2016 : Books (Part one) / Knjige (Prvi dio)
For me 2016 was truly the year of the book. I've always loved reading, but this year gave a new vitality to my passion. I discovered a number of new writers. I didn't find the time to write about all of them on this little place of mine, but you can count on them coming up sooner or later in some of my posts. I can't honestly say that 2016 was all that good to me, but at least when it comes to reading, it was a very good year. To honour this long lasting passion of mine, I prepared a little selection of book reviews published on this blog. It will be continued....
Za mene je 2016 bila godina knjige. Uvijek sam voljela čitati, ali ova godina je pobudila neku novu vitalnost u mojoj strasti. Otkrila sam nekoliko novih pisaca. Nisam stigla o svima pisati na ovom mom malom blogu, ali možete računati da će se prije ili kasnije pojaviti u jednoj od mojih objava. Ne mogu reći da mi je 2016. bila sklona, ali što se tiče čitanja, bila je to dobra godina. U čast toj strasti prema čitanju, evo mala selekcija ogleda knjiga koji su objavljeni na ovome blogu. Nastavlja se sutra...
1. Guy de Maupassant, Mont- Oriol ( You can read my original review here)
2. Pushkin's Poems ( original review here)
3. Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
I recommended this amazing novel on my blog here but I failed to find the proper words to describe it. I wasn't sure what to write, what words could possibly give it justice. It is such an unique work of literature that I found myself at loss for words. However, I'm confident that soon I will manage to write a carefully crafted review this novel deserves. This novel actually inspired two paintings, that is how much it inspired me.
4. Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis, A Slave: True Story
This novel is so important. I'm the first to admit that it was a hard book to read. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I did read it. Reading books like this one makes one take the issue of slavery to heart. Understanding what slavery is emotionally is as important as understanding it from an intellectual point of view. I never reread this book because even thinking about it makes me cry, but I took its message to heart. I want to thank Mende for being so brave and filled with love. It is people like her that make me believe there is hope and that we must never let despair take over us. When she was a little girl, she wanted to be a doctor so that she could help people. Today she is helping people in her way. Take a look at her smile at the back of the book. She is a doctor, just a different kind of doctor. A doctor for souls.
5. Monaldi & Sorti, Imprimatur
This novel was an enjoyable read, but in some ways it was also a disappointment. The authors crave success so much that they claim to have made a historical discovery when in fact they have no evidence. This sort of thing is very common with authors of historical fiction, but I still find it annoying. You can read my original review here.
6. Garance Dore, Love X Style X Life
I have a feeling that everyone could find something they like in this book. It feels very universal and I'm sure that even someone who isn't particularly interested in fashion or style could find it very interesting. In fact, what I liked most about this book is that there are so many different elements to it but it still feels very personal. There are very deep passages in this book, for example when the author speaks about the elegance of the heart. For me personally, that was the best part of the book. There is wisdom to be found in this book, I kid you not. What does reading of this book feels like? It feels like holding a blog in your hand, or at least if such a thing was possible I think it would feel like this. There is a sense of a proper ending as well as that of a proper start....and what comes in between is lots of fun but at the same time also food for the thought.
7. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
This writer showed us how we all have phantoms chasing us. We all have our demons and phantoms. Fantasies of old and new loves, the weight of present and past desires and plants. We all have a Daisy we lose our head for. We all create idols and bow to them- at some point of our lives. We’re all as ignorant as children- and infinitely less charming- in believing that this world is just waiting to make our dreams come true. We’re all as fragile as Gatsby is. What is so ingenious about Fitzgerald is that he shows us what it is to be human. What it means to be cursed with living in this world, that makes "pretty little fools" of us all, regardless of the gender. This novel shows, almost without even trying it, just how frustrating it is to be tramped in this world. If his characters are wealthy, it doesn’t mean they escape the curse of this world. Nobody escapes it. Read my original review here.
