Saturday, 4 November 2017

NON-FICTION NOVEMBER 2017

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The Non-fiction November is another kind of a loose readathon focused on reading more non-fiction books. It is run throughout November by two BookTubers Gemma and Olive.
Although non-fiction is basically the main genre I like to read, so I don't need a Non-fiction November to spur my interest in reading more of the genre, I've decided to participate in order to be able to focus mainly on the non-fiction books I am currently reading.
There is a hashtag #NonFictionNovember2017, devoted Goodreads group and 4 challenges for the Non-fiction November 2017:

  1. Scholarship
  2. Substance
  3. Love
  4. Home

And here is my TBR for the Non-fiction November 2017.


My first pick is Slovak translation of a briliant reportage book The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich. This is a tough book but one definitely worth reading. On basis of interviews with women who were part of soviet army during World War II, Alexievich shows the other face of war, she shows the greatness, the whole universe inside of a single man, or more precisely woman in this case, facing so many different realities of war one could imagine. So it basically touches upon almost each of the Non-fiction November 2017 challenges except for the scholarship one. I have only some 100 pages left. 

Slovensky
Mojou prvou voľbou je slovenský preklad knihy Vojna nemá ženskú tvár od Svetlany Alexijevič. Je to veľmi ťažká kniha no určite stojí za prečítanie a odporučila by som ju každému. Na základe rozhovorov so ženami, ktoré sa zúčastnili Veľkej vlasteneckej vojny, Alexijevič ukazuje inú tvár vojny, ukazuje veľkosť, celý vesmír vnútri človeka - ženy, čeliac takému množstvu rôznych stránok vojny, aké si človek dokáže predstaviť.


Slovensky
Keďže do konca knihy Vojna nemá ženskú tvár mi už zostáva len necelých 100 strán, čo mi na celý november určite nebude stačiť, pri včerajšej návšteve obchodu so zľavnenými knihami som objavila druhú knihu od Ľubomíra Jančoka - Francúzsky paradox. Kým jeho prvá kniha Glamour Paríža sa sústreďovala viac na životný štýl obyvateľov hlavného mesta Francúzska, jeho druhá kniha má širší záber, od gastronómie, cez literatúru, až po politiku. Kniha pre mňa, ako frankofila, ako stvorená.


And here comes a book that fits into the scholarship challenge perfectly. As it says on the tin the Ever Closer Union by Desmond Dinan offers a quite chunky (624 pages) introduction to European integration, which was and still is my favorite field of study within political science. Although this is rather academic book (other Dinan's book was indeed part of my compulsory reading during my university studies) every academic will notice Dinan's easy writing style peppered with his well-directed remarks. Desmond Dinan is definitely one of my favorite European integration scholars.
And this book can also pass for the fourth challenge, which is 'Home': I am proud citizen of Slovakia which also makes me a citizen of the European Union and it indeed feels like I am still home wherever I go, crossing no borders and even paying with the same currency in 19 of the EU member states.


And after my favorite scholar, here comes my favorite fiction writer, now, for a change, in his non-fiction piece. I started to read The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman during the Autumn Readathon and I would like to finish it until the end of November.


Although it is Non-fiction November, I have 2 other fiction books I would like to read and ideally also finish in November and these are A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
In case you are interested, the candle placed on every picture is the sweet grass scented Purple candle from H&M, my very favorite this autumn :)

What are YOU planning to read for the Non-fiction November?

Friday, 3 November 2017

2 READATHONS - WRAP UP

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Although this year I decided not to officially participate in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, I nevertheless enjoyed several hours of reading an I also managed to meet my, not so strenuous goals:


  • On 22nd October I managed to pass the middle of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara reaching page 370;
  • I started to read The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman; and
  • I started to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë for the first time and I was really enjoying it.
Unfortunately, the 7 days of the Autumn Readathon turned out to be pretty reading-unfriendly: I had to spend long hours at work and when I came home there were several chores to do and when I finally had the time to pick a book, after few paragraphs I felt so sleepy that I couldn't keep my eyes open even though I wanted to read so much. Nevertheless, I manged to:


  • read one gothic/spooky book, which was graphic novel Through the Woods by Emily Carroll;
  • continue reading Jane Eyre, ending the Autumn Readathon on page 95;
  • read some more pages of The View from the Cheap Seats, reaching page 37.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

2 READATHONS

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There are 2 readathons running during this weekend and the following week.

The Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon starts on Saturday 21st at 2:00 PM CET and runs for 24 hours till 2:00 PM the following day. Your TBR is completely up to you. Though, this time, I've decided not to register myself officially, I still plan to enjoy several hours of reading. During previous Readathons I found it quite distracting to publish several updates a day and I also don't want to get short of sleep again.

The #Autumnreadathon runs from Sunday 22nd to Saturday 28th October and is hosted by one of my favorite booktubers Mercedes Mills from Mercy's Bookish Musings. I love Mercy's channel so I decided to participate in her first readathon ever.

There are 4 "regular" reading prompts plus 2 bonus ones:

1. Read a gothic/spooky book
2. Read a non-fiction book that feels autumnal (nature writing or cold location travel writing/memoir)
3. Read a novel set in a cold location
4. Read a historical fiction novel

Bonus prompts:
5. Read a short story collection
6. Read an adult novel about a young female protagonist


My TBRs


This year I've decided to use Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon to make progress with my long books. Beginning of this year I pledged to read more long books (more than 500 pages). So far I've read only 3, though, I've also read 6 books of more than 450 pages. So my TBR for Dewey's Readathon is going to look like this:


  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (My goal is to pass the middle. I am currently on page 285 of this 720 pages long book, so I think I can make it with flying colors.)
  • The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non-fiction by Neil Gaiman (My goal is to start and enjoy the reading. Neil Gaiman is my favorite author so I suppose that I will read many pages without the need to set myself any page-related goal.)
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (Same goal here: start and enjoy the reading.)

And now, my TBR for the Autumn Readathon guided by 6 prompts so carefully invented by Mercedes. ...and here is how I am going to mess it all up with my TBR of only 3 books. (Feeling slightly like I am going to make an attempt to fit a cube in a round shaped gap ;)


My pick for the first prompt is pretty okay. For a gothic/spooky book I've chosen a spooky graphic novel Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, which actually hits also one of the bonus prompts - to read a short story collection. I've been longing for a colorful graphic novel well since beginning of summer, so you can imagine how much I am looking forward to read this beautiful one. I received it only yesterday and I was amazed how gorgeous it really is.


And here is the moment where my TBR starts being a bit off. Basically, what I am going to do, is to put down A Little Life for the length of the Autumn Readathon and go on with the two other books from above. So my pick for the prompt no. 2 is The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman, which actually fits only the non-fiction part of the prompt. But doesn't at least the cover look cold and autumnal? That was lame attempt, I admit ;) But Neil Gaiman travels a lot so it is probable that he will pop up in some cold location as well. And this is also another short story collection on my TBR.


And finally, my pick mostly for the bonus prompt no. 6, which may also pass the prompt no. 4, is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I haven't read Jane Eyre yet but I've heard that it is a perfect pick for this autumnal time of the year. So I am really looking forward to it.


Happy reading!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

REVIEW: FRACTURED LANDS - HOW THE ARAB WORLD CAME APART BY SCOTT ANDERSON

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Another important book from the Arab world that everyone should read.


After reading synopsis and preface of the book I was convinced, although doubting viability of such an endeavor, that what I am going to read is a kind of reportage with elements of comparative study of  4+ Arab countries, on basis of direct experience of six local people. And although Scott Anderson tends to form assumptions about the causes of ruptures in the subject Arab countries: "...lack of intrinsic sense of national identity, joined to a form of government that supplanted the traditional organizing principle of society...," these rather stem from a thorough knowledge of the region's intricacies and are here not to be proved but to bring clarity into the complexities of the region's current status.

