Rewrite, Burn, Reread

One of the advantages of working in an international environment is the variety in reading tastes among my colleagues. Many of them have already expressed an interest in this project, and they’ve also suggested certain books or authors. My thanks this time go to Vlado for recommending Kadare and to Mark for providing me with copies of the two other books.

The idea for the title of this post comes from BlueChickenNinja.

44 Albania: Ismail Kadare – Chronicles in Stone (translated by Arshi Pipa, edited by David Bellos)

According to the editor of the book, Kadare seems to have a more than average need of rewriting his books. I like the idea of a story being fluid and open to changes, at least up to a certain degree. Not sure how I’d react if I suddenly found my favourite story with a completely different ending … Anyway, here I saw a city springing to life and could perceive places and events with all senses. For want of a better word, I thought this novel organic, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it – even though it took its reader to some nasty places.

45 China: Liu Cixin – The Three-Body Problem (translated by Ken Liu)

I’m a big fan of sci-fi, and so had been looking forward to reading this book. Now, I’m not the kind of person who’s into book-burning, but here we have a contender for bonfire number one. The story is filled with xenophobia and a deep-rooted longing for autocracy. On top of that, I found the characters flatter than one dimension and the science, especially the dialogues between the scientists, mediocre at best.

46 The Netherlands: Gaston Dorren – Lingo – A language spotters’ guide to Europe (with contributions by Jenny Audring, Frauke Watson and Alison Edwards (translation))

I had no idea that there are that many languages in Europe! The book provided fascinating insights into etymology, evolution of languages, specifics of grammar and delightful words which don’t exist in English, but should. The chapters on sign language and Basque were particularly enlightening. A reread is definitely in order.

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