-blowing, but nice and safe. The book I paired this meal with was the Luzumiyat (Les Impératifs : poèmes de l'ascèse) by Al-Ma'arri the Syrian medieval poet who lived off lentils, bread and dates, and is having a bit of a moment right now thanks to his “vegan poem“, something I didn't know (or had forgotten) when I took the photo. The optics are not great.

    I also read Les hirondelles se sont envolées avant nous, a poetry collection by Hala Mohammad >101 Dilara86: and Bédouin (Badawi: A Novel) an autofiction by Mohed Altrad >109 Dilara86:.

    Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 10, 5:20 am

    Les impératifs : poèmes de l’ascèse by al-Maʿarrī, translated by Hoa-Hoï Vuong and Patrick Mégarbané

    Writer’s gender: Male
    Writer’s nationality: Was born and lived in Maʿarrī (Maarat al-Numan/Arra/Marre/al-maarri, etc.), in what is now Syria (then the Emirate of Aleppo)
    Original language: Arabic
    Translated into: French
    Location: N/A, Maarri
    This version was first published in 2009; the original was written in the 11th century.

    A few lines from page 100

    Il se peut que ce monde ait l’étoffe des songes,
    Qu’il inverse nos vies et tisse des mensonges.
    Il se peut que l’œil pleure en rêve, alors que veille
    La joie, il se pourrait qu’on rie dans le sommeil
    Sans savoir de des pleurs se répandent sur soi.
    Notre esprit s’impatiente à chaque fois qu’il ploie ;
    C’est qu’il hait la patience et n’en fait qu’à sa tête.
    Parti de bon matin, tel chasseur gratifié
    D’un faucon à l’épaule ou d’un bel épervier
    S’en revient seul, assassiné par les alouettes.

    Les musulmans sont dans l’erreur,
    Les chrétiens ont fait fausse route,
    Les juifs demeurent dans le doute,
    Le mazdéisme n’est qu’un leurre.

    Les humains sont de deux espèces :
    L’homme de raison qui délaisse
    Toute forme de confession
    Et l’esprit religieux qui laisse
    Derrière lui toute raison.

    I realised a bit late that I had already read another version of this book in 2019, under the title Les Rets d’éternité, translated by famous Syrian poet Adonis (although I’d have to check whether it contains the full work, or just a selection of poems – I seem to remember it was quite short). The translation choices are so different, it feels like they are distinct works. This version is strictly rhymed, which sometimes reads well, but sometimes veers into the ridiculous. On the whole, I prefer Adonis’s more modern-sounding translations. But this version has extensive footnotes and a serious introduction, which Rets d’éternité lacked, and which I think are useful for a work of this type – medieval and with historical ramifications.

    Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 5:37 am

    April reads

    1. Le Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meung (started in March, finished in April)
    2. Le golfe et le fleuve: poèmes by Badr Châker as Sayyâb
    3. Women & Power: A Manifesto (updated) by Mary Beard
    4. I am not your negro by James Baldwin
    5. Les lauriers de la montagne by Pierre II Petrović-Njegoš
    6. Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad (my first adult audiobook!) (ongoing)
    7. Les gratitudes by Delphine de Vigan
    8. Halabeoji by Martine Prost
    9. Fuir by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
    10. Parfum de pluie sur les Balkans by Gordana Kuić (unfinished)
    11. Nom by Constance Debré
    12. Notre âme ne peut pas mourir by Taras Chevtchenko
    13. Photo de groupe au bord du fleuve : roman by Emmanuel Dongala (unfinished for now)
    14. The Charter of Makkah by Conference on the “Charter of Makkah”

    Original languages of the books I've read this month:

    • French: 5
    • English: 3
    • Arabic: 1
    • Serbian: 2 (the title page of Les lauriers de la montagne gives its original title as Serbian)
    • Ukrainian: 1
    • Multilingual (Arabic, English, German, Spanish, Swedish...)

    That's xx% English and French

  • 21st-century books: 8
  • 20th-century books: 3
  • 19th-century books: 2
  • 18th-century books:
  • 17th-century books:
  • 16th-century books:
  • Medieval books: 1
  • Ancient books:

    That's 78% 21st- and 20th-century

    • Number of female authors this month: 5
    • Number of male authors this month: 8 or 9
    • Mixed male/female collaborations this month: possibly 1

  • 122Dilara86
    huhtikuu 11, 11:22 am

    My thoughts about the first quarter of 2023

    I read a decent number of books (37), but many of those were graphic works, short novels and poetry collections, so I probably spent less time reading than usual (flu + work + guests). I did however finish all my books, which is unusual but can be explained by the shortness of the books I didn't enjoy very much.

    My favourite reads were:
    Le voyage sur les mers du prince Takaoka by Tatsuhiko Shibusawa >117 Dilara86:
    Arrête avec tes mensonges by Philippe Besson >62 Dilara86:

    Nothing mind-blowing on the non-fiction side.

    The only book I felt was a complete waste of time was Meurtres à la Pomme d'or by Michèle Barrière. I would have give given up on it but as it was a Book Club pick, I soldiered on.

    The longest and most challenging read of this quarter was the buddy read of Le roman de la rose I did with dchaikin. It was enlightening and fun, although some parts were more enjoyable than others. I intend to read Christine de Pisan's letters about it.

    I read 3 books that had been on my shelves for more than a year.
    I read 1 Nobel prize winner I hadn't read before: Henrik Pontoppidan.
    I read just 1 book for my Creuse challenge.

    Apart from 2 medieval works, everything else was written in the 21st and 20th centuries, which amounts to 95%.

    Female authors: 41%
    Male authors: 49%
    Joint male/female authorship: 10%

    I read mostly books originally written in French (24), then 4 in Arabic, 2 in English, and 1 of each for Thai, Japanese, Hungarian, Croatian, Chinese, Icelandic, Swedish, Danish and Spanish. Plus a poetry collection of which 1/3 was originally in Kibushi.

    huhtikuu 11, 12:01 pm

    >120 Dilara86:

    I like the cut of Ma'arri's jib!

    huhtikuu 12, 3:36 am

    >123 LolaWalser: Ah yes! Just for the sake of clarity, I should maybe add that Ma'arri doesn't come across as atheist in his poetry, but he is evidently not fond of organised religion.

    Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 13, 1:14 am

    Halabeoji by Martine Prost

    Writer’s gender: female
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Korea, and in particular, Jeonju, where the future husband’s family live
    First published in 2015

    This short book (90 pages!) leapt at me from a library shelf. It is an account of Martine Prost’s “induction” into her Korean husband’s family, and of the pivotal role its dour patriarch – the halabeoji (grandfather) of the title – played in it. Martine Prost is a French academic (or was – she is retired now) specialising in Korea and Korean, as is obvious from the various linguistic explanations that pepper the text. Her future husband introduced her and asked for Halabeoji’s blessing in the “ancestral way”, as she felt that foregoing traditions would cut him off from his family and he would live to regret it because “Korean men grow nostalgic with age”. What she describes happened in the early eighties, but it could have been a century earlier. Prost writes engagingly and she has a lot of interesting things to say. She likes to over-analyse things and she finds a lot of cultural causations that look like simple correlations to me. However, her love for her husband and family-in-law shines through, and that makes up for the irritating generalisations and essentialising.

    Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 16, 7:50 am

    Les gratitudes (Gratitude by Delphine by Vigan

    Writer’s gender: female
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Paris
    First published in 2019

    A few lines from page 99

    - Tu sais, quand même, il se passe quelque chose de grave, ici. Très grave. Dans les toilettes de dessous. Il faut que tu ailles voir. Moi je n’y vais plus d’un pied, parce que je sais très bien où ils veulent en venir.
    - De quoi tu me parles, Michk’, tu veux dire les toilettes du rez-de-chaussée ?
    - Oui, près du ref… de la s… stable à manger… tu regarderas, en haut de la porte, il y a un… une sorte de… chose blanche… qui lance un… pshiiiiit, comme ça, à chaque fois qu’on entre dedans. Je vais te le dire : ils nous gazent.
    - -Mais non, Michk’, c’est un diffuseur de parfum d’ambiance.
    - -L’ambiance n’est pas torrible, crois-moi. Et ce n’est pas le parfum qui va la réchanter. Va voir, quand tu repartiras.

    This is my real-life book club’s choice for the month. One of the members asked ChatGPT for unusual book titles not in standard bestseller lists. AI came up with a list of 10 bestsellers that don’t seem so very original to me, and in fact, most of us had read at least a couple of them.

    Les gratitudes by Delphine de Vigan
    L'enfant qui mesurait le monde by Metin Arditi
    Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes
    Le gang des rêves by Luca Di Fulvio
    La part des flammes by Gaëlle Nohant
    La vraie vie d'Adeline Dieudonné
    La horde du contrevent by Alain Damasio
    L'élégance des veuves by Alice Ferney
    Le cœur battant de nos mères by Brit Bennett
    L'amie prodigieuse Elena Ferrante

    We went with Les gratitudes, a lovely book centered on an elderly Holocaust survivor – Michèle, nicknamed Michka – slowly losing her battle against dementia, her protégée Marie – her surrogate granddaughter of sorts –, and the retirement home’s speech therapist, Jérôme. It’s a book about the loss of language and memories, but also about looking for others, doing the right thing and creating non-blood families. Heartstrings are pulled, but Michka’s diminishing grasp on language was handled with humour and a light, clever touch. I didn’t feel manipulated. The ending, however, was disappointing. It felt rushed, pat and unnecessary.

    huhtikuu 14, 7:25 am

    >125 Dilara86: Unfortunately this doesn't seem to have been translated to English.

