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About iff

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  • Birthday 14/06/1984


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    i'm an accountant
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    books, cycling, music, politics, other sports
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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    : Ireland
  • Interests
    books, cycling and music
  • Current Book
    nakano thrift shop - hiromi kawakami

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697 profile views
  1. Review of Charlotte by David Foenkinos, translated by Sam Taylor So I have read Foenkinos before, his romantic comedy novel Delicacy, which acted as a nice diversion from life. Charlotte does not fall into this same category, no where near it (well ok, some romance). Charlotte is about the Jewish German painter Charlotte Salomon who was born in 1916 and died at the age of 26 years old. (Not a spoiler, this is on a one page introduction to the novel by Foenkinos. I admit that I was not aware of Salomon before reading the novel and then while reading, didn't want to google her. The novel starts off with morbidity in that she learned her name by reading it off a headstone, being her aunt that predeceased her, committing suicide. Her mother would later commit suicide when she was young girl. As with most of the books I review, I don't want to say too much (as most of the books I review are relatively short) but this novels deals with the life of Charlotte, her relationship with her father, her step mother, her lover and grandparents, her school life and her and her family's treatment when the Nazis come to power in 1933. Often, I felt that this could have been Foenkinos drafting a script for a documentary on her life, often the story is replaced by travelogue like prose where he has visited the places where Salomon has lived (an early one is the apartment she lived with her father and step mother) and having the door slammed when asked if he could look around (understandable). A mention is made to the commemorative plaque outside the building The chapters are short as are the sentences. One sentence to a line then starts a new line when that sentence ends. Foenkinos has made this an absorbing read. The writing here is at many times exquisite, a book of beauty. I recommend this highly. I do admit that I cried at the end. * * * * *
  2. what is everyone doing?

    When I get unusual e-mails purporting to be people I know, my reaction is to get in contact with the person who send it and tell them, the couple of examples coming to mind was to ring them but those were a brother of mine and a client at work. The e-mail account that sent them can be resecured by changing passwords.
  3. Age of Protagonists

    Should the age of protagonists matter? Right off, I will say No. This may go a ittle bit ranty. But this spans, not from something about book but TV but can . I was talking to my brother. I asked him if he was watching Derry Girls on Channel 4. He said he wasn't as he "wouldn't want to watch something about teenage girls " (for perspective, he is 37, which considering that it is set in the same time as he would have been a teenager). For me, i don't think when it comes to entertainment, whether be books, music or tv. One of my favourite novels from a couple of years ago was Tiger Milk by Stefenie Di Velasco. The main characters were 14 years old but I can't quite call it a novel for teenagers because it isn't. I have 2 15 year old cousins and if they ever asked for a book suggestion (they haven't) I would not suggest that. The coming of age genre of books is for people of all ages. On the opposite end, there is some fine novels with great older protagonists like The faster I walk, the smaller I am by Kjersti A. Skomsvold. This is humourous novel and really good book. At the end of the day, I don't think age should matter in terms of a protagonist. There are other things more important, one of which is personal enjoyment or satisfaction.
  4. Review of Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg, translated by Eliza Marciniak Swallowing mercury is a coming of age story set in Silesia, Poland towards the late 1970s and the 1980s, the novel is centred around the narrator Wiola, growing up under communist rule. Historic events are transposed into the novel (there is a wonderfully titled chapter waiting for the popemobile, another scene sees Wiola very disappointing that the children tv shows on a Saturday morning were replaced by a man in a military costume, this was 1981 where the Polish government imposed martial law). Each chapter works as a bit of a interlinked chain of events as Wiola grows up throughout the novel centring around both Roman Catholicism and the Communist rule in Poland to a very good effect. A really good read that I liked a lot, Wiola's voice is very strong and adept at the story she is telling. A riveting read. * * * * *
  5. Review of Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky The novel starts with Richard retiring from the university where he has worked as a professor for many years (well his new title is Professor Emeritus). His wife died a couple of years ago and his recent partner left him after having an affair. He can't go in his boat as a swimmer died in the lake it is tied to and the swimmer is still there. Essentially into enterring retirement, Richard is feeling at a loose end, missing many important things to occupy his mind. He hears on the news about protests at oranienplatz where a number of refugees from African countries are protesting about their treatment by going on hunger strike. Richard himself had experience of being a refugee, he was born in Silesia, Germany in the early 1940's and was part of the mass evacuations of the area with the approaching Russian soldiers, neary getting parted at the age of 3 from his mother as Germans crowded on to trains to get out (an issue covered in Walter Kempowski's All for Nothing) Out of having nothing to occupy his mind more than anything, Richard composes some questions he wants to ask the refugees about their situation but the Berlin senate comes to compromise with the protesters, moving them to an old retirement home to await decisions before Richard can talk to any of these. Richard does go to the retirement home and arranges with the staff there, to talk to the refugee and gets to know them personally. This is interwoven with interactions Richard has with existing friends and acquaintances. Jenny Erpenbeck makes splendid use of history to draw parralels between international borders, national identity and references through out the novel to the old East Germany, a country to which Richard had lived most of his adult live but no longer exists. National identity and borders are an interest of mine so these parts particularly resonated to me. I thought the writer made a great job in both telling the story of the refugees and making an excellent novel through it. Richard is well formed character and it was an interesting read * * * * *
  6. First Person

