What are you currently reading? (part 2)

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linguoboy
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2018-10-22, 14:51

france-eesti wrote:It's not very much like Madame Bovary - Because Emma is still shown as a "victim", whereas I believe Anna isn't finally a very good character - as she abandons her husband, and both her children (and it is hinted that she doesn't love her daughter very much).

I think they're actually more similar than you give them credit for. Bovary is ultimately a victim of her own harebrained romantic notions, just like Anna.

My ex used Proust (in French) as his bedtime reading. He was rereading it, actually, and even though he loved it he also found it ridiculous at times. He once read me out an entire passage written using a verb tense that no one uses nowadays. And I remember him saying once, "If Proust's mother had just kissed him goodnight, he would have written much shorter books."

I'm bored with the books I'm reading so I bought and started another one, Pilátus by Magda Szabó, translated into English by George Szirtes as Iza's ballad. Somehow it didn't occur to me that a novel about an elderly widow moving with her daughter would begin with the story of how she became a widow, so the first few chapters have been tough going. I think it's honestly easier for me to read a novel with torture and gore than to read one where a quiet trusting soul gets put through the ringer by someone who "only wants what's best" for them.

Oh, and for Halloween, I started The old gods waken by Manly Wade Wellman. His contrived "Appalachian vernacular" is kinda irritating and it's been ridiculously exposition-heavy and hardly creepy at all so far, but I'm hoping it will get better.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-10-28, 3:39

Lately, all my reading has been confined to the study groups, and in particular, the study groups voron is also part of. This means that all the reading material has been in the very same language I am (or we are) studying. In Kurmanji, both of us together have been going through Hînker 3, which is the highest level of the Hînker textbooks by Asta Sêyemîn. In Arabic, specifically Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha), we've similarly been going through another textbook called 2 عربية بين يديك (`Arabiya Bayna Yadayk (Arabic Between Your Hands) 2).

In Turkish, I've been reading a set of short stories and attempting to translate it into English as voron fixes mistakes he finds me making. The set of short stories is called Gayet Ciddiyim! (I'm Really Serious!) and is by a famous comedian, screenwriter, and actress named Gülse Birsel. Both of us and another user started taking turns translating parts of it a few years ago. It's basically low-key humor about what it's like to be a housewife or homemaker.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Salajane » 2018-11-01, 13:20

ceid donn wrote:Anna Karenina is quite an adventure. I haven't read it since...decades ago now, when I was in my own Russian lit phase in college.

Did you major in Russian literature?
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Luís » 2018-11-06, 13:26

I've started reading The Story of Hebrew and I'm really enjoying it. It certainly motivates me to learn more Hebrew as well, that's for sure.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2018-11-08, 15:30

I finished reading The Early Chinese Empires, which was informative. Instead of a narrative history, it's organized into themed chapters on rural society, literature, etc. That doesn't make for the smoothest reading experience.

I also read Im Westen nichts Neues by Erich Maria Remarque. It's a good reminder of what a nightmare war is and how precious peace is.

I'm currently reading An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, a biography by Robert Dallek.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-11-12, 18:53

I'm going back into みんなの日本語 and have also been reading First Year Polish by Oscar Swan as well as one of the accompanying workbooks and Teach Yourself Irish by Dillon and Ó Cróinín.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2018-11-15, 21:56

I should start a thread on what books I'm buying because it would be more interesting than what books I'm reading. Today I stumbled across a compilation called《小說家族》which caught my eye for being in traditional script. In the list of contributors I only recognised 李碧華 a.k.a. Lillian Lee, best known in the Anglosphere as the author of the screenplay for the 1993 film Farewell my concubine, but I bought it anyway. Not only is the script traditional but the characters go top-to-bottom and right-to-left; I think the only other book I have which does that it a reproduction of《孫子兵法》written on bamboo slats.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2018-11-28, 17:19

I finished the Wellman and Szabó. The Wellman never got any better; it had some interesting details but was otherwise a rather by-the-numbers hero's quest with supernatural elements. The Szabó, on the other hand, was terrific. It was a genuinely heart-wrenching tale of two people who are at home in such different worlds that they can never really comprehend each other and wreck each other's lives despite the powerful love they feel for each other--and for once, this wasn't in the context of a heterosexual romance!

My latest read is a bit more conventional: Eva dorme from Francesca Melandri (translated by Katherine Gregor as Eva sleeps). It's a family saga set in Südtirol/Alto Adige and rather overstuffed with folkloric details, but I eat that shit up. It's interesting to learn a bit more about the secessionist movement but depressing as hell because it all plays out according to the same awful script: local non-state actors take action to draw attention to inequalities and the state responds as it's programmed to do, with excessive force that only worsens the problem. In any case, I just started it last night and I'm already a quarter of the way through it.

In my short story anthologies, the latest selection was from Dom DeLillo, so I can finally say I've read him. I can see why he's so highly regarded as a stylist and also why there are plenty of detractors who feel he's not saying anything particularly interesting. I'm more than halfway through the European anthology and I think so far the authors I'm most impressed by are Tokarczuk, Sprenger, Mantel, Kalinauskaitė, and Kristín Eiríksdóttir. I've read Mantel's Wolf Hall and it's impressive to see that she's as good at contemporary fiction as she is at historical; I have a novel from Tokarczuk that I hope to get to this winter.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2018-12-03, 4:31

I finally finished 빛의 제국 (Your Republic Is Calling You). It was a little too ambitious for my level of Korean, but I made it through and learned a ton of Korean from it. I enjoyed the book, but I will definitely need to give it a reread one day to appreciate it more fully. The character development was impressive, especially considering how tricky it is to convincingly portray the way North Koreans experience life in the South.

I'm currently reading My Name Is Red (Benim Adım Kırmızı) by Orhan Pamuk. I am desperate to read this in the original, but as I am certainly many years away from gaining any sort of reading proficiency in Turkish, the English translation will have to suffice for now...
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2018-12-03, 15:57

Yasna wrote:I'm currently reading My Name Is Red (Benim Adım Kırmızı) by Orhan Pamuk. I am desperate to read this in the original, but as I am certainly many years away from gaining any sort of reading proficiency in Turkish, the English translation will have to suffice for now...

I still think it's his most successful work. I keep reading his books hoping that another will approach the brilliance of this and being disappointed. The least disappointing are his autobiographical works (esp. Istanbul—Hatıralar ve Şehir) and I think it's no coincidence that the parts I like best in Benim Adım Kırmızı are semiautobiographical.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


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