    >126 Dilara86: You almost had me with this one, until I reached your last line. I like books about memory, both individual and collective.

    huhtikuu 14, 9:32 am

    >127 labfs39: Gratitude is a quick, easy read (at least in French, but there's no reason why it would be different in English if the translator did their job properly). If the themes interest you, I'd say go for it! You can always pretend the last 26 pages don't exist ;-) (or you might not share my opinion about them)

    huhtikuu 14, 9:53 am

    >128 Dilara86: So, I couldn't help myself. I've just had a look at the English translation on scribd and I like it. The translator did a terrific job. The English feels very natural and the tone is spot-on. George Miller clearly knows what he is doing.

    huhtikuu 14, 11:49 am

    >129 Dilara86: If I were ambitious, I would read it in French. Alas, I'll probably just look for the translation. Sounds like a god one though.

    huhtikuu 14, 12:13 pm

    >130 labfs39: I'd advise reading the translation over slaving over the original anyway! It has an easy, conversational style that's great for unconfident native readers, but could prove challenging to learners. And that's not taking into account the fact that the old lady gets more and more words wrong as dementia develops. Looking up words that don't exist or are misused would be frustrating I think...

    huhtikuu 14, 10:01 pm

    >131 Dilara86: Ah, that does sound like it would be difficult for me to read in French, and to translate. I'm curious as to how the translator handled the fictitious words, for instance. Interesting.

    Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 16, 7:48 am

    >132 labfs39: That was my main reason for checking the English translation! It helps that the French and English languages work in similar ways, as far as vocabulary and syntax are concerned. Usually, Michka substitutes a letter or a word ending with another. Or she uses a word that sounds close to the one she actually needs. Often, they function like freudian slips and express something about her fears and feelings. One recurring mistake she makes is that she says "merdi" instead of "merci". "Merci" means "thank you", "merdi" is one letter away from "merde" - "shit". In the English version, she says "tank you".

    huhtikuu 16, 8:46 am

    Nom by Constance Debré

    Writer’s gender: female (possibly queer – feminine agreement on adjectives but sometimes, a masculine noun rears its head when I would have expected a feminine one)
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Paris, Touraine
    First published in 2022

    A few lines from page 100

    Quand elle vient à Paris, ma grand-mère du côté de ma mère descend au Lutetia ou au Meurice. On va la voir comme on irait à une audience. Elle vient une ou deux fois par an. Elle quitte les Landes pour une exposition de chiens ou ses affaires. Elle et ma mère se parlent en anglais au téléphone. Pour ne pas être comprises des domestiques ou du service des écoutes quelque part. On parle anglais dans ces familles, même sans quitter les châteaux.

    Constance Debré comes from a long line of high-flying civil servants. Her maternal grandfather was an aristocrat with fascist leanings who served as minister during Vichy but escaped execution after the war because he had helped people cross the Pyrenees to flee occupied France (he was caught and sent to a prisoners’ camp). Her paternal grandfather was Michel Debré, who was amongst other things a member of the Académie Française and De Gaulle’s justice minister and prime minister. She is the daughter of war journalist François Debré. She was following her grandfathers’ footsteps as a barrister when, in her forties, she chucked it all in, divorced, left her son, became a lesbian and shaved her head. In Nom, she tells us what led her to do it, how dysfunctional her family is (they’re all alcoholics and drug addicts), and how much she hates her milieu, the bourgeoisie and the concept of family, all in a stream-of-consciousness style. It feels very much like a teenager’s rebellion – furious, accusatory and self-contradictory – although some of the things she tells do deserve her fury. Her diatribes against the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy sometimes feel like love letters, and I’m not sure she realises how lucky she is to have her connections and education. For example, her self-professed tramp’s lifestyle is only possible because she knows people in Paris with spare bedrooms – ie, well-off people. She comes across as a neglected but spoilt teenager, and at this point in my life, I don’t have much patience for it, personally. I can see however how her direct, energetic style could appeal to others.

    huhtikuu 16, 8:47 am

    >133 Dilara86: That is interesting. I'm more and more intrigued. Onto the wishlist it goes.

    huhtikuu 16, 1:59 pm

    she knows people in Paris with spare bedrooms – ie, well-off people.

    What, no couch-surfing?

    This would be fascinating in the 1950s or 60s even, but if she was 20ish around 2000 I see no excuse for such late self-discovery. Fgs, she HAD INTERNET.

    huhtikuu 16, 6:43 pm

    >126 Dilara86: Lucky you did not choose Vernon Subutex you might still be reading it.

    >134 Dilara86: Something I have noticed about French authors is that so many of them come from a family of writers/professors etc

    Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 5:17 am

    I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since my last post!

    I really want to answer >137 baswood: but I need more mental bandwidth than what I have right now. So, for now, I'll just try and list all the books I read these last few weeks, starting with filling in >121 Dilara86:

    Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 5:52 am

    May reads

    1. Le débat sur le Roman de la Rose by Christine de Pizan, Jean de Montreuil, Jean Gerson and Pierre Col, introduced and translated by Virginie Greene
    2. Moi le suprême by Augusto Roa Bastos
    3. Les Sculpteurs de lumière: une aventure de Broussaille by Frank and Bom
    4. La Nuit du chat: une aventure de Broussaille by Frank and Bom
    5. De la petite taupe qui voulait savoir qui lui avait fait sur la tête by Werner Holzwarth
    6. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan
    7. Contre l'art: (les carnets) by Tomas Espedal
    8. The mums' book : for the mum who's best at everything by Alison Maloney
    9. Je Comprends Tout ! : arbre by Dorling Kindersley
    10. Way Down Deep by Patricia Demuth
    11. Le bel otage by Zayd Muti'Dammaj
    12. L'Arabe du futur - Volume 6 by Riad Sattouf
    13. La prophétie du tatou by Zerocalcare
    14. Les Nobles by Dokmaï Sot

    Original languages of the books I've read this month:

    • French: 4
    • English: 4
    • Spanish: 1
    • German: 1
    • Norwegian: 1
    • Arabic: 1
    • Italian: 1
    • Thai: 1

    That's 57% English and French

  • 21st-century books: 5
  • 20th-century books: 8
  • 19th-century books:
  • 18th-century books:
  • 17th-century books:
  • 16th-century books:
  • Medieval books: 1
  • Ancient books:

    That's 93% 21st- and 20th-century

    • Number of female authors this month: 4
    • Number of male authors this month: 8
    • Mixed male/female collaborations this month: 2

  • 140Dilara86
    Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 5, 11:10 am

    June reads

    1. The Mirror of My Heart: A Thousand Years of Persian Poetry by Women collected and translated by Dick Davis
    2. Le patriarcat des objets: Pourquoi le monde ne convient pas aux femmes by Rebekka Endler
    3. Pays frontière: roman by Emil Tode
    4. The Jungle Omnibus by Ruskin Bond
    5. Le Moine noir d’après Tchekhov ; suivi de la nouvelle originale by Kirill Serebrennikov and Chekhov
    6. Colostrum by Elia Malika
    7. Poèmes anciens ou retrouvés by Constantin Cavafis
    8. Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington
    9. Moi les hommes, je les déteste by Pauline Harmange
    10. Du bon usage des arbres: Un plaidoyer à l'attention des élus et des énarques by Francis Hallé
    11. Carpe diem : l'art du bonheur selon les poètes de la Renaissance, collected and introduced by Elsa Marpeau
    12. À la source, la nuit by Seymus Dagtekin
    13. La parole est d'or : séances et stations d'un poète itinérant by Badīʿ al-Zamān al-Hamad̲hānī
    14. Mots de cuisine : Tome 2 - Préparations et ingrédients by Emmanuelle Maisonneuve and Jean-Claude Renard, illustrated by Virginie Duquenoÿ
    15. Je chante et la montagne danse by Irene Solà
    16. Son Excellence : le comte d'Abranhos by José Maria Eça de Queirós
    17. Damas, saveurs d'une ville by Marie Fadel and Rafik Schami, illustrated by Stéphanie Buttier
    18. Le merveilleux chef-d'oeuvre de Séraphin by Philippe Fix
    19. La chair est triste hélas by Ovidie

    Original languages of the books I've read this month:

    • French: 8
    • English: 2
    • Persian: 1
    • Estonian: 1
    • Russian: 1
    • Greek: 1
    • Arabic: 1
    • Catalan: 1
    • Portuguese: 1
    • German: 2

    That's 53% English and French

  • 21st-century books: 10
  • 20th-century books: 5
  • 19th-century books: 1
  • 18th-century books:
  • 17th-century books:
  • 16th-century books:
  • Medieval books: 1
  • Ancient books:
  • Mixed: 2 (but the anthologies were published in the 21st century)

    That's 79% 21st- and 20th-century

    • Number of female authors this month: 7
    • Number of male authors this month: 9
    • Mixed male/female collaborations this month: 3

  • 141Dilara86
    kesäkuu 8, 8:38 am

    Food and Lit

    April: Thailand

    I am about halfway-through the audiobook of Bangkok Wakes to Rain. Progress is slow because I am not too fond of the narrator, but I'll get there in the end.
    I also read Les Nobles, which I managed to find second-hand. I learned a lot from it.

    I made a half-arsed attempt at a Thai-inspired stir-fry (no picture) to capitalise on Fresh Bamboo-shoot Season, but now that the people selling herbs in my local market are back and have a decent choice again, I'll make something more serious and authentic hopefully.

