Writing the Seasons with Books: Summer

I’m a true believer that books don’t have to be read at specific times of the year. As long as the story is immersive, it doesn’t matter if it’s hot outside and snowing in the book. So, instead of recommending books that are appropriate for each season, this year I’m writing the four seasons with books. For that purpose, I take a look at my shelves and select books with titles beginning with the letters of the name of the season that is just starting. After doing that for spring, the time has come to welcome summer!

 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This novel focuses on five connected characters – an actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend and a young actress who is a member of the Travelling Symphony. The plot moves back and forth in time, before and after the spread of a deathly virus. Despite all the negative aspects that resulted from it, some cultural activities managed to subsist.

 

Uma Vida à Sua Frente (The Life Before Us) by Romain Gary

The only book that I’ve read by Romain Gary so far is narrated by Mohammed, a young boy who was being taken care of by Madame Rosa, a Jewish woman who was a former prostitute and Auschwitz survivor. It delves into their relationship and strong bond. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – April 2018

Unfortunately, I haven’t got many favourites to share with you today. After Easter, which I used as an excuse to eat far more chocolate than usual, April was for the most part an uneventful month. I read some books that I truly relished. However, I don’t remember doing or watching anything remarkable. So, brace yourselves for my shortest and perhaps most boring monthly favourites so far.

I finished four books last month – Through the Woods, Seeing People Off, Uma Vida à Sua Frente and Nutshell. My favourite, because it stayed with me the longest, was Uma Vida à Sua Frente (The Life Before Us) by Romain Gary. I really recommend this heart-warming book narrated by Mohammed, a young Muslim boy, who lived with Madame Rosa, a former prostitute and Auschwitz survivor. I smiled and almost cried while getting to know the common story of a motherless boy and the woman who took care of him.

Music-wise, I’ve got a really strange favourite, since it’s neither a song nor an album. It’s the promo video for the Arctic Monkey’s new albumTranquility Base Hotel & Casino – which will be released next week. I’m so excited for it that I listened to the promo countless times last month. I also really hope to like it, seeing that the latest albums and songs by some of the bands whose music I tend to enjoy (Muse, Arcade Fire and Franz Ferdinand) have been a disappointment lately. Continue reading

‘Uma Vida à Sua Frente’ (‘The Life Before Us’) by Romain Gary

My rating: 4 stars

I haven’t read many books by twentieth-century French authors, so I was both excited and nervous about finally picking up one by Romain Gary. He was born Roman Kacew in Vilnius but moved to France when he was only fourteen years old. Uma Vida à Sua Frente (The Life Before Us in the English translation) focuses on the strong and touching bond between a motherless boy and the woman who took care of him. This heart-warming story made me frequently smile and almost cry, while it exposed the possible consequences of getting old.

The narrator of the book is Mohammed, a young boy who lived with Madame Rosa, an ageing Jewish woman who was a former prostitute and Auschwitz survivor. She took care of various children, whose mothers were also prostitutes, in exchange for money. Mohammed was really curious about who his mother was and wondered how Madame Rosa knew that he was a Muslim if he had been living with her since he was little. Although Madame Rosa was Jewish, she wanted Mohammed to observe the traditions of his heritage.

The diversity of the French population is showcased throughout the book. Mohammed lived in Belleville, Paris, and had African, Arab and Jewish neighbours. There are references to casual xenophobia and racism which are not always connected with hate but with preconceived ideas about other people and cultures. The innocence with which Mohammed recalls some of the xenophobic and sexist remarks he overheard and sometimes repeated made me uncomfortably smile. Continue reading

Book Haul – March 2018

I bought a total of ten books in March. As I didn’t buy them all at once, it was only when I decided to write this post that I realised how many they were. I can’t truly remember the last time I bought so many books in just a month. The majority of them I’m going to read for my ‘EU still 28’ project, while others were at a discount and I don’t seem to be able to resist a bargain.

To know a little bit more about each of my choices, carry on reading!

 

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

I love the covers of the books by Daphne du Maurier from the Virago Modern Classics collection. Since I’m slightly afraid that they may vanish from the market before I have them all, once in a while, I buy one of them even if I don’t plan to read it soon. Jamaica Inn was recommended to me numerous times. It focuses on Mary Yellan, who, after the death of her mother, goes to her aunt Patience’s home. Continue reading