Friday, October 30, 2015

Tatiana Niculescu Bran, "Povestea domniței Marina și a basarabeanului necunoscut"

– e-book

Perioada lecturii: 22 iulie – 28 octombrie 2015

Votul meu:

Încerc să înțeleg, de ieri încoace, adică de cînd am terminat-o, de ce mi-au trebuit mai bine de trei luni să citesc Povestea domniței Marina și a basarabeanului necunoscut, de Tatiana Niculescu Bran, în contextul în care nu este o carte groasă și nu este o carte plicticoasă. De ce adică, în ciuda faptului că îmi plăcea cu adevărat în timpul lecturii, putea trece și săptămînă pînă să o deschid din nou, lucru oarecum bizar dat fiind că nu sînt o cititoare leneșă și nici prea răbdătoare.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Julio Cortazar, "Hopscotch"

(Rayuela), translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa – Pantheon Books, New York 1986 ISBN 0-394-75284-8

Read from September 8th to October 26th 2015

My rating:

Every move you make Every page you take – I’ll be watching you

A few nights ago I dreamt one of those bizarre dreams in which I was literally jumping from one page to another depending on the falling of the pebble-pen I kept throwing on a giant book opened at my feet. I often dream I’m reading or, if it happens to be a nightmare, trying very hard to make sense of an illegible page, but this time I paid no attention to the words I was seeing, so focused I was on the game itself.

When I woke up, I realized on one hand that I subconsciously associated a short story I read a long time ago about two characters literally living in a bookland with Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch, and on the other hand that for the first time ever I didn’t consider looking at the narrative technique as “work” and following the story as “play”; moreover, I was having such a wonderful time playing by the rules enunciated by the author that I didn’t care much for the story, so that I could happily contradict one of the characters’ belief that:

…no real revolution has ever been made against form. What counts is content, man, content.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Richard Lederer, "Anguished English. An anthology of Accidental Assaults upon English Language"

– Gibbs Smith 2006

Read from: February 10th to 17th 2014

My rating:

As a teacher, I have stumbled upon linguistic jewels for many years, in my students compositions and tests.  Sometimes I happened to hear them at TV or in the street, or read them in the press.

I intended, just like Richard Lederer, to make someday a book out of them, but I never imagined this book as a mere anthology – at the end of the day, how long can you laugh while reading page after page of jokes? How many spoons of honey can you eat before becoming sick? In other words, the real challenge is to seek a certain approach, either stylistic, philosophic and/ or linguistic, around which to organize the material.

These are my two main complaints regarding Anguished English: the careless organization of the contents (in spite of its chapters and subchapters, which could have been regrouped more efficiently to avoid repetition anyway)  and the hybrid character: it could have been either an anthology or a linguistic study but it’s both and finally neither.

Monday, October 19, 2015

John Dos Passos, "Manhattan Transfer"

 – Mariner Books 2003

Read from February 19th to March 16th 2014

My rating:


How can be explained the complicated and fascinating relationship between the city and the narrator in all major Modernist works whose theme is urbanity? Think of James Joyce’s Dublin, dull and suffocating, with its Evelyns forever clued on the shore they dare not leave. Think of Henry Miller’s Paris, with its siren song that entangles the artists to better devour them. Think of Virginia Woolf’s London, collecting thoughts and fates in the glimpse of a park, the rush of a street, the passing of a tram. Think of John Dos Passos’s New York glowing with promises that it never keeps.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

David Lodge, "Cît să-ntindem coarda"

Editura Polirom, 2004

Perioada lecturii: 6 – 23 august 2012

Votul meu:

A-l citi pe Lodge nu e niciodată atît de simplu pe cît pare la prima vedere. Ironia şi verva povestirii te pot impiedica uneori să treci de primele niveluri de lectură şi te pot face să uiţi, mult mai uşor decît în cazul altor scriitori dublaţi de critici literari, că autorul ştie să mînuiască toate uneltele narative, că un artificiu literar nu e niciodată folosit empiric sau inocent, că există nişte sfori care manevrează personajele şi un subtil deus ex machina care împinge inexorabil acţiunea spre un deznodămînt.

Numai că de data aceasta Marele Păpuşar s-a hotărît să se deconspire, să iasă la lumina reflectoarelor conform bunului obicei postmodernist, transformîndu-se în narator-personaj-romancier-critic literar, într-o polemică indulgentă cu sine şi cu cititorul, care are ca rezultat o ludică reinterpretare a metaromanului ca gen.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Neagu Djuvara, "O scurtă istorie a românilor povestită celor tineri"

– Humanitas 2010

Citită de pe 10 pe 23 noiembrie 2013

Votul meu:

Știați că :

Decebal se pronunță de fapt Dechebal?

Barbar însemna inițial străin?

Nu se știe unde s-a dat de fapt bătălia de la Posada, nici lupta de la Rovine?

Numele țigan vine din grecește și înseamnă „a nu se atinge”, iar cel de rom de la o provincie care se numea Romania (pe undeva prin sudul Bulgariei și partea europeană a Turciei) unde s-au stabilit aceștia după ce au fugit din India, acum multe secole?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Margaret Atwood, "Survival – A Thematical Guide To Canadian Literature"

- Anansi Toronto 1972 ISBN 088784-613-0

Read from September 16th to October 2nd 2015

My rating:

I think this is the first time ever I’ve read a book of literary criticism without being familiar with the name of at least some of the writers it was talking about (in fact I know of two of them, Alice Munro and Leonard Cohen, but theses ones are too little discussed to really count).

It was a strange feeling, as when familiar ground becomes suddenly unfamiliar, however, it did not stir any inferiority complex, since I’m fully aware my “Calit” knowledge is very limited. In fact, this is one of the reasons I decided to read it – to guide me through a culture I’ve been curious about since I came here, ten years ago. Another reason is of course, the author – not only I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood but I’ve also been always interested in the iconic writers’ attitude towards the literature of their native country.