Much of the book had first been published in a special issue of The New York Times Magazine on 14th August 2016. And it is precisely what I was craving for while reading this book - impressive, page-size journalistic photographs.

In the book Anderson relates stories of six people: the matriarch of a dissident Egyptian family, a Libyan Air Force cadet with divided loyalties, a Kurdish physician from a prominent warrior clan, a Syrian university student caught in civil war, an Iraqi activist for women's rights, and an Iraqi day laborer turned ISIS soldier. I think that there is nothing more telling than a firsthand recount of situation in place. More so in a war or fight against oppression. And although it is also true that these circumstances may in certain cases lead to a self-righteous advocacy of one's own stance, Anderson treats these pitfalls of human perception with detachment of a skilled war reporter and observer.

After reading The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine Di Giovanni, I thought I was prepared and knew what to expect from this kind of books. However, reading Fractured Lands, my second book from war-torn Arab countries, I came to realize that there's no general group of hardships (to use the softest term to describe it), no general group of acts that can be called atrocities. There is each hardship, each atrocity standing on its own, devastating, hitting unexpectedly making you grasp for your breath while you are reading about it in the calmness and safety of your home. But that's the pure truth and today's world, flooded with false information needs to know the truth and therefore to have more books like the Anderson's and Di Giovanni's.


In terms of set up of the book, I found a bit disturbing that the stories of the six people did not form six standalone parts but were rather scattered across time-periods. Due to lack of time I read this book in the span of 2 weeks and I found it a bit difficult to remember where a story of one of the persons previously ended when Anderson picked it up again in a next time-period/part. I understand that this arrangement had been done on purpose, to emphasize concurrency of the stories but personally I've found it a bit tricky at times to follow through.

Provided that I am not that well oriented in the succession of events in Arab countries I was also missing some kind of a timeline of the most important turning points. And although these were mentioned in the text quite comprehensively I think that a basic timeline would help a reader to clearly place each single story within a larger picture.

But these are rather minor adjustments that did not change the fact that this is an important book I would recommend to everyone and therefore I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.


Last but not least, I would like to thank Penguin Random House for sending me Fractured Lands upon my request. It makes an important part of my slowly growing collection of books on Arab world and I will most probably go for rereading it soon or later due to valuable information about Arab countries it contains.

Friday, 1 September 2017

SEPTEMBER 2017 TBR: ARAB WORLD

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...with one exception


Slovensky
Zoznam kníh, ktoré by som chcela v septembri čítať, je zameraný na arabské krajiny Blízkeho východu a Afriky. Hoci, je tu aj jedna výnimka. Knihy, ktoré vyšli aj v slovenskom preklade, sú opísané aj mojim komentárom v slovenčine.

English
My September 2017 TBR has a regional focus on Arab countries of Middle East and Africa. Though, there's one exception.



Slovensky
Jedinou výnimkou na mojom septembrovom zozname kníh o arabských krajinách severnej Afriky a Blízkeho východu je kniha Svetlany Alexijevič: Vojna nemá ženskú tvár. Kniha je autentickým opisom Veľkej vlasteneckej vojny z pohľadu žien - vojačiek, zdravotníčok, na fronte a v okupovaných oblastiach - ktoré zažili jej hrôzy.

English
The only exception on my September TBR list of books about Arabic countries of the Middle East and North Africa is the Slovak translation of The Unwomanly Face of the War by Svetlana Alexievich. This reportage book recounts stories of women - soldiers and nurses, on the front lines and in the occupied territories - who experienced the horrors of the World War II.


In the forefront of my September Arab World TBR stands Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart by Scott Anderson, which I requested and was kindly sent for review by Penguin Random House.
In his reportage book Scott Anderson examines causes of ruptures in countries of Middle East and North Africa through the eyes and experience of six people: the matriarch of a dissident Egyptian family; a Libyan Air Force cadet with divided loyalties; a Kurdish physician from a prominent warrior clan; a Syrian university student caught in civil war; an Iraqi activist for women's rights; and an Iraqi day laborer-turned-ISIS fighter.


