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review 2016-03-21 00:58
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih
Season of Migration to the North - Laila Lalami,Tayeb Salih,Denys Johnson-Davies

A novella about a Sudanese man who returns from studying abroad and meets a sex-crazed psychopath who also lived in Europe and wants to tell the narrator all about his encounters with women, aka “his prey,” in which he encouraged them to exoticize him and finally drove them all to suicide with the power of his penis. Except one, whom he married, then murdered (not a spoiler). For real.

Okay, look, this is a well-written book that manages to say a lot about colonialism in relatively few pages (though the writing is on the dense side so it’ll take longer than you may expect). Also, most of it is spent in the head of the narrator, who seems like a thoughtful and sensible person. Unfortunately, none of the women in it bear more than a passing resemblance to real human beings. From a cultural literacy standpoint I’m glad to have read this, but it left me feeling icky.

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text 2015-12-29 22:23
Buchvorstellung: "Der Stern des Seth" - ein Steampunk-Abenteuer-Roman.
Der Stern des Seth: ein Steampunk Abenteuer Roman - Amalia Zeichnerin

Wir schreiben das Jahr 1885. Der technische Fortschritt und die Industrialisierung sind kaum aufzuhalten.
Automobile, das Dampfnetz, die Verbreitung der Elektrizität und die Luftschifffahrt sind nur einige Beispiele für die technischen Errungenschaften der letzten Jahrzehnte.


Das Britische Empire verfügt auf der ganzen Welt über zahlreiche Kolonien und Protektorate. Im Sudan schwelt seit vier Jahren ein Konflikt zwischen der anglo-ägyptischen Herrschaft und den zahlreichen Anhängern des politischen Anführers Muhammad Ahmad, genannt Mahdi.


Doch auch das Mystische fasziniert die Menschen dieser Zeit – Okkultismus, Seáncen und andere esoterische Praktiken erfreuen sich großer Beliebtheit – denn wie es bereits bei Shakespeare heißt: „Es gibt mehr Dinge zwischen Himmel und Erde, als Eure Schulweisheit sich träumen lässt.“ Vor diesem Hintergrund machen sich ein Erfinder, ein Wissenschaftler, eine Journalistin, ein kriegsversehrter Sergeant und ein Archäologe auf zu einer Expedition in den Sudan, um dort ein sagenumwobenes altägyptisches Artefakt zu finden. Doch was für Pläne hat ihr adliger Auftraggeber damit?


Diesen Roman habe ich im März 2014 begonnen zu schreiben durch meine Faszination gegenüber der viktorianischen Epoche, der Steampunk Literatur, -Szene und -Subkultur, sowie meinem Interesse am antiken Ägypten und Großbritannien.

Warum ich mich nicht auf Verlagssuche begeben habe? Ich möchte ALLES selbst machen und bevorzuge die absolute künstlerische Freiheit:
Covergestaltung, Werbemaßnahmen, Lesungen – nur Lektorat,  Korrekturlesung, Druck und Vertrieb überlasse ich gern Profis.


Das Cover
Dies habe ich selbst gestaltet, unter der Verwendung folgender Bilder (erworben bei Fotolia):
“Anubis und Horus” von Frenta
“attractive look” von Andrey Kiselev
Das Bild “Anubis und Horus” ziert auch die Rückseite.


“Der Stern des Seth”
Amalia Zeichnerin
296 Seiten
Druck und Vertrieb: Books on demand, Norderstedt
ISBN: 9783739220338
Taschenbuch: 12,00 €
Das E-Book erscheint ca. Mitte oder Ende Januar 2016


weitere Informationen gibt es hier:

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review 2014-07-18 22:59
Girl Soldier
Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda's Children - Faith J.H. McDonnell,Grace Akallo

from the Publisher's Description: "For several decades a brutal army of rebels has been raiding villages in northern Uganda, kidnapping children and turning them into soldiers or wives of commanders. More than 30,000 children have been abducted over the last twenty years and forced to commit unspeakable crimes. Grace Akallo was one of these. Her story, which is the story of many Ugandan children, recounts her terrifying experience."


The book has two authors/narrators, Faith and Grace, who alternate chapters. Faith provides straight-forward, historical background information on Uganda and the country's leading political, religious, and historical figures like Idi Amin and Joseph Kony. Faith's chapters are obviously meticulously researched and help the reader understand the roots of the civil war.