8. Philip Pullman, Northern Lights: His Dark Materials (published as The Golden Compass in USA and Canada)
While I was reading Northern Lights ( i.e. The Golden Compass) I kept thinking: “What a shame I didn't have the chance to read it as a kid. I would have loved it!”. The world described is wonderfully imaginative. It seemed like the perfect book for children to me. Lyra is such a charming protagonist. Her portrayal is very believable, her thoughts absolutely logical for a child of her age. Moreover, you can really the narrative developing from the point of a view of a child. The narrative form itself is told in the third person, but we get to see things from Lyra's point of view very often. This was handled very well in the novel. The language is simple enough, I imagine it would be easy enough for children to read it. However, as the narrative progressed things started to get a lot darker. Surprisingly, by the time I finished the first part of this book, I was glad I didn't read it as a child. I'm pretty sure I would have found it disturbing. I might be wrong; it is quite possible that what disturbed me might go unnoticed by children.You can read my original review of this book here.
9. Fay Whelton, Big Girls Don't Cry
The novel’s dark humour (who doesn’t like British black humour?) doesn’t even, for a second, imply it gives a darn about political correctness. How refreshing! If I had not kept reading, I would have had missed a lot for this novel really made me think a great deal. The start of this novel might be a bit unpleasant to read, especially if you’re a guy, because there is that 'men are gulity of everything' attitude, but in all frankness, by the time the story ends it is the women who get ridiculed the most (but they also get praised, let's say it's all evened out), so I think we (the ladies) are the ones who might find it challenging to read. This novel criticizes women a great deal, it focuses on their failure to act in unity, to develop meaningful friendships with one another and quite often shows them in all their fragility. However, that doesn't mean that it doesn't show the ladies in a good light. The protagonists of this novel are all brave women. They're flawed but you must admire them for their courage. You can read my original review here.
10. Jonathan Strout, The Golem's Eye
I was really looking forward to reading this second novel in the Bartimaeus series. I was quite curious to see what it would be like, not just in the sense of the development of the story and the characters, but of the world building as well. I kept wondering how will this world ruled by magicians develop further? I was eager to see what place will our protagonist Nathaniel take in it, will he become like the rest of them (i.e. all the other corrupted magicians)? The world that the author created in the first novel was of great interest to me. In the first novel, I found the setting as fascinating as the story itself. I must say that I wasn't disappointed with how the world building evolved in this one. This sequel was wonderful, an absolute joy to read. Often the sequel disappoints, not being able to retain its original charm, but not this time. It is obvious that the author already had things worked out in his mind because everything seems to flow naturally. This sequel opens up as a mystery novel. Nathanial has to solve the mysterious attacks that are bringing shame to the government. He is utterly engrossed in this task, for his career and his life, depend on his ability to solve the mystery and find the group that is behind these attacks. There are many twists and turns in this Golem’s Eye and many secrets to be discovered. In fact, the secret identity of the person behind the golem’s eye is only one of them. This is an excellently plotted novel with enough food for the thought- or at least that is my experience. You can read my original review here.
11. Milena Vuković Runjić, O živima sve najbolje
Don't speak ill of the living, the novelette his collection was named after is a true masterpiece. Such is my opinion anyway. Therefore, it seems to me that this novelette is deserving of its own edition. I was very impressed by this novelette’s complex narrative, its touching portrayal of mildly neurotic young woman that lives her life unaware of the dead surrounding her. Moreover, the protagonist of this story is such an amazing character. Her vulnerability and surprising perseverance (you’ll see what I mean when you read the story) are nicely tied to another narrative that gives them an additional dimension. What other narrative? Well, that of a dead man who is trying to write. The one who is observing her. There is also an additional parallel story created by the third party, a mysterious witch. I did say that this novel has a complex narrative structure, didn't I? However, it is so well done, you won't be confused at all. You can read my original review here.
12. Isabell Allende, Of Love and Shadows
I loved Of Love and Shadows as much as I loved The House of Sprits and Daughter of Fortune. If you have read and loved this novel, I would recommend reading these two novels I just mentioned. There are similarities between those two novel and this one, but there is no repetition. The characters and the story is Love and Shadows seem very unique to me. The similarities of themes didn’t cause any déjà vu experiences because Allende’s powerful imagination and writing skills are more that capable of creating a myriad of distinct characters and stories. On the other hand, if you haven’t read anything by Allende this is a good novel to start with. It is also not as long as her other novels, so if you have a preference for a lesser number of pages, or you can’t spare the time for a longer novel, consider giving this one a try. My edition numbers 290 pages. It also came with a beautifully illustrated cover that you can see on these photographs. You see, I loved this novel so much I decided to take it with me when I went away on a little weekend getaway. I just couldn't stop reading it, I loved every minute of reading it. You can read my original review of this novel here.