    May: Paraguay

    I read Moi, le suprême (I, the Supreme), which was a bit of a chore :-D

    I am yet to cook a Paraguyan dish. The overwhelming majority of savoury recipes contain cheese, which I hate! Others require specialist ingredients - nothing I can't get with a bit of forethinking, but my brain's not cooperating. Incidently, I found a stew recipe that it is exactly the same recipe as githeri, the Kenyan dish I made last year: https://www.librarything.com/topic/338000#7933887

    June: Australia

    I started Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence this morning.

    Not sure what I'll cook for Australia. Other half's lobbying for barbecue, but that seems generic and a bit of a cop-out, unless there is a specifically Australian way of doing it. Also, we got rid of our barbecue when we moved to a flat, so we'd have to convince a friend to host us, or find a public barbecue in a park that has them.

    kesäkuu 8, 12:18 pm


    Do you hate cheese in cooking, or *whisper* you really hate CHEESE?

    (I, the Supreme), which was a bit of a chore

    Amen. It makes me feel like a bad person (this is the sort of book for which people get exiled and worse), but, I don't know... it read like another one of those IMO over-long satires where the biggest thing is the tone. A good vent but nothing much happens.

    kesäkuu 9, 3:34 am

    >142 LolaWalser: Do you hate cheese in cooking, or *whisper* you really hate CHEESE?
    So let's define "cheese" first. There are fresh cheeses - Boursin, Philadelphia, cottage cheese, etc. - but these, as my mum used to say, Are Not Real Cheeses. I eat those. I can also have mozzarella on a pizza, as long as there's not an inch of it. And then, there are Proper Cheeses, that is, fermented cheeses. I have never found one that doesn't bring tears of disgust to my eyes. Sorry :-$

    Amen. It makes me feel like a bad person (this is the sort of book for which people get exiled and worse), but, I don't know... it read like another one of those IMO over-long satires where the biggest thing is the tone. A good vent but nothing much happens.
    Yes. It was frustrating because I could not find my way into most of the humour that I sensed was there. This was a book written for insiders - readers with a good grasp of Paraguayan culture and history (and preferably fluent in Spanish and Guarani). We do need books like this - that do not cater to Western readers -, but a companion reading guide would have been handy (although it would probably have turned the experience into even more of a slog).
    I chose this book after reading a bit about the history of Paraguay and learning that it was ruled for a bit by a "Rousseauist dictator" (the book's "Supreme"), which piqued my curiosity. I went in hoping to gain historical knowledge and understanding, but this is not the kind of novel that allows this. If anything, it works the other way round: historical knowledge and understanding are prerequisites to fully enjoy the book.

    kesäkuu 9, 9:25 pm

    >143 Dilara86:

    oh that's an adorably weird cheese preference! I imagine you must be sick to the teeth explaining it though. :)

    Yes, I understood that Roa Bastos' dictator book is the one to end all dictator books, but although one gets the general point, much that makes it truly interesting remains out of the reach to the casual reader.

    Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 13, 7:19 am

    Du bon usage des arbres: Un plaidoyer à l'attention des élus et des énarques by Francis Hallé

    Writer’s gender: Male
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: N/A but in effect, the temperate Western hemisphere with a focus on France
    First published in 2011

    A few lines from pages 35-36

    Dans le même temps, on les plante trop près des façades, on les soumet à des tailles extraordinairement brutales, on les contraint à se suffire de pauvres sols de gravats encombrés de canalisations, d’anciennes fondations et de câbles souterrains, on les prive d’eau en les entourant d’une couche d’asphalte imperméable, on les asperge de sel en hiver et on les environne en permanence, eux qui ne peuvent s’enfuir, de gaz d’échappement toxiques.
    C’est simple : nous ignorons ce dont ils ont besoin et nous profitons de leur silence qui les empêche de protester ; du reste peut-être vaut-il mieux qu’ils ne parlent pas car, j’en suis convaincu, ce qu’ils ont à dire de nous serait désagréable à entendre !
    Paradoxe : nous les méconnaissons, nous les brutalisons, mais nous les aimons bien pourtant.

    On paper, this short book is aimed at “élus“ (elected officials) and “énarques“ (senior civil servants who studied at an elite postgrad school called ENA), but that’s a rhetorical device. The content is engaging and interesting to the general public, and therefore useful to win over public opinion, but there is nothing specifically helpful to officials involved in urban planning.
    Also, the rant-to-useful-information ratio could be better, especially if the author would like the aforementioned officials to pay attention, but the book is short, its points about the use of trees in urban areas seem sound to me (a non-specialist) and I can see that they are being put into practice where I live. This book was published in 2011, and I feel most of its recommendations are uncontroversial now, in particular:
    Don't isolate trees;
    Don't plant them too close to houses & roads;
    But do plant them because they help regulate temperatures & tempers;
    Don't tarmac around their trunks;
    Don't get rid of old trees, even to replace them with younger trees because they are not as efficient as older, settled specimens;
    Tree planting holes need to be deep and wide to make it easier for roots to spread, so that the tree doesn't topple at the first big storm;

    kesäkuu 13, 9:17 am

    Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington, also called Nugi Garimara

    Writer’s gender: Female
    Writer’s nationality: Australia
    Original language: English (peppered with Mardujara words, explained in a glossary at the end of the book)
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Western Australia
    First published in 1996

    A few lines from page 100

    The three sisters checked to make sure they hadn’t missed anything then, when they were absolutely satisfied, Molly grabbed the galvanised bucket and ordered Gracie to get hold of the other side and walk quickly trying not to spill the contents as they made their way to the lavatories. Daisy waited under the large pine tree near the stables. She reached up and broke a small twig that was hanging down low and was examining it closely when the other two joined her.
    “Look, Dgudu, like grass indi?” asked Daisy, passing the twig to Molly to feel.
    “Youay,” she said, as she gave it to Gracie who crushed the green pine needles into her small hands and sniffed them. She liked the smell and was about to give her opinion when Molly reminded them that they didn’t have time to stand around examining pine needles.
    “Come on, run, you two,” she said sharply as she started to run towards the river.
    Many young people had stood under the same big pine tree and waited while someone went into the stable or the garage to distract Maitland, the caretaker and stableman. Then they would give the signal that the coast was clear and everyone would dash into the grainary and fill their empty fruit tins with wheat from one of the opened bags at the back of the shed. Some of it was roasted on flat tins over the hot coals, the rest was saved to fill initials that had been dug into the sloping embankment of firm yellow sand along the cliffs. These were left until the first rain came, then all the inmates would rush down to inspect the cliffs. This grass graffiti revealed the new summer romances between the older boys and girls. But these three girls from the East Pilbara had no intention of participating, they had a more important task ahead of them.
    On they went, dashing down the sandy slope of the cliffs, dodging the small shrubs on the way and following the narrow path to the flooded river.

    This novelised non-fiction book tells the story of the author's mother and aunts' escape from the boarding school for mixed-race children to which they were taken against their parents' will. They trekked 1,600 km home along the rabbit-proof fence mentioned in the title. This involved not just finding their way home (on foot!), but also escaping search parties, and looking for food and shelter. An amazing feat. I'd recommend this book to anyone from older children to adults who wants to learn about Aboriginal Australians’ modern history and culture. As long as they’re not looking for a 100% happy ending.

    I read this book for Litsy’s Food and Lit challenge. Unsurprisingly for a book about surviving on the road, food is mentioned quite a bit, but not necessarily things I’d like to try or am able to…Here are some of them:
    billy tea, bush tea, condensed milk tea
    weevilly porridge (no thank you!)
    damper, bush bread
    emu thighs
    At one point, a kind lady makes the girls “thick mutton and tomato chutney sandwiches”, “followed by generous pieces of fruit cake and a cup of sweet, milky tea” . Scones also make an appearance. It all sounds nice but not specifically Australian.

    kesäkuu 16, 1:15 am

    À la source, la nuit (To the Spring by Night) by Seymus Dagtekin

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: ? born in Turkey, lives in France – I don’t know what his current passport situation is
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: a Kurdish village in Eastern Turkey (Turkish Kurdistan)
    First published in 2004

    A few lines from page 100

    Une ronde si débordante qu’ils continuaient à la mener parfois au-delà de la nuit, au-delà de la neige, au risque de laisser leur corps sur place, dans le froid glacial. Un des arrière-grands-oncles, sorti ainsi de son corps, avait, en rêve, fait signe à sa femme et, le lendemain, on l’avait retrouvé gelé dans sa ronde, au cours de sa nuit de chasse.

    Kurdish author Seyhmus Dagtekin wrote a wonderful book about life in a mountain village in Turkish Kurdistan. He wrote it in French, which is – if I got this right – his third language after Kurdish and Turkish, and one that he learnt as an adult. This novel reads like a poetic childhood memoir with hints of magical realism. The natural world is omnipresent and always slightly menacing, but this is balanced by the book’s gentle humour. This is all about feelings, atmosphere, anecdotes and folk stories. There isn’t a plot or a chronology: it really is a prose poem, which I loved but might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
    As an aside, I think this is the first time I’ve come across a book published by Robert Laffont that wasn’t an airport read. I’d be curious to know how the meeting in which they decided that To the Spring could be a bestseller went… Le Castor astral, an independent publisher specialising in poetry, is Dagtekin’s main house.

    kesäkuu 16, 8:49 am

    >146 Dilara86: - I remember the movie but this is the first i’ve heard about the book.