Grace, on the other hand, is a former child soldier who takes the reader on a disturbing, frightening journey from the time Grace was kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army in the middle of the night, to her harrowing experiences as a child soldier, to her final walk to freedom. Ultimately, it is Grace's faith that sees her through.


While I found the alternating chapters off-putting, other people might enjoy the emotional break between the chapters of Grace's harrowing tale. One thing's for certain: Grace Akallo has an important and heart breaking story to tell. 

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text 2014-01-08 02:50
Best of 2013 and 1913, Part Three: 2013 Non-Fiction/Memoir
Autobiography - Morrissey
Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke - Rob Sheffield
Ziggyology: A Brief History Of Ziggy Stardust - Simon Goddard
Wired Up!: Glam, Proto Punk, and Bubblegum European Picture Sleeves, 1970-1976 - Jeremy Thompson,Mary Blount,Tommy Chung,Phil King,Robin Wills
Bowie: Album by Album - Paolo Hewitt
Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir - Nicole J. Georges
The Lost Daughter: A Memoir - Mary Williams

Top Seven:


Autobiography by Morrissey

This book gets the #1 spot even though actually I haven’t finished it yet. I figure you can only read a book for the first time once and I want to savor it. My girlfriend keeps all three copies we own locked in a trunk so that I won’t tear through it.


It is so rare that I can include human interest in this list! My girlfriend reads one copy while the other lies in readiness.


Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield

I wrote a long review here. This is a memoir about karaoke and true love.


Ziggyology: A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust by Simon Goddard

The author has some odd ideas, and the first 90 pages are about kabuki theater and the origin of the universe, but this is a really cool book. The conceit is that David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona was like a real person taking over Bowie’s life. There are a lot of crazy coincidences that will blow your mind. My favorite parts were 1) when Bowie finally saw the Velvet Underground live and then met Lou Reed but it turned out it wasn’t really Lou Reed at all 2) everything about Marc Bolan; he is presented as David Bowie’s doppelganger who is trying to sabotage him. Also there are some very nice photos, and the book design is gorgeous.

The cover


Wired Up: Glam, Proto Punk & Bubblegum European Picture Sleeves 1970-1976. ed by Mary Blount and Jeremy Thompson

A collection of insanely cool &/or indescribably weird ‘70s album covers, beautifully laid out art-book style. The pages open flat. There are some interesting short essays and interviews too. A few well-known bands are included, but the criteria is just distinctive European album cover art from a time when people would buy records based on what the sleeve looked like. My girlfriend gave me this book for Chuannukah which was great because it was something I really wanted but never would have gotten for myself.

So my girlfriend has learned how to have lucid dreams, and the next frontier is for me to mentally send her a picture while she is sleeping, which we both know is impossible but it’s fun to try. I used an image from this book for one of the pictures. This practice is very restful for me because when I wake up in the middle of the night instead of worrying about one thing and another, I can just think, “Red background, two glam Asian girls with long hair in kimono-style minidresses and silver knee high go go boots, Ride Captain Ride.” Then sometimes I fall right back to sleep.

Bowie: Album by Album by Paolo Hewitt

I debated with myself over whether or not to include this because I haven’t really read it yet, just looked at the pictures, so I wasn’t sure if it counted as a book I’ve read. Last year I didn’t include David Bowie Styles in my Best of 2012 because I only looked at the pictures. But I decided that I did read this in a coffee-table-book kind of way, even though this is more than a coffee table book. It’s just lovely.


Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole Georges

Fun, touching, lesbian, Portlandish graphic novel about a young woman finding out that her father is alive even though her mother said he was dead.


The Lost Daughter by Mary Williams

A memoir about growing up poor in a chaotic, neglectful family while her Black Panther father was imprisoned. One bright spot was going to a posh summer camp run by Jane Fonda. Mary confided in Jane Fonda about how she had been sexually assaulted, and Jane Fonda adopted her (in every sense except legally.) Mary had many adventures including working in Antarctica and running a non-profit for Sudanese “lost boys,” and then finally reconnected with her biological family. I felt there was something missing, a sense of the writer being able to sum up her whole life so far and say what it was all about, but I didn’t really care because it was interesting.


What Else?


Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road From Debt to Freedom by Ken Ilgunas

Kid pays off his college debt in three years by working in grim conditions in Alaska, then decides he can get through grad school with no debt if he lives in his van, and learns what freedom and autonomy really are.


After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey

There was always some mystery surrounding Hainey’s father’s death, so Hainey finally decided to use his journalistic skills to uncover the truth. 