    Sounds interesting
  7. Lean on Pete

    Glad to hear you liked it dan
  8. Review of Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin I am surprised to see that we didn't have review of this book but anyhow, by the time I finish this, we will. Lean on Pete is about Charley and a horse owned by the trainer who gives Charley a job. Charley and his father have moved to Portland, father works alot and may not be home for a time leaving Charlie to fend for himself. Charley is trying to bulk up for [american] football and is eating for this and concerned with the new school as it is a good bit bigger than the previous school in Spokane (it seems from listening to how the father passes over Charley's suggestion of returning to Spokane that it mightn't have been quite a voluntary move and more a bolt to get away from something or someone). Similar to another novel of Vlautin's Northline, TV offers an escape to the main character. When out, Charley runs into horse trainer Del. Del runs horses at Portland Meadows (a description being it is like a single A baseball team on a long downard slide, still professional but barely just) and other less professional meets (like the one which Charley initially helps with at a track at a guys house). After the death of his father, Charley sets up camp in the stable room beside Pete. In many ways, Pete acts as Charley;s confidante, the person who Charley shares everything with. Part of the reason for the reread is the impending film release of the adaptation of the novel. Every scene with Del Montgomery, I just now Steve Buscemi's voice. For me, he seems to be the ideal cast for the part and he fits the role perfectly. I'd say I liked the novel more because of the effect of this but I did love it the first time reading, this is just such a superb novel and Vlautin in his writing made me really care for what happened to Charley and Pete. It is a novel about a kid trying to survive in a difficult situation. A voice given to often ignored people on the fringes (something Vlautin has done in his other novels) of society. * * * * *
  9. Randomly Grouped Titles

    Maybe it is the effect of the dreary weather outside
  10. How to read more books

    With no. 3, I tend to do this as I pick several books from my tbr, place them on a stool and when I start the last, I repeat this. No. 6 is very true, with poor books I find my mind wandering. Though I find it difficult to give up.
  11. I just bought/borrowed/received...

    This weeks purchases Juno Dawson - the gender games: the problem with men and women from someone who has been both Patty yumi Cottrell - sorry to disrupt the peace
  12. Currently Reading

    So starting on two Rereading lean on Pete by willy vlautin I'm also hoping to read in the evenings short stories from the visiting privileges by joy Williams. Maybe one or two each evening.
  13. Happy 2018

    happy new year to everyone here, hope 2018 brings many great books to read for you all when i think of new year celebrations and fireworks, i just think back to the simpsons episode the trouble with trillions and Ned Flanders walking up to the fireworks and saying "time to get working on those taxes, neddy"