April Box of Treats

Tempus fugit.

It’s April already… With Sarajevo Book Fair and Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon due in just two weeks!

Even though it can be rather underwhelming, the Book Fair is one of the highlights of the year – a vast hall full of books has its appeals no matter what. While I’m generally searching for old books, I still like to know what’s been published recently, what’s been translated, and, every once in a while, I like to take my chances with (relatively) young authors I’ve never heard of.

And Readathon – it is a small holiday. This will be my second time to participate, yet it already feels important – a day of peace and quiet (or so it is in my imagination, as well as in my hopes!), with clear skies, open windows, tea and delicious food. Good books imply, of course. I thought I could use the day to conduct a small research – I would read the first paragraphs of all the unread books I own in order to discover which would be the ones to draw me in and why, and vice versa. The idea was interesting but not attractive enough. I want bites and there would only be crumbs, even if very delicious ones. So, I decided to read stories and novellas instead. The list, at the moment, is as follows:

  • Hungry Stones and Other Stories. Rabindranath Tagore
  • Chinese Novellas. Hans Rudelsberger (ed.)
  • Among Gnomes and Trolls
  • Anthony and Cleopatra. William Shakespeare
  • Synnøve Solbakken. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
  • Mademoiselle Scudéry. E.T.A. Hoffmann
  • The Garden Party. Katherine Mansfield
  • Rewards and Fairies. Rudyard Kipling
  • Jamila. Chinghiz Aitmatov
  • A Memory (A Reputation Left Behind). Olav Duun
  • Humorous Stories. Branko Ćopić
  • Short Stories. Anton Chekhov
  • St. Petersburg Tales. Nikolai Gogol
  • Collected Novellas. Kjell Askildsen
  • Rashomon and Other Stories. Ryunosuke Akutagawa
  • La Petite Fadette. George Sand
  • Angels and Insects. A.S. Byatt
  • The Cloven Viscount. Italo Calvino
  • The Pine Tree That Laughed. Justinas Marcinkevičius
  • Around the World in 80 Days. Jules Verne
  • Tales From the Perilous Realm. J.R.R. Tolkien (Kindle)
  • The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy. Johanna Sinisalo (ed.) (Kindle)

readathon choice


5 thoughts on “April Box of Treats

  1. Some photos of the book fair would be great my friend, I love to see masses of books together. Was it a challenge to only read the first bits of books, I’m not sure i could pull myself away from an amazing first paragraph.

    1. I will make sure to take some photos of the books, and the stalls perhaps. The Fair opens next week!

      I thought about only reading first lines for Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon, scheduled for 25th (ten days to go!), but I changed my mind because I want something more substantial. I will read short stories and novellas, and leave this first-lines-experiment for some other occasion.
      I should think it would not be hard to pull myself away from an exciting line or paragraph, but, as there would certainly be many, I would end up with a huge problem – deciding which one to pick up first after the experiment is over!

      1. As if picking one’s next book is not difficult enough, short stories and novellas are at least something you can finish quickly and still have the luxury to ponder then for a while.

        I look forward to your photos and one with you posing would be great as well!

  2. Some excellent titles in that list. I haven’t read them all, of course, but the ones I have are great stuff. Tagore’s short stories are inconsistent – he s primarily a poet – but at his best, he was very fine. “The Hungry Stones” is a ghost story, of sorts: it’s very evocative, and depicts that vague borderline between reality and fantasy, where the two merge into each other. I love the stres of Gogol & of Chekhov, very different though they are, and Antony and Cleopatra is possibly my favourite Shakespeare play.

    1. The list is a mixture of authors I love and am familiar with (Gogol, Checkov, Bjørnson, Calvino..) and authors of whom I know nothing (like Marcinkevičius, Mansfield, Sand, Askildsen) – to balance certainty and adventure.

      I know only a little bit about Tagore. We read and analyzed some of his poems back in high school and, four years ago, there was an event, a literary evening celebrating 150 years since his birth. Much has been said about his life and his poetry, about his dramatic opus, his influence and importance; couple of actors read from Gitanjali, three musicians played on traditional instruments and we got to taste some Indian delicacies. The atmosphere was wonderful.
      The introduction to the evening was special as well – half way to the Institute, I was caught in a heavy summer rain and arrived soaking wet, so, by the end of the event, there was a conspicuous puddle of water underneath my chair… Happy memories.

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