American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage

You don’t have to agree with Dan Savage on everything to like this book. The parts that I remember best are when he has the head of the National Organization for Marriage over to his house for dinner so he can debate him, and the heartbreaking part when his mom dies.


Next Up: my favorite part! Best of 1913, and bonus 1813 and 2113!

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review 2014-01-05 16:22
Season of Migration to the North
Season of Migration to the North - Tayeb Salih,الطيب صالح,Denys Johnson-Davies

bookshelves: published-1966, winter20092010, african-continent, fraudio, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, afr-sudan, radio-3

Read from January 21 to 22, 2010


** spoiler alert ** Season of Migration to the North
By Tayeb Salih
Translated by Denys Johnson-Davies
Dramatised by Philip Palmer.

From the description: The late Tayeb Salih's wry and sensual masterpiece has been described as the most important Arab novel of the 20th century. First published in Arabic in 1966, ten years after Sudan's independence, it's a hall of mirrors which conjures poetry and suspense from the ambivalence of the colonial legacy. A young man returning from studying in Europe to his beloved village 'on the bend in the Nile' unravels a tale which will lead to murder.

Suleyman......Beru Tessema
Mustafa Sa'eed....Zubin Varla
Mahjoub........Philip Arditti
Hosna Bint Mahmoud.Farzana Dua Elahe
Hajj Ahmed......Nadim Sawalha
Wad Rayyes.....Oscar James
Bint Majzoub......Ellen Thomas
Jean Morris......Donnla Hughes
Isabella Seymour...Carolyn Pickles

with Mitchell Zhangazha, Jonathan Tafler, Chris Pavlo,
Inam Mirza, Jill Cardo, and Dan Starkey

Produced and directed by Jonquil Panting.

Notes from BBC:
The most celebrated Arabic novel of the twentieth century is a sensual and shocking thriller from Sudan. Its fluid structure and elusive tone have defied many attempts to dramatise it in different media, but make it uniquely suited for radio. This dramatisation, the only one completed during Salih's lifetime, was made for BBC Radio 3 last year.

Not even the work of the recent Nobel Prize Winner, Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz, has achieved the literary status of SEASON OF MIGRATION TO THE NORTH by Sudanese-bornTayeb Salih. First published in Arabic in 1966, this short novel's translation into English in 1969 triggered a series of translations into all major languages, from Norwegian to Japanese, and a cult following. In 1989, it became the first Arabic novel to be published in the Penguin Classics series, and in 2001 was selected by a panel of Arab writers and critics as the most important Arab novel of the twentieth century. Its intelligent and richly poetic engagement with the ambivalences of the colonial legacy have made it a book which now features on University syllabuses around the world, and about which doctorates are written. Conversely it is still regularly banned and unbanned in states throughout the Arab world, and is currently banned in the place where it is so memorably set, the tiny rural villages of remote northern Sudan.

A young man returns to his beloved home 'on the bend of the Nile' after seven years studying in London, where he is proud to have completed a doctorate on the life of a minor English poet. He is comforted to find that the traditional life of the village he loves hasn't changed at all. Except for one man. A mysterious stranger has married into the village and settled down to farm. Then the stranger seeks him out. He has a tale to tell, and only a scholar can hear it. But the telling of the tale will lead them both into two brutally sexual murders, and turn the idyllic world of their village into hell.

THE WRITER: Tayeb Salih was born in the Northern Province of the Sudan in 1929, and studied at the University of Khartoum, before leaving for the University of London. Coming from a background of small farmers and religious teachers, his original intention was to work in agriculture. Except, however, for a brief spell as a schoolmaster before coming to Britain, his working life was in broadcasting, including a spell as Head of Drama for the BBC's Arabic Service. He published four novels and a collection of short stories. His novella "The Wedding of Zein" was made into a drama in Libya, and a Cannes Festival prize-winning film by the Kuwaiti filmmaker Khalid Siddiq in the late 1970s.
For more than 10 years, Salih wrote a weekly column for the London-based Arabic language newspaper, "al Majalla," in which he explored various literary themes. He later became director general of the Ministry of Information in Doha, Qatar. He spent the last 10 years of his working career with UNESCO in Paris, where he held various posts and was finally UNESCO's representative in the Gulf States. Tayeb Salih died in London on 18th February 2009.

Producer Jonquil Panting.

Broadcast on:
BBC Radio 3, 8:00pm Sunday 17th January 2010
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