Some 1511 pages and 92 days later.
Now that the third quarter of the year is behind us, this post doesn’t come as a surprise. So let’s get to it.
Theogony | Works and Days by Hesiod
Hesiod is one of the oldest known Greek poets. In his work Theogony, he explained a systematic genealogy of the gods from the beginning of the world until the present order. And in Works and Days, he shares moral and practical advice for those living in Greek society, discussing local ethics and superstition.
As someone who knows little to nothing about antiquity, I knew it will be quite a challenge. And it truly was, however, the excitement to be reading something completely different worked its magic. I’m looking forward to discovering more works by antiquity writers and philosophers.
Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest
Hold Your Own a modern retelling of an ancient Greek myth of the gender-switching, clairvoyant Tiresias. This poetry collection has four sequences: ‘childhood’, ‘manhood’, ‘womanhood’ and ‘blind profit’. As you can probably guess the poems are about youth and growing up, identity, sex, love and social status.
At first, I was hesitant to pick up Hold You Own thinking I won’t be able to understand it. However, Tempest ability to convey emotions and thoughts with such simplicity is remarkable. And as someone who only recently started to explore the poetry world, I truly appreciated her writing as it didn’t scare me off.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Swing Time tells a story about two girls that dream to be dancers. One has talent, other has ideas. Throughout the book, the reader learns about differences in the upbringing of these girls, but most importantly witnesses a sudden end of their friendship.
Just like with other Zadie’s books I found myself excited to watch how the story unravels but it only grew boring with time. I once again thought the story is a little bit stretched out as nothing new came out of it. It’s not a bad book but perhaps it’s just not for me. And that’s why I think I will be taking a little break from Zadie Smith.
The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig (ebook)
The World of Yesterday is a memoir of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. In his book, Zweig describes life in a literary Vienna at the start of the 20th century that follows its devastating fall. Writer also shares stories about his career and travels, as well as numerous encounters with the greatest names of his generation. However, The World of Yesterday is a book about Europe rather than Zweig himself, as there are little to no details disclosed about his private life.
As someone who is interested in the history and culture of Europe, I found this book breathtaking. The density of details in Zweig’s memoir is outstanding, making you almost feel like a part of the events that are taking place. I have to say this must be one of the best reads of this year.
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
To The Lighthouse is about a family that is spending their every summer holidays in the house on Isle of Skye in Scotland. The story explores the complexity of the relationships between family members, visiting friends and colleagues.
I don’t really have a strong opinion about To The Lighthouse. I felt drawn to this book but at the same time, I found it difficult to follow which sometimes resulted in me drifting away from the story. I think it was mostly due to the constant change of perspective. It was rather challenging to understand who is talking to who and what connects these people. In fact, there were little to no conversations, and everything was expressed in a form of thoughts or observations.
The Dumb House by John Burnside (ebook)
Twisted, disturbing yet beautiful, The Dumb House is about a man that sees and discovers the world in rather unusual, abnormal ways. Consumed by the story about a dumb house experiment his mother told him in childhood, the protagonist goes through life trying to learn about the possible experiment results. Years of studies on language development and search of a connection between language and soul leads him to do the unthinkable – recreate brutal experiment himself.
The Dumb House captures your attention from the first paragraphs, and it really is a page-turner. I truly enjoyed reading it yet I’m not sure whether the word ‘enjoy’ is the right to use.
Comparing to the second quarter, the third was more exciting reading experience-wise, but I still must admit I was facing the same difficulties following the storylines and fully engaging into them. I believe it’s mostly due to my impatient nature to start and finish the book as soon as possible because in the corner of my mind I know there are other books waiting to be read. That’s why my goal for the last months of this reading year is to be more present and patient at the time of reading.
In these last three months I’ve managed to read 6 books which means I’ve successfully reached my 2017 reading goal in under 9 months, reading a total of 23 books and being one book ahead of my actual goal. This definitely calls for a toast, so pour the champaign!