My Wish List of Literary Goodness

Well gosh! All my school work has got right in the way of my blogging. Sigh….

So, to recommence my blogging:

Okay, so Christmas is coming up which means I will receive what I like to call “book money”. Before getting a paid job (I volunteered at a charity shop for a while, which also had the perk of first pickings on the 50p paperbacks!) I was reluctant to spend much money on books. It isn’t that I thought they weren’t worth it…but they can be rather pricey! However, with a paid job, and the post 18th birthday substitution of presents for money, I now feel like £7-£10 isn’t that bad for something which will probably momentarily change my life.

That may seem hyperbolic, it may not. I think we all know book lovers can get a bit weird about their relationship with words on pieces of paper bound in a delicious parcel of glory; once opened, you hope it will never close…evidently, I am no exception.

Anyway, wish list!

– One Day by David Nichols
I know it’s an oldie (ish!) but I just adored Starter For Ten. The film of One Day, unlike that of Starter For Ten, I thought was fantastic. I have been informed by somebody who has read One Day that the character of Emma was wrongly depicted but, as I was completely ignorant to that fact, I just loved it. However, Anne Hathaway’s struggle to maintain a northern English accent, as a northerner myself, did strike me as somewhat hilarious but she tried, she really did.

-The House on Carnaval Street by Deborah Rodriguez
Well, as is evident in my first post (which nobody has viewed so go read it!) I absolutely adore Rodriguez. Her writing style is just lovely and, due to her experiences of the themes she includes, they have a beautifully personal touch. I can say no more. I’m just so excited to get this book.

-The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
So, my lovely boyfriend bought this book for me. Therefore, my actual wish is for some time to read it! I love Carter and to see more of her work would just be wonderful but, as outlined in the beginning of this post, Sixth Form is just taking over my life. Being a literature student is obviously wonderful, but it is tainted by the fact I am restricted to the texts I am studying. Any other reading makes you feel so utterly guilty, as though you’ve wasted time reading. It is very sad.

I do hope my wishes come true this Christmas, and I hope yours do too!

Happy reading,

Carenza x

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Is That a Fish in Your Ear? – David Bellos

If you were hoping for an extension/parody of the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, I’m afraid I have disappointed you.

For those of you who may not know (and I apologise to those of you who do for the following explanation): In Douglas Adams’ famous book series, the characters put Babel Fish in their ears in order to understand things in other languages. This idea has been carried out in babelfish.com and babelzine.com, two language/linguistic-based websites…and this book!

Unlike the books I have previously reviewed, this book is nonfictional. It is a very detailed description if the intricacies of different techniques in translation, and things to look out for: eg if a certain piece of dialogue in a film has to remain in English due to the significance of English in that circumstance.
….okay, so out of context that seems positively bizarre! But I promise you, this book is fascinating!

If you are a complete language nut like myself you will love it. It’s very, very well written and quite funny in parts too. As far as I am aware, this is Bellos’ only original book (ignoring those he has translated) but that is a real shame! I love how he writes. This book can be quite hard to grasp at first – and some parts may seem quite dry – but the fantastic way on which Bellos writes these fascinating facts helps that a lot.

I have learned so many amazing facts from this book and, at any opportune moment, I love to share those I remember with anyone willing to listen.

This is definitely for people interested in the art of translation and interpretation – I would never pretend that it would suit everybody, that is simply not the case. I really hope that whoever does find such things interesting will pick up this book and get stuck in!

Happy reading,

Carenza x

 

 

As has become the habit of the images I’ve included recently, I don’t have the book with this cover…I just though it was quite cute!

Wise Children – Angela Carter

Along with Macbeth, The Great Gatsby, and a story I read as a kid about a boy who gradually fell to pieces (I could sort of relate to him being a sufferer of eczema and clumsiness), this is one of the few books I have ever re-read. I am not a massive fan of re-reading books – I find it takes the suspense out of the story…a few paragraphs in and I’ve remembered every twist and turn the book has to offer. However, this book is an exception.

Narrated by Dora, one half of the Chance Sisters’ dance act, this story is incredibly complex. With a rich plethora of dirty laundry, elephants and skeletons to ring out, take out of their rooms and clear out from their closets, the Hazard/Chance family layout is something special and, often, completely unfathomable. However, on the second read, a lot of it was so much clearer and I did, in this unique instance, forget a lot of the plot which made it a lot more interesting to see how the story develops and, once again, it surprised me.

