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text 2017-10-16 21:26
Sunday Soup (?) ... but on a Monday

... because I forgot to post this yesterday. The benefit of posting the Sunday Soup post today, of course, is that I came home to find that I had received some books that I had ordered. Yay.


Anyway, we were supposed to get the remnants of hurricane Ophelia today. While it was very wet and incredibly dark all day (it was pitch black at around 2:30pm!), there was no wind. Thank goodness! I mean, it was unlikely that the predicted winds would hit this part any harder than the regular stiff breeze we get, but still... Unfortunately, it appears Ireland has seen some storm damage.


This whole topic of tropical storms and all gave me an appetite for chili yesterday. That is, veggie chili in my case, which for some reason I wanted to have in soft tortilla shells, and which made enough to have left over chili tonight (because it tastes even better on the second day).



In case you were wondering about the lack of cheese, there is some mozzarella at the bottom. 


The Muriel Spark book, which you can't really see, is Spark's Satire, which contains three novellas: RobinsonThe Abbess of Crewe, and Aiding and Abetting


Hope your Monday was not too bad either. ;D

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review 2017-05-12 15:15
Die So Geliebte (Lei Cosi Amata)
Die So Geliebte. Roman Um Annemarie Schwarzenbach - Melania G. Mazzucco

Die So Geliebte (The So Beloved), originally published in Italian as Lei Cosi Amata, a fictionalised biography of Annemarie Schwarzenbach, on of the 1930s travel writers that I have become a fan of over the last couple of years, really quite surprised me.


I'm always hesitant about fictionalised biography because so many authors try to add an angle (usually a soppy romance - blergh!) that wasn't really there, so when I come across a book that does not dwell on this, is researched well, includes a lot of details and dates, and even goes to some effort to describe the research process in the afterword, it is exciting.

Of course, there are still aspects that I could criticise in the book: I still only have a vague concept of what Mazzucco describes as the betrayal of the MC (Schwarzenbach) on her family or the "disgrace" she's brought on her family, or that some of the re-imagined conversations were overly dramatic and sounded somewhat unnatural, or that some of the episodes in Schwarzenbach's life were missing, like her famous trip to Afghanistan with Kini Maillart.


However, these small criticisms fade when I look at the intent of the book, which was to tell the story of a young person in the 1920s and 30s who was searching for her own identity and purpose in a world that seemed to be falling apart. It was not the intent of the book to be a factual chronology of Schwarzenbach's life but to give context to it. And in this it really succeeded. 


(Btw, it is kinda ironic that the cover of the book is from a film called "Die Reise nach Kafiristan", which is loosely based on the trip with Maillart that is missing from this book.)

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text 2017-02-15 14:50
This is what happens when...
The Harmony Silk Factory - Tash Aw

I go to the library without first establishing the firm resolve to only return books and pick up what I had reserved.


So, apparently, I now joined a book group. The meeting is next Wednesday. 


I'd better get reading...


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photo 2017-02-04 16:11
Found on FB
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text 2016-08-13 21:34
Ed Book Fest - Ali Smith

So, this happened today at the Edinburgh Book Fest.....



Ali Smith read from her new - not-even-published-yet - book. She only finished "Autumn" recently and handed it to her publisher on Monday. Monday, people! This was the first EVER reading of it.


I mean, I would have loved anything she would have picked, but this was special. Not only was this the first time she shared her new work with an audience, but the parts we heard were excellent. She's trying something new with this novel - which will be the first of a cycle of four, all tied to a season. She said she wants them all to be standalone books (so it's not a series - thank goodness! - I'm not good with series) but they follow a common thread or theme.

But of course, this is Ali Smith. I would have been surprised if her new book was not experimental!


The other aspect that drew me and most of the audience in, was that she picked  discussions of a decidedly current nature to feature in the new book: storytelling as the act of welcoming people, Brexit, self-doubt and self-creation or the creation of other selves, the recurring story of plight, refuge, and, well, welcoming. All bound by the discussion of time and people being present in time.


I'm rambling.


Of course, without having read the new book this is just what I got from today's reading, but I am super excited. Ali Smith is one of the smartest, kindest, most sensitive and most intelligible writers I have read. She's also one of the funniest. The fun side, of course came out at today's reading, too, as the reading and interview was guided by her bestie Jackie Kay. For those not familiar with Jackie Kay, she is the current Makar (Scottish National Poet), and is an awesome writer in her own right. Check her out! 


I am also super excited still that there was a book signing after the reading. I must admit I had a bit of a lump in my throat when I got meet Ali, but the weirdest thing happened:


I had taken two books - my hardback first edition of Artful and a copy of Hotel World which I wanted to send to my friend. However, by coincidence - or fate? - my friend's name is the same as Ali's new novel, so when I asked if she could make this one out to someone called Autumn, she not only wrote a brilliant dedication but also gave me the cover page of the manuscript she read from earlier, so I can send it off together with my friend's copy of the book.


No need to add that I have been beside myself since.





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