Slovensky
V slovenskom preklade tiež vyšla kniha Denníky z Rakky: Útek z "islamského štátu", ktorú som si v anglickom originály kúpila ešte v apríli a som rada, že sa ju konečne chystám začať čítať. Autorom knihy je 24-ročný Sýrčan, vystupujúci pod pseudonymom Samer, ktorý prežil hrôzy počas okupácie mesta Raqqa takzvaným Islamským štátom, a rozhodol sa o nich podať svedectvo a to aj napriek hrozbe trestu smrti. Okrem nesmierneho prínosu samotného svedectva a odvahy autora, je prínosom aj forma, ktorou je kniha spracovaná. Príbeh je doplnený ilustráciami v štýle urban art, ktoré robia knihu prístupnejšou a adresnejšou pre súčasnú spoločnosť.

English
I purchased The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from 'Islamic State' some time ago and I am glad that I am finally about to read it. The author of the book is a 24-year-old Syrian with pseudonym Samer, who survived horrors during occupation of Raqqa by the so called Islamic State and decided to testify even under the threat of death penalty. Besides the enormous contribution of the testimony and courage of the author, the asset of the book lies also in the form it was put together. The story is accompanied by urban art illustrations, which makes it even more accessible and designed for contemporary society.


Exit West by Mohsin Hamid was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2017. Some say it is a love story and some say it is nothing like that. And though, it certainly begins with a love story of a young couple, it is most of all a kind of magical realism planted into today's troubled world of a Middle Eastern country on a brink of civil war. And when the war erupts mysterious doors into faraway countries begin to appear for people to flee into safety.


Khomeini, Sade and Me by Abnousse Shalmani is a fiction with elements of a memoir, originally written in French. Shalmani was born in Iran but she refused to conform to Islamic rules for women. However, when her family emigrates to France she finds rules connected with religion being no less restrictive. I suppose this being a personal story of a woman and her attitude towards rules imposed by religion, formed under the influence of Islamic law and streams in French society.



Tuesday, 29 August 2017

CURRENTLY LOVING #3: SUMMER EDITION

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It's been a while since I last published one of my 'Currently Loving' posts. So here comes only the third in a row and this time a more lighter, summery one, comprising only three categories. Though, one of them has three subcategories. And, oh, this selection is so good!





'...I like large parties. They're so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy.'

'You can't repeat the past.'
'Can't repeat the past?' he cried incredulously. 'Why of course you can!'

These are probably the most well known quotes from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby enchanted me as well and my summer 2017 will be forever connected with immerse desire, limitless pomp of parties and aching deep disappointment spilling from this modern classic novel. It is a perfect summer reading and you should definitely include it into your TBR next summer.
To tell the truth, I downloaded The Great Gatsby soundtrack a couple of years ago, upon hearing it in my cousin's car while he was driving me somewhere, and I fell in love with it even without watching the film or reading the book beforehand. And now, after finishing the book I fell urge to finally watch the film as well. And although I liked it - it touched up my imaginations perfectly - the book was better ;)

Zdroj / Source: IMDb

(SK only) Je to úžasná náhoda, že po rokoch od objavenia hudby k filmu Veľký Gatsby, po lete kedy som si konečne prečítala knihu a pozrela film, Divadlo Jána Palárika v Trnave uvedie inscenáciu Veľký Gatsby, ktorá bude mať premiéru 16. septembra 2017 a predpremiéru 14. septembra 2017. V slovenskej, divadelnej verzii si hlavnú úlohu namiesto Leonarda DiCapria zahrá Marek Majeský.
Rozmýšľam ako sa dostať večer do Trnavy a späť ;)

Zdroj / Source: DJP

Zdroj / Source: DJP


The Book Depository: The Great Gatsby (book)