Carter has managed to write paragraphs in this novel which sometimes skim a century’s worth of family history of showbiz, adultery and inappropriate giggles whilst acting on stage.

Wise Children, very loosely based on the story of King Lear, consists of many allusions to Shakespeare and is inspired by all things East and West end of London. Eastend twins Dora and Nora are the illegitimate children of Melchior Hazard (twin brother of the enormous Uncle Perry) and the late Pretty Kitty. The landlady, a helping hand during their lethal birth (on the same day as the birthday of The Bard himself), has chosen to take them on as her own – that lady is the heroic, alcoholic and eccentric Grandma Chance, whose name Dora and Nora make famous in their youth and infamous with age.

Bursting through the roof with twins, both identical and fraternal, most of the characters have a sort of “partner in crime” or an “alter ego”, with tricky circumstances as a consequence. Melchior and Perry are a fine example of twins being un-identical in every manner possible…apart from their promiscuity and tendency of being “less of a man, more a travelling carnival”.

This book is amazing, but definitely for people 18+. I say this mainly due to the fact that there are many, many adult themes and out right sexual references. However, I know somebody who read this when she was 13 and, although she did love it, she didn’t fully understand every bit of genius crammed into this novel and I think that’s a great shame. Having said that, there are a few people my age who couldn’t stand it…I think it needs a maturer mind set to understand this book. I’m basically an old cat lady thriving in an 18-year-old’s body so I think that’s why I love it so much.

So, if you are in your own reminiscent years, or you are old beyond your years like myself, you should love this book just as much as I do! Even if you don’t think you’ll like it, with all it’s controversies and shocking complexity, I really think it’s well worth your time giving it a shot. I won’t lie, not everybody will love it but I certainly do and I know there are many out there who will too!

Happy reading,

Carenza x

Out of all the covers I have seen for this book (and there are LOADS) I have never seen this one…it’s ever so lovely! I am very picky abut book cover though…

Carenza is reading…

Not a review this time (but there are more coming!) – I guess you could call this an update.

Guiltily between necessary Frankenstein readings – for my Literature lessons – I am reading The Rabbit Back Literature Society by (ready for it) Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. All those umlauts will henceforth require me to refer to him as PJ.

PJ is a Finnish writer, “one of Finland’s best-kept secrets”, and is currently a professor of Literature and Language. Although fantastical books such as this do not usually grab my attention as much as those with a more realistic side to them, I really am enjoying this book!

Ella, the protagonist of this novel (who seems to be a female, fictional representation of PJ with the same job and a very personal feel to her characterisation…but maybe I’m not far enough into the book to be able to make that judgement) is a kind-hearted supply teacher who discovers a problem with a copy of Crime and Punishment – the plot is twisted, people die in ways they shouldn’t have and it’s all a bit too much. So, Ella goes to consult the staff at her place of refuge – Rabbit Back’s Library.

So as not to give too much away (not that I have much information myself as of yet) I will not describe any of the events which follow but, if you care to join me on this strangely enticing adventure, you can buy this book with the following link: http://pushkinpress.com/book/the-rabbit-back-literature-society/

Alternatively, as my Dad did in order to buy me this surprising little gift, you could probably pop down to your local Waterstone’s and get yourself a copy – the lady who highly recommended this book to my dad was infatuated with it, apparently, and I would also recommend this to anyone! It’s quite universal in the adult world of Literture…maybe for teens too? I was never a teen-lit sort of individual so I can’t really make a judgement call on that one I’m afraid. I think that, so long as you’re old enough to enjoy the sarcastic sense of humour, you are absolutely qualified to enjoy this book for the magnificently written piece this is. Although, just something to bear in mind, some of the translation (and I mean a minute amount here) can be slightly difficult to grasp if you are not accustomed to other languages and the difficulties translation can face. As I said, they’re only tiny. But, if you are not comfortable with the sometimes “blocky” nature of parts of this novel’s translation then you may feel put off at times.

Having said that, considering how fluidly most authors write, I always admire the art behind novel translation. And who knows? As I’m applying to do Scandinavian Studies and English Literature at Uni, one day I might experience the pleasure, and arduous task, of translating Scandinavian novels such as this one…

One can only hope.

Happy reading,

Carenza x

I don’t think I could read a book that wasn’t pretty and this one does not dissapoint. (Sorry it’s so pixalated though!)