    >147 Dilara86: sounds interesting!

    kesäkuu 17, 10:26 am

    >147 Dilara86: I agree, it sounds very interesting. Wishlisted.

    kesäkuu 18, 3:51 am

    >148 dchaikin: I remember the movie but this is the first i’ve heard about the book.
    It was the same for me! I am glad the book popped up when I was looking for Australian fiction.

    >149 FlorenceArt: Wishlisted.
    I hope you like it!

    kesäkuu 18, 6:36 am

    >147 Dilara86: Enticing review... This title caught my eye one year or two ago while I was browsing Le Castor Astral's catalogue but I did not dare to buy it. After reading your review, I might reconsider it!

    Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 20, 4:04 am

    >151 raton-liseur: I might be completely wrong (figuring out someone else's reading tastes is always tricky), but I feel you might not enjoy À la source, la nuit as much as I did. It could be too disjointed and "stream-of-consciousnessy" for you. I'd be happy to be proved wrong, though :-)

    As it happens, I finished another poetic novel set in the mountains yesterday: Je chante et la montagne danse. This one might be more to your taste. There is a clearer structure, and more of a plot. I'll try and write a post about it soon.

    Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 20, 7:47 am

    Mots de cuisine : Tome 2 - Préparations et ingrédients, written by Emmanuelle Maisonneuve and Jean-Claude Renard, illustrated by Virginie Duquenoÿ

    Writer’s gender: male and female
    Writer’s nationality: unknown
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: N/A
    First published in 2005

    A few lines from page 100

    Rougail ou rougaille :
    Puisée dans la cuisine créole, fortement épicée (pimentée), méli-mélo de fruits et/ou de légumes fondus à l'huile d'olive. De la rougaille de mangue ou de papaye verte servie avec un calamar, à la rougaille de morue ou de saucisse, du condiment au plat garni, les combinaisons d'aliments sont multiples.

    This is an ex-university library book my daughter found for me. It was originally part of a 2-book set, but I won't be looking for Volume 1 Mots de cuisine : tours de main et matériels. This glossary of food and cookery words is OK, but I have my doubts as to its accuracy or usefulness. My guess is its aim is to be entertaining rather than a serious rival to the Larousse gastronomique. Personally - and that's obviously highly subjective - I found the authors' attempts at humour grating. On the plus side, it includes Canadian words such as "atoca" for canneberge (cranberry). Widening the net outside of mainland France is always good, although the entry for "rougail" shows they haven't made tooooo much of an effort. Come to think of it, I don't remember any mention of Switzerland or Belgium.

    kesäkuu 20, 10:14 am

    La parole est d'or : séances et stations d'un poète itinérant by Badīʿ al-Zamān al-Hamad̲hānī, translated by Philippe Vigreux

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: Arabo-Persian born in Hamadan, then part of the Buwayhid empire, now in Iran
    Original language: Arabic
    Translated into: French
    Location: all over the Arab, Central Asian and Persian world, from Egypt to Pakistan
    First published in 2011 (this French translation), originally written in the 10th century

    A few lines from page 117

    Comme on m’accusait d’avoir volé de l’argent, je m’enfuis droit devant ; jusqu’à ce que je parvinsse au désert et que ma route errante, me menât à l’ombre d’une tente. Assis près de ses piquets, j’avisai un garçonnet qui jouait au sable, avec ses camarades ; disant des vers qui concordaient à son image, non au génie de son jeune âge. Aussi niant l’idée qu’il en formât lui-même la trame je lui dis : « Fils des Arabes ces vers les rapportes-tu, ou bien sont-ils de ton cru ? »

    This collection contains all 52 tales (called “maqama” in Arabic – Vigreux’s preferred translation for this word is “fabliau”) still extant from the work of medieval author Badīʿ al-Zamān al-Hamad̲hānī. Most Western translations and recent Arabic publications omit the rude ones, such as those with explicit homosexual content. This one has them all. They’re cruelly humorous short stories told in rhyme. The narrator is traveller ‘Isâ ibn Hishâm, whose path keeps crossing that of a cunning Alexandrian swindler called Abû al-Fath al-Iskandarî. I’ve seen the word “Picaresque” applied to the book, and it seems fitting.

    Philippe Vigreux, the translator, is a bit of a show-off. He chose to write his translation in archaic French (think 18th century mixed with the odd medieval/Renaissance-sounding word), with strict rhymes and meter. It is quite virtuosic, but there are – inevitably – some oddities that stick out like sore thumbs. I hate it when formal requirements trump meaning. Also, readers have to wrangle with four (!) glossaries at the end of the book: one for the words kept in Arabic, one for people, tribe and divinity names, one for place names, and one for unusual/archaic French words… A modern prose rendering with ample footnotes would have been more to my taste.

    kesäkuu 20, 10:31 am

    Sounds fascinating, if a bit difficult to get through those glossary references.

    kesäkuu 20, 1:21 pm

    >154 Dilara86: What Dan said!

    kesäkuu 21, 11:17 am

    >152 Dilara86: Sight. I might be right, but it's not everyday that you find a Kurdish writer that (moderately) appeals to you... I won't put it too high on my wishlist then...
    And I'll wait for your review of Je chante et la montagne danse!

    kesäkuu 24, 11:56 am

    >147 Dilara86: Since this has been translated into English, I'm stacking it. Sounds beautiful, if I can read it in the right frame of mind.

    kesäkuu 27, 6:20 am

    I haven't made any progress on my Creuse challenge, but I did watch this video : Le vacherinou de Guéret poking fun at marketing BS (in French but peppered with English words)

    kesäkuu 27, 6:50 am

    Ah oui le buzz de la Creuse

    kesäkuu 27, 2:20 pm


    kesäkuu 30, 1:39 pm

    >159 Dilara86: Je ne connaissais pas et j'ai bien rigolé!

    heinäkuu 5, 8:30 am

    Je chante et la montagne danse (When I Sing, Mountains Dance) by Irene Solà, translated by Edmond Raillard

    Writer’s gender: female
    Writer’s nationality: Spain (Catalonia)
    Original language: Catalan
    Translated into: French
    Location: Catalan Pyrenees
    First published in 2019 (Catalan original) and 2022 (French version)

    A few lines from page 26 (page 100 wasn’t in a representative chapter)

    Parfois, Margarida pleure à cause des fables, elle pleure parce qu’un père a changé ses filles en montagnes, ou elle pleure à cause de ce qu’on nous a fait, la laine et la cendre et les fers incandescents et le banc et les poids accrochés aux pieds et le sang vermeil. Elle pleure d’être morte, comme toutes les choses qui meurent. Et je lui dis ne pleure pas, Margarida. Et après l’orage elle a pleuré un peu, aussi, pour l’homme, parce qu’il était tellement beau à voir dans la clairière, disait-elle. Quel dommage que les hommes s’accrochent aux corps vides et les cachent et les enterrent pour ne pas voir ce qui leur arrivera à eux aussi.

    This is a multiple-voice novel set in the Catalan Pyrenean mountains, between Camprodon and the Spanish/French border (fairly close to where the Tour de France is today and tomorrow). Nature is wild and dangerous or comforting and protective, and so is the supernatural. There are ghosts and dones d’aigua. The past leaves scars and people don’t speak much, but all is revealed bit by bit. The writing is poetic and evocative. Edmond Raillard’s translation is a joy to read, which is just as well because it looks like he’s cornered the translation-from-Catalan market. This would have been a perfect novel, if it wasn’t for the couple of chapters written in the voices of wild animals – I found those rather unconvincing in what was otherwise a terrific novel!

    Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 5, 9:02 am

    June Food and Lit

    I read and enjoyed Follow the rabbit-proof fence by Doris Pilkington (see >146 Dilara86:)

    In the end, I went for lamingtons, cubes of plain cake covered in chocolate icing and grated coconut, made using this Guardian recipe. They were nice, but icing them was a bit of a faff and bits of coconut went everywhere... In the end, I fully iced half a dozen cubes, found they were far too sweet, and just poured icing on top of the other cubes, so that there would be icing on just one side. That may not be authentic, but it is more to my taste!

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 1, 3:31 am

    July reads

    1. Banquet en Blithuanie by Miroslav Krleža
    2. (Et ils dansaient le dimanche by Paola Pigani - unfinished because it's bad)
    3. Les femmes artistes sont dangereuses by Camille Viéville and Laure Adler
    4. Falloujah - Ma campagne perdue, written by Feurat Alani and illustrated by Halim Mahmoudi
    5. L'extraordinaire pouvoir des fascias en mouvement : La méthode MUNZ FLOOR, l'approche corporelle innovante et accessible à tous pour se libérer des douleurs musculaires et articulaires et protéger sa colonne vertébrale by Alexandre Munz - winner of the Longest Title Award :-P
    6. Humaine, trop humaine by Meurisse Catherine
    7. Cent ballades d'amant et de dame by Christine de Pizan
    8. Les sources by Marie-Hélène Lafon
    9. La Constellation du chevraurochs by Iskander Fazil
    10. La nouvelle internationale fasciste by Ugo Palheta
    11. Encore plus de bébés animaux by Corina Fletcher
    12. Un sommeil agité by Susanne Straßer
    13. Les camions - les bateaux - les trains by Byron Barton
    14. Marche forcée by Miklós Radnóti
    15. Anarchy explained to children: To the children of the Spanish proletariat by José Antonio Emmanuel
    16. Tu n'es pas obligée by Ovidie
    17. L'essai by Nicolas Debon
    18. Anarchisme et féminisme à la Belle Époque. Quelques réflexions sur les contradictions du patriarcat en milieu libertaire à la fin du XIXe siècle et au début du XXe parts 1 and 2 by Marie-Jo Dhavernas

    Original languages of the books I've read this month:

    • French: 9
    • Middle French: 1
    • English: 2
    • Croatian: 1
    • Russian: 1
    • Hungarian: 1
    • German: 1
    • Spanish: 1

    That's 65% English and French

  • 21st-century books: 11
  • 20th-century books: 5
  • 19th-century books:
  • 18th-century books:
  • 17th-century books:
  • 16th-century books:
  • Medieval books: 1
  • Ancient books:

    That's 94% 21st- and 20th-century

    • Number of female authors this month: 8
    • Number of male authors this month: 9
    • Mixed male/female collaborations this month:

  • 166Dilara86
    heinäkuu 5, 11:59 am

    Les femmes artistes sont dangereuses by Laure Adler and Camille Viéville

    Writer’s gender: female
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: N/A
    First published in 2018

    Pages 99 and 100 (sorry for the quality!)

