Wednesday 30 October 2019

Pamuk, Orhan "The Red-Haired Woman"

Pamuk, Orhan "The Red-Haired Woman" (Turkish: Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın) - 2016

Did I mention already how much I love Orhan Pamuk? (Of course I did!) He always finds a new way to portray his country, the people who live there, the uniqueness of a place between East and West.

Same as his other books, I really loved this story about a young guy between child- and adulthood. He lost his father early on and tries to find the father figure in his boss.

In the three different parts of this novel, we find parts of classic tales, "Oedipus Rex" (Sophocles, Σοφοκλῆς, 497/6 – 406/5 BC) and "Rostam and Sohrab" from the epos Shahnameh (Persian: شاهنامه‎, romanized: Šâhnâme) by Abul-Qâsem Ferdowsi Tusi (Persian: ابوالقاسم فردوسی طوسی‎; c. 940–1020), or just Ferdowsi. Whilst I haven't read either of them, I think most readers are well aware of the stories. Again, two similar tales on the same theme, the former Western, the latter Eastern.

What I also like about Orhan Pamuk and his writing is that he doesn't just combine East and West, he also combines history and present. He explains what is going on in present day Turkey in his own way. And he uses a lot of symbolism that is easy to understand. Just brilliant.

And then there is always a way where he brings us closer to Eastern culture, e.g. by mentioning "Shahnameh" but also other work of arts, like Ilya Repin's painting "Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" or "Oedipus and the Sphinx" by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. He can only widen our horizons.

From the back cover:

"On the outskirts of a town, thirty miles from Istanbul, a master well-digger and his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat and develop a filial bond neither has known before, the boy finds an irresistible diversion - The Red-Haired Woman, an alluring member of a travelling theatre company, causing a horrible accident to befall on the well-digger and making the boy flee to Istanbul. A beguiling mystery tale of family, romance, tradition and modernity, by one of the great storytellers of our time."

Orhan Pamuk "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures" received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.

Orhan Pamuk received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis) in 2005.

You can read more about the books I read by one of my favourite authors here.

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.

Monday 28 October 2019

Clinton, Hilary Rodham "What Happened"

Clinton, Hilary Rodham "What Happened" - 2017

Years ago, I read "Living History" with my book club and really liked the way, Hillary Clinton described her life as a first lady but also her life as a politician herself.

Nobody who is not US American understands how someone can lose an election when they have three million more voters behind them. Only in America.

I don't think I can make anyone change their mind about Hillary Rodham Clinton or her party. Those who are against her will come up with hundreds of reasons why they didn't vote for her. I can name one very good reason why they should have: Donald Trump. Anyone who still supports him either doesn't want to know what is going on or is just as ignorant as he is. Because who would support a misogynist like him?

Hillary Clinton tells us everything that happened during the election. Not that a lot of it was any news for me, I followed it quite closely. I have a lot of American friends who - like me - were shocked by the outcome; unfortunately, I also know some who were happy about it.

Even in Europe, my view is considered left-wing, so I would agree far more with Democrats than with Republicans. I found it quite eye-opening at some points, how far right even the American left is.

What I liked was her humour, her tongue-in-cheek which shows how much more intelligent she is than the present incumbent of the post.

If you are really interested in politics, you give this book a chance. Hillary Clinton is a strong woman and we all should be glad there are people like her.

Some quotes:
"The election is now over,
The result is now known,
The will of the people
has clearly been shown. *
Let’s get together;
Let bitterness pass.
I’ll hug your Elephant;
and you kiss my Ass."
* Yes, the will of the people was Hillary.

Here she explains quite interestingly, how some of the stories start:
"Bernie: I think America should get a pony.
Hillary: How will you pay for the pony? Where will the pony come from? How will you get Congress to agree to the pony?
Bernie: Hillary thinks America doesn’t deserve a pony.
Bernie Supporters: Hillary hates ponies!
Hillary: Actually, I love ponies.
Bernie Supporters: She changed her position on ponies! #WhichHillary? #WitchHillary
Headline: 'Hillary Refuses To Give Every American a Pony.'
Debate Moderator: Hillary, how do you feel when people say you lie about ponies?
Website Headline: "Congressional Inquiry into Clinton's Pony Lies"
Twitter Trending: #ponygate"

From the back cover:

"Almost two years on from one of the most unprecedented and unpredictable elections in American history, the world is still gripped by the circumstances and consequences of Hillary Rodham Clinton's devastating loss to the ever-controversial Donald Trump.

