Another Reading Challenge! 20 Books of Summer 2015is hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. It begins June 1 and runs until September 4, just over thirteen weeks.
Here’s my list: Among the Tibetans by Isabella L. Bird Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen The Island of Sheep by John Buchan The Overlook by Michael Connelly Rameau’s Nephew by Denis Diderot The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich Road Kill by Kinky Friedman U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton Fever Season by Barbara Hambly Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris The Assassin in the Marais by Claude Izner George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger The River of Doubt by Candice Millard The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters Passing Fancy by David Spencer The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoi
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Are you in? There is no set list; we each choose our own books. If twenty is too ambitions, you can opt for 10 Books of Summer 2015.
I like to look out of my window at the Seine and its quays on those soft grey mornings which give such an infinite tenderness of tint to everything. I have seen that azure sky which flings so luminous a calm over the Bay of Naples. But our Parisian sky is more animated, more kindly, more spiritual. It smiles, threatens, caresses–takes an aspect of melancholy or a look of merriment like a human gaze. At this moment it is pouring down a very gentle light on the men and beasts of the city as they accomplish their daily tasks. . . . .
The dealers in second-hand books put their boxes on the parapet. These good retailers of Mind, who are always in the open air, with blouses loose to the breeze, have become so weatherbeaten by the wind, the rain, the frost, the snow, the fog, and the great sun, that they end by looking very much like the old statues of cathedrals. They are all friends of mine, and I scarcely ever pass by their boxes without picking out of one of them some old book which I had always been in need of up to that very moment, without any suspicion of the fact on my part.
Then on my return home I have to endure the outcries of my housekeeper, who accuses me of bursting all my pockets and filling the house with waste paper to attract the rats. Therese is wise about that, and it is because she is wise that I do not listen to her; for in spite of my tranquil mien, I have always preferred the folly of the passions to the wisdom of indifference. But just because my own passions are not of that sort which burst out with violence to devastate and kill, the common mind is not aware of their existence. Nevertheless, I am greatly moved by them at times, and it has more than once been my fate to lose my sleep for the sake of a few pages written by some forgotten monk or printed by some humble apprentice of Peter Schaeffer. And if these fierce enthusiasms are slowly being quenched in me, it is only because I am being slowly quenched myself. Our passions are ourselves. My old books are Me. I am just as old and thumb-worn as they are.
The hunt is on for scholar Sylvestre Bonnard in this classic French novel from 1881. A member of the Académie Française, France (Jacques Anatole François Thibault) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921.
The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard by Anatole France
“And why,” I asked myself, “why should I have learned that this precious book exists, if I am never to possess it–never even to see it? I would go to seek it in the burning heart of Africa, or in the icy regions of the Pole if I knew it were there.
I’m reading the English translation from Project Gutenberg (free here), but was fascinated by the Romanian cover shown above.
What are you reading now? Do you have a TT to share with us? Please leave a comment with your link on MizB’s Teaser Tuesday post or below. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your Teaser here in the comment section instead.
Five fun facts about Joseph Conrad, author of the classic novella Heart of Darkness
1. In his twenties, Conrad resolved to kill himself with a gun – but miraculously he survived. Joseph Conrad – born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in Russian-occupied Poland in 1857 – was a bit of a gambler in his youth.In 1878, up to his ears in gambling debts, the young Conrad attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest. The bullet missed his heart, and he lived for the next 46 years, long enough to become one of the most important writers of his generation, with novels such as Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, Victory, and The Secret Agent earning him the respect of critics and fellow writers (of which more below).
2. While serving in the British navy, Conrad befriended a pet monkey in India. Between 1878 and 1894, Conrad…
My book this week was the inspiration for the opera La Bohème. Publisher’s blurb:
Murger’s work is largely based on his own personal experiences as poor writer living at the time in a Parisian attic and his interactions with other friends who were as well poor and struggling artists including a musician, poet, sculptor, painter and philosopher. The group of friends share in common their need for food and shelter while struggling to become successful artists.
Bohemians of the Latin Quarter (Scènes de la vie de bohème) by Henry Murger
What little money he picked up by his profession was spent in buying books. . . What he did with these books, so numerous that no man’s lifetime would have been long enough to read them, nobody knew, least of all, himself.
I am finding it quite a charming read once I struggled through the overly long Introduction. Perhaps the lengthy explanation of the term was necessary for readers at the time of publication in 1851, but the first two paragraphs should suffice for today’s readers. An English translation is available free in numerous formats from Project Gutenberg in addition to the original French.
What are you reading now? Do you have a TT to share with us?
Please leave a comment with your link on MizB’s Teaser Tuesday post or below. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your Teaser here in the comment section instead.
Following the Equator is one of a baker’s dozen of books I would have to take to a desert island. I can pick it up, turn to any page, and get lost in the story.
Mark Twain’s book is available free in numerous formats at Project Gutenberg. The other twelve books on Jimmy’s list are:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson Don’t Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk Winds from the Carolinas by Robert Wilder One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh The Fables of La Fontaine by Jean de la Fontaine West with the Night by Beryl Markham A Collection of Poems by Pablo Neruda The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I have about a half dozen titles which would remain on my Baker’s Dozen of Desert Island Books permanently, but the rest always seem to change over time. My must haves, in no particular order, are Pere Goriot, Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Atlas Shrugged, The House of Mirth and The Count of Monte Cristo.
How about you? What are your Desert Island Books?
Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude
But suddenly I felt that I must see what he was doing there and what he looked like — that I must watch his movements while he supposed that no one saw him. Besides I was simply unwilling just then to lose sight of him for a single minute.
This translation is in the public domain. It may be downloaded free at ManyBooks.
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser this week is from Elective Affinities(1809) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832). The quote is from the Penguin Classics edition, translation by R. J. Hollingdale.
‘Granted this fashion of argument,’ Eduard replied, ‘you women would be invincible: first sensible, so that one cannot contradict; affectionate, so that one is glad to give in; sensitive, so that one does not want to hurt you; full of premonitions, so that one is frightened.’
‘I am not superstitious,’ Charlotte replied, ‘and would pay no attention to these obscure stirrings if that was all they were; but mostly they are instinctive recollections of the happy or unhappy consequences of our own or other people’s past actions.’
Don’t be put off by the title as I was when I first saw it and thought the book might be philosophical essays or some other non-fiction. The cover blurb of the above edition reads: “Elective Affinities reflects the conflict which Goethe felt between his high regard for the idea of marriage and his experience of spontaneous passion. Set in the German countryside of the early nineteenth century, the novel depicts the emotional turmoil into which Eduard and Charlotte are thrown by the introduction into their comfortably idle lives of two fresh faces.”
Do you have a ‘Teaser’ to share with us?
Please leave a comment with the link on MizB’s Teaser Tuesday post or below. Or, if you don’t have a blog, you can share your Teaser here in the comment section instead.