nedeľa, 13. augusta 2017

#5STARTBRPREDICTIONS

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The hashtag #5startbrpredictions was introduced by British BookTuber Mercedes Mills from MercysBookishMusings (which is the name of her YouTube channel).
The logic behind this hashtag is pretty simple. You chose a couple of books from your TBR list you expect to rate with 5 stars, then actually read them and see whether your predictions were right or wrong. When well read Mercedes did this for the first time, she was wrong about all of her selected books except for one. So don't worry about failing, because this is a great chance to refine your choices next time ;)
And now, let's turn to my own TBR pile of 5 star predictions.


Well, to a true bookworm this may seem like an outright cheating to create a pile of 5 star predictions out of the most hipped books there are. But let me explain.
To tell the truth, I am rather slow reader and as a graduate of Political Science I often prefer to read non-fiction about issues that interest me than mainstream fiction. Even in this pile there are two non-fiction books. That's also why I am rather behind with contemporary fiction everyone's raving about, though, I'd love to read more of it.
The second reason is perhaps well known to every bookworm that even the most praised book could fail to meet your specific tastes.
So lets start with the list of my 5 star TBR predictions one by one.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a Young Adult novel. I used to read YA even well late into my twenties but last couple of years I started to be interested in lesser and lesser number of books from this genre. However, The Hate U Give sounds different. It is part of the Black Lives Matter movement and it features a black teenage girl called Starr who becomes witness to her friend being shot by a policeman.


My second 5 star prediction is a book by a journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Applebaum: Iron Curtain - The Crushing of Eastern Europe. Although I haven't read any book by Anne Applebaum yet, I've read some of her interviews and her apt and brave tweets are one of my most favorite. She lives in Poland and is married to former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski. Iron Curtain tells history of my home country as well.


I didn't feel interested in reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry at first. But after hearing praises for it by Mercedes herself and other two of my favorite BookTubers, Simon Savidge from SavidgeReads and Alice Lippart from The Book Castle, I've decided to include it into my TBR list. Though now, my expectations are pretty high. Hence it is rightfully part of my 5 star predictions pile.


The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber has with no doubt one of the most stunning covers among the books in my library. When I saw this paperback published by Canongate in a local bookshop for the first time, it was accompanied with a matching paperback featuring a guy instead of a girl on it's cover. And I fell in love with it. I've decided to purchase The Book of Strange New Things partly due to it's cover but partly due to it's sci-fi/melancholic/deep-cutting story. This strange combination leads to my 5 star expectations.


Basically, I don't think there could be any other than 5 star rating of a book written upon life-threatening testimonies of a man who lived under atrocious rule of the so called Islamic State in Raqqa. Moreover, The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from 'Islamic State' has been endowed with street art illustrations, which make it more accessible for a contemporary reader.


Look at that stunning cover picture of Saint Malo, town on the northwest coast of France. For me, as a graduate of Political Science and EU-studies enthusiast, Saint Malo reminds me first of all of the launch of the European Security and Defense Policy in 1999, an inconceivable happening during the World War II, during which the story of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr takes place. I expect this Pulitzer Prize-winning book being a gripping story reminding us of living during the darkest times of our history.

So these are the 6 books I expect to rate with 5 stars on Goodreads. I don't plan to read them straight away so please expect an extended period until I will be able to come back with wrap-up of this interesting challenge. Although, after finishing this post I am even more eager to start to read them as soon as possible ;)

sobota, 1. júla 2017

2017 POLROČNÉ ZHRNUTIE / 2017 HALF YEAR READING SUMMARY

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V prvej polovici roka 2017 sa mi podarilo prečítať 12 kníh z 13, ktoré som sa zaviazala prečítať v roku 2017, prostredníctvom Goodreads. Takže, je ešte len polovica roka 2017 a som takmer hotová (v skutočnosti mi už zostáva len pár strán, aby som mala prečítaných 13 kníh).

Pripravila som preto niekoľko infografík, ktoré čo sa kníh týka, sumarizujú prvú polovicu roka 2017.

English
In the first half of 2017 I managed to read 12 books out of 13 I pledged to read in 2017 on Goodreads. So, well, it's only half of 2017 and I am almost done (actually, I have only few pages to go to finish the 13th book).

