Tag Archives: Elif Shafak

March (*ahem* and February…) Reading Round-Up

I seem to have gone AWOL the past couple of months, with not much time for reading or writing at all sadly, which is why this is a double-edition Reading Round-Up.

In February, I managed to read a rather depressing sum total of ONE book – Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, although even that is stretching it a little as most of that was listened to in January. I got about halfway through A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry but decided to put it back on my shelves for a while as I kept picking it up for 20 minutes here or there and not really giving it the attention it deserves. I also took part in the Literary Blog Hop Giveaway and sent out my prize of Tigers in Red Weather to a lucky reader. I honestly cannot remember what else I got up to in February, aside from working a whole heap and flat hunting! Thankfully, the flat hunt is now over and March has been a quicker month reading-wise.

Capture

In March, I’ve made it through:

Alex by Pierre Lemaître
Gone are the Leaves by Anne Donovan (out at the beginning of May)
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
(proof copy – out in June 2014)
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

I also managed to attend a great event at the wonderful Looking Glass Books bookshop in Edinburgh’s Quarter Mile, the launch of the 4th edition of The Istanbul Review, a literary journal based in both Istanbul and Edinburgh. Elif Shafak did a reading from her novel The Forty Rules of Love and did an audience Q&A, speaking eloquently on all things from Turkey, free speech, spiritualism, gender equality and writing. There’s a great review of the evening over on the Writer Pictures website.

Shafak’s novel Honour is sitting on my Wish List at the moment – I will be reading it soon I hope. It was such a lovely evening, and if you’re in Edinburgh, do check out Looking Glass Books’ event calendar as there is always loads going on!

I’m currently reading Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch and listening to The Son by Philipp Meyer on audiobook and although both are quite different (The Son is pretty brutal!) I am really enjoying both of them. I haven’t got any major reading plans coming up but I do hope to get around to reading The Luminaries at some point – one of my book club buddies also has it on her bookshelf so it would be great to suggest this as our next title. I’m still half-way through my review of The People in the Photo which I will complete soon hopefully.

In April, I’m looking forward to moving house mainly! I’ve cleared out many books already and I feel that I’ve been fairly ruthless by my standards so far, although my boyfriend may not agree… I’ll also be attending London Book Fair for the first time, and no doubt reading loads in preparation. Another busy month is ahead but I’m looking forward to getting in to the spring. Hopefully the weather in Edinburgh will get in gear soon and catch up!

Happy reading in April x

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Literary musings

Wish Lists and Prize Lists

I have a few books to add on to my wish list – all inspired by reviews on other book blogs and prize lists that seem to be coming in abundance this month.

The first on my list is Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman which I first read about on Winstonsdad’s blog. It is on the shortlist for the International Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) and I think it sounds like a wonderful – and weighty – read. I’m a stickler for Spanish and Latin American fiction as I love the culture although this novel does span several different countries. The blurb on the back of the US edition:

Traveller of the Century

Searching for an inn, the enigmatic traveler Hans stops in a small city on the border between Saxony and Prussia. The next morning, Hans meets an old organ-grinder in the market square and immediately finds himself enmeshed in an intense debate—on identity and what it is that defines us—from which he cannot break free.
Indefinitely stuck in Wandernburg until his debate with the organ-grinder is concluded, he begins to meet the various characters who populate the town, including a young freethinker named Sophie. Though she is engaged to be married, Sophie and Hans begin a relationship that defies contemporary mores about female sexuality and what can and cannot be said about it.

Read the review on Winstonsdad’s blog here.

And see what else is on the shortlist over on the Booktrust’s website.

This also leads onto another author involved in this year’s IFFP, as one of the judges. Elif Şafak is of Turkish descent and I am quite intrigued by her novel Honour. I actually read a review of this a month or so ago on JoV’s Book Pyramid and had mentally added it to my list then. I haven’t read any Turkish fiction and I would like to do so – I have visited the country several times and love learning about the language and culture of other countries – which is why foreign fiction is always so interesting to me. Turkey is the market focus country for this year’s London Book Fair (happening this week) so I expect there will be lots of people talking about Turkish fiction this year. There is also an interesting article in The Telegraph today which discusses Turkey, literature and censorship which you can read here.

This book is also on the longlist for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction – the shortlist is announced this afternoon so I will be looking out for that!

The blurb:

Honour

My mother died twice…. And so begins the story of Esma a young Kurdish woman in London trying to come to terms with the terrible murder her brother has committed. Esma tells the story of her family stretching back three generations; back to her grandmother and the births of her mother and Aunt in a village on the edge of the Euphrates. Named Pembe and Jamila, meaning Pink and Beautiful rather than the names their mother wanted to call them, Destiny and Enough, the twin girls have very different futures ahead of them all of which will end in tragedy on a street in East London in 1978.

Read the review of Honour on JoV’s Book Pyramid blog here.

I also was intrigued by Savidge Reads’ review of The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan which you can read here. She is a Scottish writer and one whose name I have seen popping up more and more. In fact, she was named just yesterday as one of Granta’s 20 brightest young writers. The full list is here – it will be interesting to see how this affects the writers’ careers and to watch out for them in the future. The blurb from Fagan’s The Panopticon:

The Panopticon

Fifteen-year old Anais Hendricks is smart, funny and fierce, but she is also a child who has been let down, or worse, by just about every adult she has ever met. Sitting in the back of a police car, she finds herself headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders where the social workers are as suspicious as its residents. But Anais can’t remember the events that have led her there, or why she has blood on her school uniform…

These all sound like great reads – I’ll be adding them to my Wish List today!

5 Comments

Filed under Wish List