Free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes us behind the scenes of an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, foreign interference and an opponent who broke all the rules. In her most personal memoir yet, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet after the mistakes and disappointments of her candidacy and what the experience has taught her about the challenges, criticisms and double standards that come with being a strong woman in the public eye.

In this edition, now updated to include a comprehensive new afterword reflecting on the events that have come to pass under Trump's administration, Hillary connects the dots to show just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the presidential outcome and why Americans need to understand them to protect their values and democracy in the future.

What Happened is the enthralling story of a campaign and its aftermath - both a deeply intimate account and a presciently cautionary tale."

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Gárdonyi, Géza "Slave of the Huns" aka "The Invisible Man"

Gárdonyi, Géza "Slave of the Huns" aka "The Invisible Man" (Hungarian: A láthatatlan ember) - 1901

The husband of a friend of mine translated this famous Hungarian book into Esperanto (La nevidebla homo) and I decided to read it. I haven't read many books about Hungary, let alone about the Huns. I think this is the first book I read about that people.

This story takes place in the early 5th century.

Zeta is Hungarian, his family is so poor that his father has to sell him as a slave. We follow him from one owner to the next until he comes to the household of a Byzantine diplomat named Priscis. Because he serves him well, he frees him and takes him to the court of Attila the Hun. He stays with the Huns, fights in the "Battle of the Catalaunian Plains" in the year 451 and doesn't leave until Attila dies in 453.

An interesting book not just about this nomadic people but also about Hungarian history and culture. I would like to read more about them.

From the back cover:

"The tale of a Byzantine slave of the Huns; based on the historical account of the Byzantine diplomat Priscus about his visit to the court of Attila the Hun."

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Book Titles with Numbers In Them

"Top Ten Tuesday" is an original feature/weekly meme created on the blog "The Broke and the Bookish". This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at "The Broke and the Bookish".

It is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
Since I am just as fond of them as they are, I jump at the chance to share my lists with them! Have a look at their page, there are lots of other bloggers who share their lists here.

Top Ten Book Titles with Numbers In Them

Such an interesting Top Ten Tuesday topic. Thank you, Emma from Words and Peace.

Since I have read many books with a number in the title, I have chosen to list only those with a 1 in it, so one, ten, a hundred and a thousand. There are quite a few interesting books there.

Bryson, Bill "ONE Summer: America, 1927" - 2013
Irving, John "A Widow for ONE Year" - 1998
Simmonds, Jeremy "Number ONE in Heaven - The heroes who died for Rock ‘n’ Roll" - 2006

Yu, Hua (余華/Yú Huá) "China in TEN Words" (十個詞彙裡的中國/Shi ge cihui li de Zhongguo) - 2012

Estes, Eleanor "The HUNDRED Dresses" - 1944
García Márquez, Gabriel "One HUNDRED Years of Solitude" (Cien años de soledad) - 1967
Liao, Yiwu "Testimonials or: For a Song and a HUNDRED Songs: A Poet's Journey Through a Chinese Prison" (證詞/Zheng-Ci) - 2000

Coerr, Eleanor "Sadako and the THOUSAND Paper Cranes" - 1977
Hosseini, Khaled "A THOUSAND Splendid Suns" - 2007
Smiley, Jane "A THOUSAND Acres" - 1991

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Happy October!

Happy October to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch

"Ich mal dann mal die Blätter bunt"
"I will then paint the leaves"

October is the month where they give us our normal time back.
I always say they steal us an hour every day all summer long and then only return that hour once.

In medieval times, October was a holy month and many preferred to get married then.

The Germanic name for October was Ƿinterfylleþ which means "Winter Full Moon". Yes, winter was about to start.
Germanic names were Weinmonat (Month of the Wine) or Gilbhart (yellow and hard, the leaves are changing their colours).
In Germany, we still call the month Goldener October (Golden October).

The flower of the month is the Calendula aka Marigold and it stands for winning grace, protection, comfort, healing, lovable. 
The marigold is sometimes called "little lover", it always turns to the sun, it's meaning in the language of love is "jealousy".

Have a happy October with this beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch. Do you see how much fun this kid has playing with the leaves? We should all do that from time to time.

You can find many more wonderful pictures on their website here.