Here I prepared some infographics to wrap up the first half of 2017 in terms of reading.






sobota, 10. júna 2017

ANTOINE LAURAIN: MITTERRANDOV KLOBÚK / THE PRESIDENT'S HAT

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Antoine Laurain: Mitterrandov klobúk / The President's Hat

Please scroll down for English translation

Kniha Mitterrandov klobúk, od francúzskeho spisovateľa, režiséra a scenáristu Antoina Lauraina je pre mňa osobne malým pokladom, ktorý som objavila vo výpredaji. Pravdou však zostáva, že na to, aby si človek mohol skutočne vychutnať túto knihu, musí mať v obľube veľmi špecifický štýl a humor,  s akým Francúzi píšu, či tvoria filmy.
Útla kniha obsahuje krátke, samostatné príbehy štyroch ľudí, ktorých jediným spojivom je klobúk vtedajšieho francúzskeho prezidenta, socialistu Françoisa Mitterranda. Vo francúzskej politike sú to práve socialisti, ktorí predstavujú liberálnejší prúd. A tak aj v klobúku, ktorý si prezident zabudol v reštaurácii, akoby zostalo fluidum jeho majiteľa. Štyri hlavné postavy, v rukách ktorých sa klobúk postupne ocitá, pod jeho magickým vplyvom zrazu radikálne menia svoje životy, robiac rozhodnutia, ktoré doposiaľ nemali odvahu urobiť. O skutočnom majiteľovi klobúka však vie iba jedna z nich, účtovník Daniel, po boku ktorého prezident, spolu s kolegami: vtedajším ministrom zahraničných vecí Rolandom Dumasom a pravdepodobne premiérom Michelom Rocardom (v texte je spomenuté len jeho krstné meno), v reštaurácii náhodou večeral.
Prínosom románu, je pre mňa okrem samotného príbehu, aj náhľad do reality vtedajšej francúzskej spoločnosti a politiky.

"Mittrand, túto skratku obľubovala trochu staromilská, francúzska pravica, ktorá inklinovala k extrémnej pravici, hoci si to nepriznávala. Nebolo to pritom prvýkrát, čo tú skratku počul, siedmy, šestnásty a ôsmy obvod tvorili trojicu na čele parížskych obvodov, kde ju používali pri spoločenských večeriach. Starý aj nový gaullista, umiernený volič Únie pre francúzsku demokraciu, zdržanlivý volič Národného frontu či hrdý rojalista, všetci komolili meno hlavy štátu s nikdy nepriznaným cieľom, aby sa medzi sebou spoznali. Mittrand bolo heslo."

"Po návrate domov mu Charlotte oznámila, že pán Djian zrušil piatkový aperitív. Bernard sa rozmrzene spýtal, či si to rozmyslel. "Horšie," odvetila mu žena, "pozýva nás k Jacquesovi Séguélovi."

PR špecialista Jacques Séguéla pracoval na predvolebnej kampani Françoisa Mitterranda, pred prezidentskými voľbami v roku 1981, a vymyslel aj jeho slogan "La force tranquille" (Pokojná sila).

Hoci som posledné strany nedočkavo zhltla, musím priznať, že záver ma trocha sklamal, keďže som očakávala trocha menej objasnený, otvorený koniec. Aj preto som knihu na Goodreads napokon ohodnotila 4-rmi hviezdičkami z 5-tich.





English

The book The President’s Hat by French writer, film director and screenwriter Antoine Lauraine, is for me a little treasure which I found in sale. However, it’s true that in order to fully enjoy this book one has to like a specific style and humor that the French use when writing books or making films.
This tiny book is composed of short standalone stories of four people linked only by the hat of then French president, socialist François Mitterrand. In French politics the socialists represent more liberal stream. And so, in the hat left behind in a restaurant by the president, it seems like there also has been left an esprit of his owner. The four main characters, who subsequently put their hands on the hat, under its magical influence suddenly start to radically change their lives, making decisions they were scared to make before. Though, only one of them knows the identity of its true owner, an accountant Daniel, who happened to dine side by side with the president and his two colleagues: then Minister of Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas and probably Prime Minister Michel Rocard (there’s only his first name mentioned in the story).
One of the assets of the novel for me, besides the story itself, are also insights to the realities of then French society and politics.
Of all other settings, in one moment, we found ourselves on a party thrown by French PR consultant Jacques Séguéla who worked on Mitterrand’s presidential campaign in 1981, and invented his slogan "La force tranquille" (The Calm Force).
Although I’ve impatiently swallowed the last pages, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed by the ending, since I hoped for a more open-ended and less clarified conclusion. And this is also why I eventually decided to give the book 4/5 stars on Goodreads.


Note: The quotations are missing from my English review, because I did not want to do one of the biggest translation DON’TS. Since I don’t own neither the French original of the book nor its English translation, I don’t want to do the English translation via the Slovak one.




Amazon.co.uk: The President's Hat
Martinus.sk: Mitterrandov klobúk