Sunday, January 27, 2013

In the mood for ... Venice

February comes with the Venice in February reading challenge, hosted by Bellezza and myself, and I am so looking forward to reading about Venice and rediscovering this amazing city. You can join us here, and the only rule is that you have to read at least one book Venice-related. The blog also has a long list of books about or set in Venice, so you only have to bring your mood with you... Here's what I am going to read and hopefully post about:

Peter Ackroyd's Venice, a Pure City (a non-fictional book about the city, comprising architecture and history) 
Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (a reread, together with Bellezza)
Michelle Lovric's The Book of Human Skin (set in Venice, the story seems quite good)

Also, check the blog for everything Venice - related: music, history and art. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Diego & Frida - Six Word Sum Up

Frida was an amazing woman with an incredible talent. She started to fascinate me back in high school, when I discovered her breathtaking paintings and her unbelievably aching yet admirable life. Since then, I have bought (or received) her art albums and read one or two books about her life.  In 2011, in Istanbul I even admired some of their paintings and sketches from the Gelman collection.

Most of Frida's work and life revolve around her love for Diego Rivera, whom she considers more than a lover. In a poem quoted by Le Clezio, she states that Diego is her best friend, her fellow artist, her father and mother, her child, her universe.

Art - the only way to exist
The book is written by Le Clezio, the French writer who was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature back in 2008. I expected more insight into Frida's life, but I guess I will have to read her diary, which is on my list. The book focuses on the romance between the Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, their political involvement and their travels to the United States and Europe. The biography is a short one, but it is the perfect introduction in the lives of the two painters, Diego the Womanizer and Frida the Sufferer... 

"L'infirmité progressive, l'enfermement dans la solitude de la douleur ont transformé le rêve d'enfant en fantasme, et donné une valeur presque mythique à cette autre elle-même, qu'elle scrute indéfiniment dans son miroir." p.65

Read for my pleasure, Birgit's Non - Fiction Challenge and New Authors Challenge :) 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Murakami Day

Today, Haruki Murakami turns 64, and since I am a huge fan of his work, I thought a short post is required. Short due to the fact that I have to get back to finishing his "Kafka on the shore", a book about a boy who runs away from home, an old man that can talk with cats and... talkative cats, of course. More about the book in a future review, but for now, here are some beautiful quotes from his novels:

 “But who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.”(Norwegian Wood)

“It's like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”(Kafka on the Shore)

“Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another? We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person's essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?”
(The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cards received from friends afar :)

You may remember about my participation in the Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange. I guess I live on a different planet and I was beginning to worry, but the card from my partner in crime, Bellezza, is finally here. And, because people simply love me, I also got one from Rikki :) What a lovely surprise from both of them. Bellezza sent me the wonderful geisha bookmark (we do share our love for Japanese culture and literature) and a funny Christmas card, and Rikki surprised me with a monthly calendar in the form of bookmarks and a homemade card. Now, all I need are the books and the time. The friends are already here :) Thank you!

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Challenges in 2012

2012 meant 10 Reading Challenges and a lot of great books and authors that I discovered. The 71 books read during what was supposed to be a very busy year made me realize that keeping track and getting involved in challenges is a highly positive thing. I simply loved reading Japanese literature and I will continue to do so in 2013. I am also looking forward to Venice in February Reading Challenge hosted by Bellezza and myself and I am optimistic I will be reading more than two books for Birgit's Tea and Books challenge.

Here is a glimpse of my 2012 in books:

1. Best book I read: The Museum of Innocence (Orhan Pamuk)

2. Book I was excited about and thought I was going to love more but I didn't: The Daylight Gate (Jeanette Winterson)

3. Most surprising book: Soni (Andrei Ruse)

4. Favorite new author of 2012: David Foenkinos

5. Book I recommended the most: Manuscript Found in Accra (Paulo Coelho)

6. Most thrilling book: Piercing (Ryu Murakami)

7. A book I will definitely enjoy re-reading soon: The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch)

8. Favorite cover book: Furious Love (Sam Kashner)

 9. Favorite quote from a book read in 2012: Nothing to Be Frightened of (Julian Barnes)
 “When we fall in love, we hope - both egotistically and altruistically - that we shall be finally, truly seen: judged and approved. Of course, love does not always bring approval: being seen may just as well lead to a thumbs-down and a season in hell.”

10. Worst book: Fear and Trembling (Amelie Nothomb)

Post inspired by Elena.