    My daughter got me this book at a museum bookshop. Each double page is about one of 67 different women artists, from Sofonisba Anguissola to Lola Gonzàlez. There is an example of the artist’s work on the right, and a basic introduction on the left, possibly with another small photo. It’s a good way to discover new names, but its succinctness was frustrating. I can see it being useful in a school library, or it would be great as a Website with links to further material. It’s useful as a stepping-stone to online searches. In the end, I liked the concept of the book more than its execution.

    heinäkuu 6, 2:29 am

    Son Excellence : le comte d'Abranhos (O Conde de Abranhos, The Count of Abranhos) by José Maria Eça de Queirós, translated by Parcídio Gonçalves

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: Portugal
    Original language: Portuguese
    Translated into: French
    Location: Portugal (Lisbon, Coimbra…)
    First published in 1925, 25 years after the author’s death

    A few lines from page 100

    Eça de Queiroz is a 19th-century Portuguese novelist, journalist and diplomat. He lived in many different countries, including Cuba, France (he died in Neuilly) and Britain (Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester). He is well-known in Portugal, but a bit more niche in the rest of the world, which is a shame.
    The Count of Abranhos is a satirical novel centered on Alípio Abranhos, a politician and social climber who will stop at nothing to get to the top. There is no person or principle he will not betray, under cover of selflessness and duty. He’s the sort of character you love to hate! The book is funny, a bit mean, and pretty detailed. No wonder it wasn’t published straight away: real people could probably recognise themselves in it. If Bouvard et Pécuchet’s Flaubert, Bel-Ami’s Maupassant and Trollope had a baby, this would be it. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author.

    heinäkuu 6, 5:38 pm

    >164 Dilara86:

    I remember someone else complaining how finicky those are. Yours don't look messy. I wonder if it would be possible to skewer them before dipping into icing and coconut, or would they fall apart?

    >167 Dilara86:

    He's very entertaining. I think you'd appreciate his Ecos de Paris (Lettres de Paris, as I note) too--such a stormy yet brilliant time.

    heinäkuu 7, 9:59 am

    >168 LolaWalser: I used a fork. The trick is to put the naked cubes in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm them up before dipping them in the icing. It works well but it's still messy :-D

    Thank you for the recommendation! I'll see if I can find it. I really want to read The Maias too.

    elokuu 2, 7:11 am

    Creuse Challenge

    I haven't much of an inroad on that front, but it's going to change soon: I am waiting for a police procedural set in the Creuse and involving an "enfant de la Creuse". It's probably not great literature, but you never know!
    I also found this article: https://www.lamontagne.fr/aubusson-23200/loisirs/romans-et-essais-inspires-par-l...
    where I learnt that Jean Guitton was Creusois. I am not sure I want to read him, however...

    elokuu 3, 1:15 am

    Adriana by Théodora Dimova, translated by Marie Vrinat

    Writer’s gender: female
    Writer’s nationality: Bulgaria
    Original language: Bulgarian
    Translated into: French
    Location: Sofia and Varna (a city and holiday resort on the Black Sea coast), Bulgaria
    First published in 2007 (original) and 2008 (French translation)

    A few lines from page 100

    Je ne sais dans quelle mesure tu comprends la peinture, Ioura, mais je pense que tu n’as pas besoin d’être une connaisseuse : l’esprit reconnaît l’esprit, comme il reconnaît son absence. Mon Dieu, Teodor, s’exclama Ioura en cette nuit d’août, au clair de lune, fleurant bon les pétunias de la terrasse et résonnant du bourdonnement des grillons dans les cours environnantes. Qu’y a-t-il ? demandai-je, effrayé.

    The Adriana of the title is an old, rich lady looking for a young woman to keep her company and listen to her life story. Ioura answers the ad. Simeon, Adriana’s trustee, immediately falls in love and hires her. And then, a few months later, after Adriana’s death, Ioura goes to her cousin Teodor (they have a creepy co-dependent relationship) and tells him Adriana’s life story. The parallels between Adriana’s and Ioura’s lives and personalities are unmissable. They are femmes fatales wreaking havoc in the lives of the men who are fascinated by them. Baudelaire is mentioned, which makes perfect sense. It might all be very tongue-in-cheek and second-degree, I don’t know. The book just annoyed me to be honest…

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 3, 1:31 am

    Marche forcée : oeuvres, 1930-1944 by Radnóti Miklós, translated by Jean-Luc Moreau

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: Hungary
    Original language: Hungarian
    Translated into: French
    Location: N/A, Hungary including Budapest and Szentkirályszabadja, Paris, Serbia including Žagubica…

    First published in 2000 (this French version), original poems first published between 1930 and 1946

    A few lines from page 100

    Deuxième éclogue


    Moque-toi. J’ai peur là-haut. Et c’est elle que je veux :
    être en bas dans un grand lit et pouvoir fermer les yeux,
    ou du moins entre mes dents la chanter, ma bien-aimée,
    à mi-voix au fond du mess plein de bruit et de fumée.
    Si là-haut je veux descendre, en-bas j’attends de voler…
    Dans ce monde pétri pour moi je n’ai de lieu où m’installer.
    Mon appareil, je sais bien avec quel excès de l’aime,
    mais quand nous sommes là-haut notre souffrance est la même…
    Tu le sais. Tu l’écriras ! Qu’il n’en reste aucun mystère :
    moi le destructeur, l’apatride établi entre ciel et terre,
    hélas, qui le comprendra ? je vivais en homme aussi…
    L’écriras-tu ?

    27 avril 1941

    Earlier this month, I read Miklós Radnóti's selected poems. The majority were published in the thirties, but some were discovered in his pocket when his body was exhumed from the mass grave into which he and other Jewish slave laborers were buried after their murder in 1944.
    They were competently translated (I read them in French) and very moving. The translator’s introduction was very informative.
    The poems drew heavily on Virgil's Eclogues and also referenced modern poets. It is pretty clear Radnóti was part of an international circle: he spent time in Paris and translated French, Latin and German works. He mentions people, and especially poets, from different parts of the world, from Garcia Lorca to the African-American poet John Love, murdered by the KKK. He was antifascist, of course.
    I am very happy I discovered Radnóti Miklós. It was a nice bit of serendipity: his book was showcased in the central library’s poetry section, and I was looking for a Hungarian author for the Book & Lit challenge on Litsy other than Magda Szabó, whose novels were all out…

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 3, 10:41 am

    Cent ballades d'amant et de dame (100 ballads of lover and lady) by Christine de Pizan, translated by Bertrand Rouziès-Léonardi, based on Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet’s previous literal translation

    Writer’s gender: female
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: Middle French
    Translated into: modern French on the right page, the original Middle French on the left
    Location: The Kingdom of France as it was in the late 14th, early 15th century, so not very big, and centered around Paris
    First “published” in 1406

    First stanza, ballad L (number 50) – for some reason it is different from the one on Wikisource
    Or suis venus en contree longtaine
    Ou garde n’ay de devenir trop gras
    Car pou mangier, dur giste et longue peine,
    Ouïr souvent dire : « Tu te rendras
    En combattant ou la vie perdras »,
    M’en garderont, et le hernois qui poise,
    Gesir : « A l’arme ! », et des chevaulx la noise,
    Croy que souvent trop plus beau jeu ennuye.

    Modern French translation
    Je suis arrivé dans quelque région lointaine
    Où je ne risque pas de devenir gras :
    Maigres repas, gîte à la dure, longue peine,
    Et ces mots que j’entends souvent : « Tu te rendras
    En combattant ou la vie, ici, tu perdras »,
    M’en garderont, ainsi que le harnois pesant,
    Le couchage par tous les vents et sous la pluie,
    Les cris d’alarme et bruits de chevaux s’agitant.
    A la fin, même un plus joli jeu vous ennuie.

    I really enjoyed this long poem in 100 ballads and 1 lai, describing the evolution of the relationship between a lady and her lover. It is clearly inspired by courtly romances and the Roman de la rose, but without the gross misogyny, digressions and non-PG content! When you’re a lady-writer for the Queen, you’ve got to keep up appearances and never ever forget to mention that the fictional Lady’s honour is safe at all times! The story is told in alternating ballads from the point of view of the male and female lovers, peppered with a handful where both speak in the same poem. The Lady has the final word in the longer lai that closes the work, but that’s to tie loose ends and give us the inevitable sad ending. Clearly, I am a romantic at heart because I rooted for the couple… The Middle French verses are a joy: they’re musical and not too difficult to understand for this contemporary reader. They also don’t distract from the plot, which is not a small feat, given the language and cultural differences between my world and Christine’s. The translator wanted the modern French version to stand on its own as poetry. That’s laudable, but personally, I would have preferred a literal translation that I could refer to when the original was unclear, which means I should have bought Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet’ version… But that’s a quibble!

