January 2012 Book Porn

January 10, 2012 § 3 Comments

Made another trip to McKay’s today and found quite a bit of interest in their Foreign Languages aisle.  Languages fascinate me and I thought it’d be interesting to pick up elementary guides to Finnish and Gujarati, in case I want to learn bits and pieces of those language to go with the dozen or so grammars in other languages I already own.  Picked up two books in French, and five in German, including Hesse’s Der Steppenwolf, which I will read later this year or next.  The Italian book is by Nobel laureate Luigi Pirandello, one of two Nobel laureates I bought today (Hesse being the other), as well as two 1961 finalists, pictured below.

Four of these books I ordered before going to McKay’s.  Since I want to be able to read Persian poetry, I bought a bilingual edition of 20th century poet Sohrab Sepehri’s Water’s Footfall that looks promising.  Also ordered Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet novels; the first three arrived today.  Durrell and Graham Greene were recently revealed to be considered for the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature (which went to Ivo Andrić for his outstanding The Bridge on the Drina and other works), so I picked up a copy of Greene’s The End of the Affair for reading and possible reviewing later this week.  Bought an annotated edition of one of my favorite Spanish playwrights, Calderón de la Barca’s classic La vida es sueño and I thought I’d take a flier on Chinese writer Lu Hsun.

With luck, the majority of these will be read and maybe even reviewed over the course of this year.  Any in particular strike your fancy?

§ 3 Responses to January 2012 Book Porn

  • Liviu says:

    I read Alexandria a long time ago and mostly enjoyed it and thought it good, but for some reason it did not stick that much with me. I started a year or so ago on the avignon quintet and read the first one (Monsieur) and started the second (livia) and i plan to read the books as time goes by; despite a twist which is of the kind I dislike, I think these books will stay with me moreI read a bunch of G. greene from his easy thrillers to the more serious stuff like Heart of the Matter and again they were good but I cannot say they stayed with me that muchHesse – read both Steppenwolf and Glass Bead game and while I liked them I never got what the fuss was like for example compared to Canetti's autodafe or Mann's Dr faustus (arguably his best work) which are masterpeices of the 20th century imhoI read some Andric including Drina but like the only USSR Nobwel prize (pasternak does not count as USSR), Quiet flows the Don, I liked it but was not impressed that much – maybe the Slavic sensibilities like the Latin American ones work less well for me compared to French, Hungarian or Japanese in addition of course to my native Romanian ones, while the German and English ones are in-betweenIf you can read Romanian there is a new rom lang ebook store elefant.ro that sells ebooks at very reasonable prices (most are $5 or less through Paypal) and there are a few awesome ones I read recently, most notably Gabriela Adamesteanu's Opere I (Wasted Morning aka Dimineata peirduta, just translated well in english too but a bit pricey here in the US) and II (Intalnirea + ss) and Provizorat

  • Hélène says:

    Liviu, my experience with Durrell is opposite : The Quartet sticked with me, not the Quintet.The Niebelungenlied is a great text. I had a "phase" when I read many medieval books and this one is one of the best, with the Icelandic sagas.

  • Liviu says:

    The Quartet is a series of novels in a bubble – the protagonists are privileged that live in a world that is not theirs and that seethes and will expel them soon as it happened after the war. Like the french novels of North Africa the permanence of the western aliens there turned out to be illusory.For me always reading these novels (and the novels of the Raj too for that matter) I kind of identified with the native servants and hated the "civilizing occupier" and that may be a reason no novel of the British or French Empire that did not have a significant native presence ranks very high on my list so to speak…

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