Finally I have time enough to properly note down the books I acquired the previous month. On two occasions, while working on a particularly long and exhausting project, I took a refuge in a quiet walk and a book-browse. Twenty one new friend is the outcome.
- Spotted Dog Running On Seashore/Cranes Fly Early. Chinghiz Aitmatov
- The House of Insects. Ottó Tolnai
- Season of Migration to the North. Tayeb Salih
- Reeds and Mud. Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
- The Ant Heap. Margit Kaffka
- War with the Newts. Karel Čapek
Aitmatov is a recently discovered treasure trove. After it has been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long, I read Jamilia and was awe-stricken. Mesmerized by his writing, by Kyrgyzstan he describes, I proceeded to read the other two novellas in the collection I own (The First Teacher and The Red Scarf). Then I found an English translation of Spotted Dog Running On Seashore which just cemented my decision to seek out every book he ever wrote. My happiness was even greater when I learned that almost all of them were translated to Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian. Stumbling on Spotted Dog Running On Seashore and Cranes Fly Early was a bliss!
Tolnai I knew as a poet. Leafing through The House of Insects one could not fail to notice that it is an experimental novel, which got me interested. Seeing it contains an afterword titled A Novel as a Spiderweb I had no choice but to take it home.
Salih and Ibáñez I have never read. The afterwords (these books were published back in the days when there were no blurbs on the back covers) sounded interesting, so I put them in a bag. Back home I discovered I actually had Season of Migration to the North on my reading list. Great!
The Ant Heap was a pleasant surprise. I have read somewhere (on a blog, probably) about Margit Kaffka, but never read anything she wrote. Now that I have it near, I will not wait long to pick it up.
Čapek. I have been eyeing War with the Newts for nearly six months, and this time I decided to take it. Knowing his wit and humor, it can hardly be anything but wonderful.
- The Elements of Style. William Strunk Jr. and E.B White
- Bambi. Felix Salten
- The Voices of Marrakesh. Elias Canetti
- Barabbas/The Sibyl/The Death of Ahasuerus. Pär Lagerkvist
- The Loss of El Dorado. V.S. Naipaul
The Elements of Style and Bambi were found on a yard sale, hilariously cheap. Again, I haven’t read anything by E.B. White, but I knew something about his books which is why I was interested in finding out what he had to say about style. Bambi I bought mainly because it’s a classic. Maybe I shouldn’t have – I don’t know if I will ever read it again.
A trip to Marrakesh sounded particularly inviting, even more so when the one in charge was Elias Canetti. Looking forward to this one!
Pär Lagerkvist.. I cannot remember how long it has been since I read his novels, but I remember I read them eagerly – each and every single one that city library had.. Good to have my own copies – I will definitely be getting back to them at a certain point.
Spotted and immediately grabbed Naipaul. Another interesting trip to take!
- Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen
- The Lost Shore. Anna Langfus
- Tears of the Giraffe. Alexander McCall Smith
- The Wind in the Willows. Kenneth Grahame
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Carson McCullers
I do own it in translation, but since I can understand the original perfectly well and since it’s one of my favorite novels I had to have Sense and Sensibility in English!
Again, one of the books I found intriguing upon reading the blurb – The Lost Shore by Anna Langfus. Never heard of her before. Very interested to see what’s between the covers.
I am not sure why I bought Tears of the Giraffe. I suppose I intended it for those stressful, working days that call for an urgent escape in the form of ”light reading”. Another one from a yard sale, very cheap. As well as The Wind in the Willows – beloved children’s classic that I haven’t read yet. Time to do so.
Ever since I read it couple of years ago, I’ve been looking for a copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – amazing piece of literature that I have been telling about to anyone who was willing to listen. It’s translation, and the decision was to stop buying books translated from English, but…
- Collected Short Stories. E.M. Forster
- The Grandmother. Božena Němcová
- Villette. Charlotte Brontë
- Patterns of Childhood. Christa Wolf
The blurb seemed interesting, so I took Forster’s Collected Short Stories home. I am not sure why I’ve never read anything by Forster. I suspect something that Virginia Woolf wrote in one of her essays kept me away.
Božena Němcová I know only by name. Time to find out more, I think.
It’s funny with Villette – every time I am on a fair or at the book market or in a bookshop I can never remember whether I have it or not, so I never buy it. Couple of weeks ago I stood in front of my British literature shelf, internalizing the fact that there was no Villette on it. It worked. I knew I would find it at the market and here it is now, all mine.
Funny thing with Wolf as well – even though I read only Medea (of which I don’t remember a thing) I feel a strange compulsion to accumulate her books. Patterns of Childhood now gets to join its sisters Medea, Cassandra, No Place on Earth and Divided Heaven on a German shelf.