    A couple of takeaways:
    - "alarme" (alarm) comes from "à l'arme", ie: "get your arm"
    - "je suis saoûlée" means "I am fed up", just like it does in modern vernacular
    - "wild, far-away countries" means Gascony - nowadays a 4-hour train ride from Paris

    Muokkaaja: syyskuu 1, 4:09 am

    August reads

    1. Siete mejores cuentos de Carmen Lyra by Carmen Lyra
    2. Adriana by Theodora Dimova
    3. Le pin by Jean Castel
    4. Histoire d’une montagne: Histoire d’un ruisseau by Élisée Reclus
    5. Recettes d'Auvergne by Christiane Valat
    6. Le livre de la nuit by Rotraut Susanne Berner
    7. Les bébés animaux (L'imagier géant du Père Castor) by Adeline Ruel
    8. Mon tour du monde géant des végétaux et des champignons by Laure du Faÿ
    9. Vengeances en Creuse by Jacques Jung
    10. Bons baisers de Limón by Edo Brenes
    11. La fugue des genêts by Saul Mouveroux
    12. Le Cantal, un territoire authentique et naturel by éditions Bos
    13. La Cité internationale de la tapisserie à Aubusson by Cité internationale de la tapisserie à Aubusson
    14. Le Cheval rouge by Taško Georgievski
    15. Mero Nepal by Subhadra Belbase (ongoing)
    16. Piments Zoizos : Les enfants oubliés de la Réunion by Tehem
    17. Prague aux doigts de pluie by Vítězslav Nezval
    18. Prudence Hautechaume by Marcel Jouhandeau
    19. La puissance des mères : pour un nouveau sujet révolutionnaire by Fatima Ouassak
    20. Le génie lesbien by Alice Coffin
    21. Les Jardins de Basra by Mansoura Ez-Eldin

    Original languages of the books I've read this month:

    • French: 12
    • English: 2
    • Spanish: 1
    • Bulgarian: 1
    • Middle French: 1
    • German: 1
    • Czech: 1
    • Macedonian: 1
    • Arabic: 1

    That's xx% English and French

  • 21st-century books: 14
  • 20th-century books: 5
  • 19th-century books: 1
  • 18th-century books:
  • 17th-century books:
  • 16th-century books:
  • Medieval books: 1
  • Ancient books:

    That's 90% 21st- and 20th-century

    • Number of female authors this month: 10
    • Number of male authors this month: 9
    • Mixed male/female collaborations this month: 2 (probably)

  • 176LolaWalser
    elokuu 3, 3:02 pm

    >173 Dilara86:

    Loving the love for Radnóti. I was introduced to him via Danilo Kiš, who wrote several beautiful essays about him.

    elokuu 4, 9:44 am

    >174 Dilara86: I have read the Norton Critical edition's The selected Writings of Christine de Pizan which had its problems. Thank you for reminding me that it is possible to read a full version of one of her works. Very interesting.

    elokuu 7, 3:06 pm

    >174 Dilara86: "wild, far-away countries" means Gascony LOL

    elokuu 15, 5:08 am

    >177 baswood: Oof! I read your review of The selected Writings, and it looks like it did not do a good job of presenting her work!

    >178 labfs39: :-D

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 15, 6:00 am

    Food and Lit Challenge

    August is Costa Rica month for the Food and Lit Challenge.

    I’ve read the first quarter of Siete mejores cuentos by Carmen Lyra – in the original Spanish, hence my slowness. I did finish Bons baisers de Limón (Memories From Limón) a graphic novel written in English by Edo Brenes.

    I haven’t cooked anything Costa Rican yet, but will soon – probably the local version of Rice and Beans. Maybe I should just lean into the fact that every rice-eating country has their version of the dish and try them all!

    elokuu 15, 6:24 am

    Bons baisers de Limón (Memories From Limón) by Edo Brenes, translated by Basile Béguerie

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: Costa Rica (lives or lived in the UK)
    Original language: English
    Translated into: French
    Location: Costa Rica, mainly Limón
    First published in 2021

    I was slightly underwhelmed by this graphic novel about a man researching his family history, and in particular, the love triangle between his grandmother, grandfather and great-uncle. The plot didn’t grab me, but I liked the art well enough. Its ligne claire style (not sure how to say this in English – please chime in if you do) was efficient, although I think a more detailed, atmospheric approach would have helped compensate for the pedestrian story. On the plus side, the French translation had a natural, modern feel.

    elokuu 15, 6:43 am

    >181 Dilara86: The English language Wikipedia article is titled Ligne claire, but toward the end of the article the expression Clear Line is used. I read it with interest. I was aware of the 1980s revival with Joost Swarte, Yves Chaland and the others, but I didn't know that Hergé and Edgar P. Jacobs were considered part of it (even if the name was coined in 1977, so retroactively).

    elokuu 15, 7:18 am

    >182 FlorenceArt: Thank you! That's settled, then: "ligne claire" *is* used in English :-)

    elokuu 15, 4:41 pm

    >174 Dilara86: enjoyed your longer review too. 🙂 (as opposed to the Listy review I read earlier today). Very interesting read.

    elokuu 17, 3:23 am

    Vengeances en Creuse by Jacques Jung

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Chénérailles, Creuse, France
    First published in 2016

    A few lines from page 100

    Il manquait cependant un élément à charge solide : il n’y avait pas d’arme ni de témoin et personne ne l’avait vu ce 12 août en milieu d’après-midi dans les environs de Chénérailles. À présent, l’accusé niait farouchement avec des arguments tous à fait pertinents qui fragilisaient tout de même le mobile du crime. La présence de sang A+ dans sa voiture était bien mince comme seul élément concret de l’accusation et ne pourrait à elle seule convaincre un jury d’assises. L’inspecteur trouvait la conclusion hâtive et, pour lui, la poursuite des investigations s’imposait.

    I have been having a tough time finding titles that appeal AND are available for my Creuse challenge. I've had to branch out with books in genres that I don't particularly like, but with themes I am interested in (in this case, the Enfants de la Creuse: Reunion Island children taken from their birth families under false pretenses to be fostered - and sometimes exploited - in mainland France in the sixties and seventies). Hence, this police procedural set in deepest Creuse in the sixties, about a farmer found murdered on his land. The local gendarmerie seems convinced that André Roure, a former Réunionnais foster child/farmhand/slave at the farm, is the culprit, but the evidence is thin and so Inspector Diego Castellon from the Limoges police is sent to Chénérailles to investigate further. If you like whodunnits that let you draw up your own theories, then shatter them with an artful twist, this novel is not for you. Nor is it for readers who have no patience with stories that “tell” rather than “show”. The writing is awkward, both stylistically and plot-wise. All I can say in its favour is that it is a quick read and the author’s heart is in the right place.

    And now I’ll tell you what happened to me last Saturday, as I was visiting Aubusson, the second-biggest town in Creuse renowned for its tapestry workshops. There was a library with a big poster advertising Jacques Jung’s novels. I told my partner what I thought of Vengeances en Creuse, and we then walked into the shop, where someone handed me a flyer for Une Mallette flotte dans la Creuse by Jacques Jung. I took the leaflet, looked up: it was the author himself, doing a signing. I felt terrible!

    elokuu 17, 7:56 am

    >185 Dilara86: Ouch, hate it when that happens! Nevertheless it doesn’t sound like a very good book.

    elokuu 21, 8:58 pm

    >185 Dilara86: Oh, no! What are the chances?

    elokuu 22, 8:23 am

    >185 Dilara86: At least the remarks were outside the store rather than inside where the author could have heard you....?

    elokuu 22, 2:28 pm

    >188 ELiz_M: It was technically outside, but about 5 meters from him, so the odds that he heard me are not zero! I just tell myself that he probably wouldn't have handed me that leaflet if he *had* heard me...

    elokuu 23, 1:41 am

    And >185 Dilara86: brings us to La fugue des genêts by Saul Mouveroux which I bought in the Aubusson bookshop mentioned in my previous post.

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: N/A, Creuse, Aubusson, Ussel?, plateau de Millevaches?
    First published in 2023

    A few lines from page 100

    à Charles Mercier

    Assis sur le côté, sur un banc ; ballottés
    Les gens passent, peu nombreux.
    Non loin la tour levée, cathédrale éventée,
    Le vent vole avec les vieux.

    Dans l’allée sont les arbres, assez inquiétants
    Leurs rameaux nus se dessèchent.
    Leurs os de sève toute noire semblent latents
    En s’élevant, foudres rêches.

    Possible inspirations to the poem

    Tour de l’Horloge in Aubusson (it’s a lot less squat in reality – the photo’s low angle is deceptive)

    Alley that goes up the hill to the tower, along terraced gardens on one side

    This slim volume caught my eye on the table; I saw the author was local, and I liked the poem I read when I opened the book at random, so I bought it. Well, the poet is very young (21!) and this is his third collection. His first – published when he was 17 - was prefaced by Pierre Bergounioux, no less! I suspect the poems in La fugue des genets were actually written earlier than the ones published so far - I would guess when he was in middle/high school. They are well-crafted and clearly heartfelt, but the language is sometimes awkward (words are not always used properly) and they feel very old-fashioned: you can tell they come from a 21st-century boy who read Baudelaire, Apollinaire and Rimbaud on a loop. The subject matters can be very adolescent: waiting for your mum to pick you up from school at lunchtime, not having a girlfriend, not being allowed to kiss in school corridors (that’s because adults are jealous!), etc. but most poems are inspired by nature. Every family member has a poem dedicated to them. I enjoyed them for what they were: juvenilia from a promising young poet who hasn’t found his voice yet but is sincere and has interesting things to say. I am not sure that publishing was the right decision, however…

    elokuu 23, 9:06 am

    >185 Dilara86: & then >189 Dilara86: “ about 5 meters from him” - ok, that’s kinda funny. Sorry if that’s the wrong response. Maybe he took in some good critical feedback!