Have you already heard about Bullet Journal? I've discovered this great method of planning and organising only this summer and I am head over heals in love with it.
The whole idea of Bullet Journaling is based on a simple dotted notebook that allows you not only to organise your tasks but eventually to plan your life months before. Due to the dotted grid it is more or less up to you and your personal requirements how you set it up. Though, there are a couple of rules and good practices how to do it. The main idea is to keep it simple and effective, so that you spend less time setting it up and more time fulfilling your cleverly organised tasks.
For the whole idea explained I attach a short video by the 'father' of Bullet Journal Ryder Carroll. You can find a step by step guide on how to set up and use your Bullet Journal on the official webpage as well: http://bulletjournal.com/


Since I was not entirely sure if this is going to work for me as well, I decided to purchase only a cheap several pages long dotted notebook. I started at the beginning of August and now when I have almost a month of bullet journaling behind me, I can confirm that it definitely did work for me too.
The very list of tasks I set myself each day makes me want to fulfill them so that I can cross them out. It also keeps my long-term plans on my mind and do something to reach them each day. Although, honestly, procrastination managed to creep in sometimes, though, not as many times as it did before.


As you can see my Bullet Journal is a mixture of French, English and Slovak. The main reason behind French is that I would like to improve my language skills and I hope that using it daily and repetitively will get at least some of the common words into my blood. So I managed to find a French Bullet Journal guide somewhere and set it up more or less in French.
I use Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.3 to fill it in and Stabilo Boss pastel highlighters to bring things to my attention or to separate titles from the actual list.
After a month of using I also introduced some customized features. One of these are different colours assigned to different kinds of tasks, as you can see from the key on the bottom of my September Monthly Log page. This could be useful for someone who has more than one job or works on several projects at once. I don't usually take the highlighters with me (I used to but I was fed up after few days), I usually do the highlighting part each evening at home when I am setting up my tasks for the next day(s).







This summer I've also discovered a fantastic new YouTube channel for designers introduced by a young designer Charli Prangley. Charli comes from New Zealand but lives in London and works remotely as a web content designer but not only.
On her YouTube channel called CharliMarieTV she publishes quality design-related videos and vlogs every Tuesday and Saturday. Although her hardware and software tools are completely different from mine (she uses Apple hardware, iOS software and related tools; I rely on Asus and Windows and other mostly open source tools) her advice and practices can serve as an inspiration for me to search for similar solutions within my own tools.
Apart from her main job, other designing projects that come her way and her YouTube channel she has also her own apparel brand called Liner Note Kids inspired by music, selling hand-printed T-shirts and other stuff.


And guess from whom I've heard about the Bullet Journal for the first time? From Charli, of course. So here I attach her video on Bullet Journaling as a sneak peek of her YouTube channel.


Saturday, 26 August 2017

BOOK HAUL: 08/2017

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Although is my August book haul pretty small, it includes books I am very excited about.



You probably know Mohsin Hamid's latest release Exit West, since it has been almost everywhere throughout blogs and BookTube channels. And it became even more viral since it's been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2017.
Some say it is a love story and some say it is nothing like that. And though, it certainly begins with a love story of a young couple, it is most of all a kind of magical realism planted into today's troubled world of a Middle Eastern country on a brink of civil war. And when the war erupts mysterious doors into faraway countries begin to appear for people to flee into safety.
I've decided to go for the American cover, which for the character of the book, looks more magical than the UK one.


I discovered this book after watching of one of the videos by British BookTuber Simon Savidge from SavidgeReads on women in translation. However, he was showing a different book from the same publisher, which is the World Editions. I checked their site, found Khomeini, Sade and Me by Abnousse Shalmani, read the synopsis and immediately fell in love with it. Khomeini, Sade and Me is a fiction with elements of a memoir. Shalmani was born in Iran but she refused to conform to Islamic rules for women. When her family emigrates to France she finds rules connected with religion being no less restrictive.
I am curious to find out more about a viewpoint of an Iranian woman on the rules controlling life of Muslims. This book was even translated to English from French. And finally look at those unusual rounded edges. Aren't they fantastic? They are characteristic for all books published by World Editions.





Sunday, 13 August 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 ;)

Saturday, 1 July 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.






Saturday, 10 June 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