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review 2017-12-01 20:50
The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons by Goli Taraghi
The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons: Selected Stories - Goli Taraghi,Sara Khalili

I read the first 5 stories of this collection (through page 179). The first one was decent and unexpectedly funny, but after that they became more a chore than a pleasure. The characters and settings are misty and unformed. All the stories are in the first person, sometimes told through the point-of-view of a minor character who nevertheless relates all of the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist like an omniscient narrator even though he or she has no way of knowing this information. The translation is very fluid, but . . . maybe a little too much so; the stories feel as if they were written in English, but blandly. After pushing myself through four stories out of a sense of obligation, I decided to be done.

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review 2017-05-17 17:06
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood - Marjane Satrapi,Mattias Ripa,Blake Ferris

A graphic-novel-style memoir about the author's childhood during the Iranian Revolution, this book seems written largely to educate Westerners about Iran. It is an episodic story focusing on how current events affected the author and her progressive family. This focus seems to have worked well for most of its readers, especially those who knew next to nothing about Iran beforehand. For some reason, though, I found it less gripping than others did, although all the right elements seem to be there: the stakes are high but the author keeps it personal, the characters are as well-defined as can be expected in a childhood memoir, the art is emotive. The plotting is a little off, with both individual chapter arcs and the novel as a whole either tapering off or ending abruptly. You should probably read it anyway though.

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review 2016-12-30 23:38
„Oswajanie świata” - oswajanie ze światem
Oswajanie świata - Nicolas Bouvier

Nicolas Bouvier wyruszył wraz z przyjacielem w latach '50 XX wieku drogą lądową do Indii. Jako środek transportu służył im mały fiacik, jako budżet – własne zarobki w drodze. Jako miarę czasu używali miesięcy a świadectwo przeżyć dawała maszyna do pisania autora. Zawarte w książce opisanie podróży wiodącej przez Bałkany i Turcję po Afganistan, jest jedną z najpiękniejszych relacji podróżniczych, jakie zdarzyło mi się przeczytać. Jadąc niespiesznie przez Europę i Azję oraz posługując się uniwersalnym językiem muzyki (a także mniej uniwersalnym francuskim), autorowi udało się zbliżyć do ideału podróży, w której miesza się przedmiot i podmiot. podróż staje się celem samym w sobie i nie jest do końca pewne, czy dobiegnie ona do przewidzianego końca. Bo koniec może nastąpić gdziekolwiek, bo wyznaczona meta nie ma specjalnego znaczenia. W tą podróżniczą sielankę wkradają się raz po raz spore niebezpieczeństwa, a to związane z finansami, a to ze zdrowiem. Ma miejsce także brutalne zderzenie z „realnym” życiem toczącym się poza trasą. Jak sobie z tym radzą bohaterowie? Jak reagują na to napotkani w drodze ludzie? O tym wszystkim równie niespiesznie warto przeczytać w książce.


Gwiazdy spadały na podwórze, ale daremnie się głowiłem: nie mogłem sobie życzyć nic oprócz tego, co miałem.

Nicolas Bouvier „Oswajanie świata”



„Oswajanie świata” jest książką drogi i jakoś w jej opisach utkwiło mi określenie, że chodzi o podróż do Indii. Nie jest kryminałem, więc nie zdradzę specjalnej tajemnicy i napiszę jasno, że tylko jedno mnie srodze zawiodło w całej książce – finał. To miała być podróż do Indii! Spodziewałem się, że kiedyś autor tam dotrze!! I coś o tym kraju napisze!!! Gdzie są dalsze części? Ale i tak ją gorąco polecam a sam jeszcze po nią sięgnę zapewne nie raz.


Moja wersja oswajania świata, to jazda rowerkiem przez ogrody herbaciane w okolicach Munnaru (Munnar, 2014 r.)


Recenzowanego e-booka można kupić m.in. w księgarni Ebookpoint: Nicolas Bouvier "Oswajanie świata".

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-07-31 18:17
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World - Peter Frankopan

Slight spoilers in this review, I know a few of you want to read it so I tried to keep it minimal. For a book that attempts to address thousands of years of human history in 521 pages, it does a solid job. I loved the first 400 pages or so, It is written in a gripping way that is often missing in non fiction. I learnt a lot about the world and I would have given it five stars had its sections on the holocaust, the nazis and American foreign policy in the middle east not been limited.


It descends towards the end into page upon page of America shaming, essentially blaming it entirely for taking on Britain's imperial mantle in the middle east and destabilizing it further during the cold war. I agree that the US is responsible in part for destabilizing some countries in the region and that this has led to a rise in ultra nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism, but the way this is written it is almost as though it's an opinion piece at times. It feels like Frankopan has decided the US is to blame entirely and looks for evidence to back up his claims, rather than going in with an objective outlook and trying to assess the evidence without bias.


But my criticisms of the later sections of the book are not to say it is also not largely interesting. I learnt things about weapon sales and oil that I previously had no knowledge of and my understanding of countries such as Iran and Iraq has improved as a result. Sections on Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were equally enlightening. 


Where the book really shines is in its early history of the formation of the east, sections on the viking Rus, the Islamic golden age, the slave trade and the mongols are fascinating. I had no idea that the word slaves comes from the slavs as they were heavy victims of Viking enslavement. I had no idea the mongols spread further after the death of Genghis Khan and were largely responsible for rebuilding areas they had pillaged. I even had no idea that Islam was almost spread into Europe as a dominant religion at its height, only to be repelled in France and knocked back by Christendom.


I went for a drink with a friend yesterday and he said something along the lines of, "I don't understand anyone who doesn't find history interesting." I have to say when I read a book like this one filled from the start to the end with dramatic feats, brutal politics, vast empires and powerful individuals it is hard to see how people can so easily dismiss history. I have only ever learnt from my interest in history, it has only served to increase my knowledge of the world around me and to help me make sense of what is going on in the world and for that reason, books like this that are filled with so many insights should be a must read for everyone. 


I'll leave this with my favourite quote in the book. 'Britain's politicians and diplomats were not made of the same stuff as the Francis Drakes and the other magnificent adventurers who created the empire; in fact, they are the tired sons of a long line of rich men, and they will lose their empire.' - Mussolini to his foreign minister Count Ciano.

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review 2016-07-26 20:23
Doesn't pull any punches
The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi was the June book from the feminist book club on Goodreads called Our Shared Shelf started by Emma Watson. This was the first graphic novel we've read in the group so I was understandably quite excited. This is the true story of the author's experience growing up in Tehran (the capital of Iran). The book opens at the beginning of the Islamic revolution in 1979. The first chapter is called The Veil and describes the incredulity of all of the children in her school when they are told that they are now required to wear the veil. Marjane is  bounces between unbelievably horrific imagery of torture to the seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations thrust upon Iranians. It's at times quite humorous but mostly it's appalling. The graphic depictions of torture, death, and oppression are raw and I felt gave our main character more depth than did the descriptions of her relationships and drug experimentation. It can be difficult to review a memoir (as I mentioned with Blankets) because it feels somewhat odd to say "I'm not a huge fan of the main character". However, it's the truth. I didn't really care for Marjane and I didn't really connect with her. I did connect with the plights of the people in her country. When she wrote about the unfairness of the law and the subterfuge that everyone committed just to have some semblance of humanity I felt deeply moved. The art style is not my favorite but neither is it terrible. I'd say this would be a good read for someone who wants to learn more about the people of Iran and their struggles but for me it's not one I'd reread and I don't think I'd read any more of her works. :-/ 5/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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