    >190 Dilara86: great pictures. Sounds entertaining. Teenage angst has an expiration date. Sometimes it’s ok to revisit it

    elokuu 24, 12:31 pm

    >171 Dilara86: I have seen that too. Thierry Magnier is an editor that I usually like a lot, so it's a confusing decision. My first reaction was willing to buy and read the book, unfortunately it is not available anymore.

    Thinking about books from Creuse does not ring any bell... I hope you will get luckier.
    You've visited Creuse this year, do you plan to do so every year, reading and visiting a country based on its number? It sounds like a fun organised randomness (if this means anything at all) to discover books and places!

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 25, 7:54 am

    >191 dchaikin: It *is* funny - and embarrassing!
    Thanks! Teenage angst was made for poetry! I probably wouldn't have had the patience for a novel, but poetry collections tend to be short, which helps...

    >192 raton-liseur: Bien trop petit* is only available as an e-book at the moment. They probably sold out of physical books after its sale was forbidden to minors - there's no bad publicity ! I've never read books from the L'ardeur collection - or any Thierry Magnier books as far as I know - but I am inclined to think books on sex education and mental well-being aimed at teens are a good thing. I'd like to see for myself whether this book really is inappropriate, or - as I suspect - the outcry came from reactionaries, and was outwardly about its explicitness, but covertly about its progressive slant... I am hoping my library buys it so I can have a look. It'll be shelved in the adult section, obviously.

    *A book about a teenage boys who worries his penis is too small after looking at porn. It was published in a collection aimed at teenagers, but there was an outcry because it was "too explicit", and now it can only be sold to the over 18.

    Are there Thierry Magnier books you'd recommend?

    You've visited Creuse this year, do you plan to do so every year, reading and visiting a country based on its number? It sounds like a fun organised randomness (if this means anything at all) to discover books and places!

    I'd really, really like to, but I doubt I'll manage it!

    elokuu 24, 2:13 pm

    >193 Dilara86: Actually, re-reading my recent reviews for books from Thierry Magnier, it seems that I mainly like their short stories collection, Les P'tites Poches, my favorite being Le Goût de la tomate by Christophe Léon, and obviously those by Jean-Claude Mourlevat.
    For a longer book, I really enjoyed A ciel ouvert, published earlier this year. It is on a theme I know a fair amount about (humanitarian help), and I felt the book was well balanced and had a lot to make young readers think about.
    However, I remember one book that I thoroughly disliked, Sables noirs.

    It seems that the publishing house tries to tackle difficult themes, and it does not always feel right. I won't read Bien trop petit: I am not a reader of porn or erotic literature, and I won't spend 15 euros in an ebook I am likely to dislike (I've read the extract available online, the writing style is not my cup of tea, or coffee, or whatever beverage...), and I know my local library won't buy it.
    However, the boom in the so-called young adult literature shows the need for some publishers to get involved in this genre with the interest of young readers at heart.

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 25, 8:48 am

    >192 raton-liseur: Thinking about books from Creuse does not ring any bell... I hope you will get luckier.

    So far, I have read:
    Vies minuscules: récit by Pierre Michon - I had heard a lot of good things about Michon, so I was bound to be somewhat disappointed...
    Vengeances en Creuse by Jacques Jung - it is what it is!
    La fugue des genêts by Saul Mouveroux - same!
    La Cité internationale de la tapisserie à Aubusson, a book about the tapestry museum in Aubusson, bought in the shop there - very interesting, and a good companion to the museum visit (https://www.cite-tapisserie.fr/en).
    Piments Zoizos : Les enfants oubliés de la Réunion by Tehem - he is careful to tell us that not all children sent to mainland France stayed in Creuse, far from it, but a good part of the story he chose to tell is set in Creuse.
    Prudence Hautechaume - a rather cruel short story collection depicting all sorts of oddballs, in a fictional Guéret (Creuse's main town) called Chaminadour, written by Marcel Jouhandeau, a complex personality: gay, deeply into Catholic mysticism, antisemitic, and of course, a collaborator, but also the person who saved Jean Paulhan after he was denounced as Jewish by Jouhandeau's own wife, although his lover Michel Leiris thought he probably did denounced Max Jacob...

    I skimmed Broderies d'artistes : intimité et créativité dans les arts textiles de la fin du XIXe au milieu du XXe siècle by Danièle Véron-Denise, a catalogue for an exhibition I didn't see - I saw the Tolkien and Miyazaki tapestries, as well as the René Perrot exhibition and the Hommage à Gaston Thiery room in the manufacture royale Saint Jean

    I plan on reading:
    Un soleil en exil by Jean-François Samlong
    Jeanne by George Sand
    and if I can find it, Le Droit Des Femmes by Alfred Assollant

    I had a look at the books in the Maison de la Creuse (a glorified service station on the RN145). I could have bought numerous "romans du terroir" and travel/photography/history books, but also a whodunnit involving George Sand as a sleuth, a surprising number of local novels involving various forms of transport, and even a comic book called Le mystère du Transcorrézien! In the end, I didn't buy anything because I wasn't convinced it was a wise use of my hard-earned cash!

    elokuu 25, 8:52 am

    >194 raton-liseur: Thank you for the recommendations! They all look tempting, except for Sables noirs. I might get L'enfant océan because I know brothers with the same names as some of the characters :-D

    elokuu 25, 10:32 am

    >195 Dilara86: I had not realised you read that much from Creuse. Thanks for the link on the Aubusson take on Tolkien and Miyasaki, it's a nice way to modernise a tradition!

    >196 Dilara86: I am not sure L'enfant océan is published by Thierry Magnier (mine is a Pocket Jeunesse paperback), but I cannot not warmingly recommend it: it's the first book I read by Mourlevat, and the best so far.

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 26, 7:52 am

    Tu n'es pas obligée d’Ovidie, illustrations de Diglee

    Langue d’origine : français
    Traduction vers le : S. O.
    Lieu : centré sur la France, propos valables pour les cultures occidentales
    Livre publié pour la première fois en 2022

    Un extrait de la page 50 (sur 75)

    D’une part parce que les « besoins sexuels » n’existent pas. On peut désirer, avoir très envie, être excité·e et le ressentir dans son corps. Mais il ne s’agit pas d’un « besoin » vital. Manger, boire, respirer, uriner, sont des besoins vitaux puisque si on arrête, on meurt. Mais si un homme cesse d’avoir des rapports sexuels, il ne va ni mourir ni avoir les testicules qui gonflent. Ce que l’on appelle le « syndrome des couilles bleues » est une légende urbaine, personne ne s’est jamais retrouvé à l’hôpital congestionné par un trop-plein de sperme !

    Probablement pas besoin de présenter l’autrice et documentariste Ovidie au lectorat francophone. Son parcours professionnel, de jeune actrice X (une poignée de tournages et un passage à la télé pour en parler) à réalisatrice de films X et érotiques féministes (elle en est revenue !) à actrice classique, réalisatrice de documentaires et autrice, est assez bien connu. Elle également très franche sur son évolution personnelle, de féministe pro-sexe (« sex-positive » en anglais) pro-pornographie, à son actuel refus de tout rapport avec des hommes cisgenres jusqu’à nouvel ordre (soit un arrêt de 5 ans à la date d’écriture de son livre La chair est triste hélas).

    Tu n’es pas obligée est un livre d’éducation sexuelle et « de vie », principalement à destination des filles cisgenres, même si un encadré précise que la plupart du contenu intéresse tous les jeunes, voire est transposables aux autres genres. Quand on pense à quel point les injonctions genrées frappent de plein fouet les jeunes queer et transgenres (tenues vestimentaires, poils, harcèlement…), Ovidie a vraiment raté une occasion de les inclure pleinement. Quelques phrases ici et là quand nécessaire au vu de leurs spécificité auraient rendu le livre plus inclusif et utile pour tous·tes.
    Le but de ce livre est de parler franchement aux ados de sexualité et de genre dans la sphère sociale et personnelle. Ce n’est évidemment pas un manuel de techniques, et les bases biologiques sont peu abordées (l’école sait faire). Il déconstruit tout ce qui gravite autour de la sexualité : consentement, estime de soi, place de la pornographie, identité de genre, rôles genrés, orientation sexuelle, sexting, dickpics… Les sujets sont abordés de manière sensible, prudente, au travers d’un prisme progressiste et tolérant. Je suis globalement d’accord avec à peu près toutes les prises de position.

    Le style d’écriture est assez personnel : actuel et informel – on sent la patte de l’écrivaine. Les tournures de phrase sont modernes, l’écriture est inclusive, la syntaxe joue avec les niveaux de langue et le vocabulaire prend à peu près dans tous les registres : médical, formel, familier, pas mal d’anglais et d’anglicismes... Ça a un petit côté Libé (moins les jeux de mots). C’est facile et rapide à lire (pour moi, adulte diplômée). Reste à savoir si de jeunes ados lambda non biberonnés aux blogs, sites et instas féministes tendances s’y retrouvent, et je crains que ça ne soit pas toujours le cas, même si certains termes sont expliqués. Ovidie s’adresse directement aux lecteur·ices, à la troisième personne du pluriel : vous pensez peut-être ceci, vous faites cela… Chose remarquable parce que assez inhabituelle, mais que je trouve très louable, elle parle aussi en son nom : je me doute que, j’ai vécu telle expérience… Le lectorat sait ainsi d’où elle parle. Après, j’ai trouvé le ton un peu trop directif à mon goût. Pas sûre que ça ne braque pas certains jeunes, ce qui serait contre-productif. En tout cas, ça m’a agacée !

    Autre bémol : les illustrations. Et je risque de passer pour la gaucho rabat-joie de service, mais c’est quelque chose qui m’a sauté aux yeux et qui me tient à cœur… Les filles des illustrations ont des morphologies, des validités et des couleurs de peau différentes, ce qui est très bien, mais elles ont toutes l’air de sortir des Beaux-Arts : elles sont tellement stylées que ça en devient caricatural. Et du coup, voilà ce que je me dis quand je les vois : filles de familles de bobos des grandes villes, avec un bon capital culturel, probablement de l’argent, et des parents progressifs - bref, les filles baignant dans le milieu déjà le plus proche des idées véhiculées dans le livre. C’est aussi celles qui trouveront le style d’écriture mêlant les registres syntaxiques et lexicaux le plus naturel. Toutes les autres, les filles de milieux plus traditionnels, les pauvres, les « weshs », les filles des périphéries, les pas à la mode, ou pas à cette mode, se retrouveront nettement moins dans ce livre. Et c’est elles qui, il faut être honnête, ont le plus besoin de le lire. J’aurais bien aimé voir aussi une fille en jupe bleu marine et col Claudine, une fille en survêt, une juste en jeans et T-shirt, pour une diversité moins Benetton (je montre mon âge !) et plus multidirectionnelle. Je pense que ça aiderait aussi à ce que les jeunes et les adultes responsables des achats ne rejettent pas instinctivement le livre comme ne les concernant pas « parce que c’est un truc de bobos »…

    C’est souvent quand on est du même bord idéologique que les points de désaccord sautent aux yeux et semblent le plus insupportables. Et là, ça n’a pas raté ! Ça me désole un peu d’avoir écrit un petit paragraphe neutre/positif et deux pavés sur ce que je n’aimais pas alors que ce sont des points relativement mineurs et éminemment subjectifs… S’il y a un livre sur le même sujet qui évite ces écueils, je suis preneuse, mais en attendant, Tu n’es pas obligée fait plus que l’affaire !

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 26, 9:15 am

    Piments Zoizos : Les enfants oubliés de la Réunion by Tehem, with the help of historian Gilles Gauvin

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: France, born in mainland France of Reunion Island parents, lived in both places
    Original language: French, Reunion Island creole
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Reunion Island, Creuse, Guéret, Western France
    First published in 2020

    Pages 98-99

    Piments zoizos - bird's eye chilies in Reunion Island Creole – is quite a thick graphic novel. It tells the story of a young boy from the Reunion Island (a French overseas possession in the Indian Ocean) sent to a children's home and various foster families in mainland France in the 60s, on the back of a government scheme in place from the sixties to the early eighties, that displaced over 2000 children and teens from deprived families, orphans and/or children deemed “at risk“. And also teenagers found to have intellectual potential, with the - typically unfulfilled - promise of further schooling. It all came to light over 20 years after it ended, and caused quite a stir because of its underlying racism, its opacity, and the total disregard for the children’s well-being. Those children were nicknamed “Enfants de la Creuse” because many were settled there, to make up for rural depopulation.
    The fiction is interspersed with infodumps in the style of newspaper articles, by far the best part of the book: they were clear, nuanced, engaging and comprehensive - much better than the Wikipedia article about the Enfants de la Creuse. The story itself was a bit flat.

    elokuu 26, 11:05 am

    >198 Dilara86: I did not know Ovidie before, and had to look up for a definition of cisgenre. I feel so outdated!
    I'll have a look at the book next time I'll go to a bookshop (next week?), it might be of interest for M'ni Raton.

    >199 Dilara86: Great review! I think I'll check if my library has it in stock.

    elokuu 26, 1:55 pm

    >200 raton-liseur: I'd be really interested in your opinion on both :-)

    Muokkaaja: elokuu 28, 12:08 pm

    Prudence Hautechaume by Marcel Jouhandeau

    Writer’s gender: male
    Writer’s nationality: France
    Original language: French
    Translated into: N/A
    Location: Chaminadour - a fictional stand-in for the small town of Guéret in Creuse
    First published in 1927

    No page 100 excerpt: I returned the book to the library before writing this post

    If you’ve read >195 Dilara86:, you won’t be surprised that Marcel Jouhandeau comes across as an odd personality, hard to pin down and probably not very nice. I’d say the same of this book. It’s a collection of short stories, all set in the fictional town of Chaminadour. They nearly all revolve around women, of types not often seen or described nowadays. The virginal, innocent but ultimately corruptible young woman who dies for others’ sins, or the mad old crone with a nasty streak. Whether they’re practising Catholics or not, or sincere believers or not, they typically go through some kind of mystic event. Old-school Catholicism, of the poverty, sackcloth and ashes kind, infuses the whole place. Reputation is everything, but most people seem to be having, or have had affairs. There is hypocrisy, backbiting and maliciousness. The lives and psychologies described don’t feel familiar, and by extension quite true-to-life, to me, but they could almost… My grandmother, who I loved dearly, wasn’t so far off, although as a former nurse, she certainly had better hygiene that Prudence Hautechaume! Most of the characters behave appallingly. Jouhandeau will describe their petty cruelties in detail, in a way that feels self-indulgent and rather cruel, but now and then some compassion shines through. I think none of his characters are fully aware of their actions, or of their consequences, and in any case, they can’t help themselves. I don’t think the author believe in free will.

    The unpleasantness of the characters and the situations made for an uncomfortable read, but it was also an interesting window into another time and place, and another way of looking at the world. And I get to tick a new box in my Creuse challenge, with a “serious” book.

    Muokkaaja: syyskuu 1, 5:19 am

    August was a decent month for reading, with 21 titles, although some of those were quite short, or even text-free.

    I splashed out on 3 oversized boardbooks for the grandbaby (grandtoddler?):
    Le livre de la nuit (All Around Bustletown: Nighttime) by Susanne Berner Rotraut, a picture book (no text) showing what various places in and around town look like at night, to prepare for the longer nights to come. Very detailed, with lots of fun things to pick out.
    Les bébés animaux (L'imagier géant du Père Castor) by Adeline Ruel and Mon tour du monde géant des végétaux et des champignons by Laure du Faÿ - what's great about those books is that they cram a lot in a page because they're poster-sized. They are both detailed and comprehensive.
    Got told off by Mum because of the price and size, but I don't care because they were good, everybody enjoyed them, and we'll have years of mileage out of them.

    Costa Rica month for Litsy Food and Lit

    I finished Siete mejores cuentos de Carmen Lyra by Carmen Lyra - quite proud that I didn't give up, although by the end, I got tired of puzzling out every other sentence, and started relying on Google translate a lot more than at the start. They're standard folk/fairytales, in a Costarican setting, with all the sexism (and colourism!) you'd expect.
    Bons baisers de Limón by Edo Brenes was OK.

    I haven't cooked anything Costarican. It requires forethought: I'll have to start by making a homemade version of a sauce/condiment that's used in virtually all savoury dishes, put beans to soak, etc. all in advance.

    Inroads have finally been made into the Creuse challenge: see >195 Dilara86:

    I read:
    - 2 polemics that sort of complemented each other: La puissance des mères : pour un nouveau sujet révolutionnaire by Fatima Ouassak and Le génie lesbien by Alice Coffin - somewhat one-sided, but inspiring and interesting.

    - 1 fiction by a far-right gay author (who died long ago - he won't be getting royalties from me): Prudence Hautechaume by Marcel Jouhandeau. And I could be wrong, but Adriana by Theodora Dimova also feels like it was written by someone with right-wing sensibilities.

    - A Macedonian 20th-century classic: Le Cheval rouge by Taško Georgievski, a fortuitous find on the Balkans shelves of my local independent bookshop - if I'd have to pick one book for August, it would be this one.

    - A medieval story inspired by Le roman de la Rose: Le pin by Jean Castel, Christine de Pizan's son

    - 2 19th-century non-fictions: one about mountains and one describing a stream: Histoire d’une montagne: Histoire d’un ruisseau by Élisée Reclus. Both were enjoyable, but I found Histoire d'un ruisseau more lyrical and engaging.

    - 1 book book by an Egyptian author I'd never heard of before: Les Jardins de Basra by Mansoura Ez-Eldin - quite literary: it's about an Egyptian antique book dealer with a tenuous grasp on reality, who channels a philosopher from Islamic Golden Age Basra (in what is now Iraq).

    - 1 Auvergnat cookbook: Recettes d'Auvergne by Christiane Valat - exactly what you'd expect

    - 2 poetry collections: La fugue des genêts by Saul Mouveroux, a then-teenage Creusois author, and the much more accomplished Prague aux doigts de pluie, a 20th-century classic by Czech surrealist poet Vítězslav Nezval

    syyskuu 1, 9:15 pm

    >203 Dilara86: My sister loves Rotraut's books and has six? of them, including this one. Lovely books like that tend to remain ageless and get passed around the family with various kids.

    syyskuu 2, 3:58 pm

    You've been busy! What is the argument of "La puissance des mères", if you don't mind?