New in: Verso Books

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I got new books! Completely new ones, with unbroken spines und new book smell! As a sort of post-Christmas gift, at least that’s how I like to think of it, Versobooks had an amazing sale and I couldn’t resist. Also, what better way to spend those gift vouchers, than on these amazing works:

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life (Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields)

The Fieldses, a sociologist and a historian respectively, examine the myth of American post-racial society and look at different concepts of race. I’m quite excited about their archive, which includes not just media articles about contemporary forms of segregation and Obama’s campaign, but also scholarly articles. There’s always the danger of invoking race, when discussing racism and race relations even, or perhaps especially, in academia.

Capitalism: A Ghost Story (Arundhati Roy)

Roy tackles India’s economic inquealities, militarism and neoliberal corporate backing. I know Roy is the go to voice in this matter for the West, so if anyone has recommendations for other writers on this issues, let me know. But her work seems to be one central in the debate on capitalism, not just in India. I’m hoping for lots of context and connections to global capitalism.

Beyond Black and White: Transforming African American Politics (Manning Marable)

A key work and I can’t believe I still haven’t read it. Marable looks at race relations and Black activist and intellectual history. I’m very interested in reading about the focus on third world labor and centering class issues. But I’m ambiguous about the calls to move beyond (the) black/white binary, but fortunately recent debates have done a lot to critique a notion of moving beyond. And this is a new, expanded version so I’m excited to read about more recent developments and of course Marable on the post-racial.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Also, happy (reading) weekend! :)

Thoughts: Lost in Translation

lost in translationIn Lost in Translation, Ella Frances Sanders illustrates over 50 untranslatable words. This lovely book was a gift by my wonderful friends Vishy, who has impeccable taste in books.

Translation divides readers, connects communities, but always sparks debate. Sanders’ book is not an essay tackling issues of translation, but instead presents you with words that do not have a counterpart in English, words that take at least one sentence in English to capture their meaning. If you love words, you’ll be sure to treasure this book, I at least found great delight in discovering that other language communities found concepts that resonate with me so essential that they have a word for it. Why do other languages lack these words, why are they not loanwords?

If English is not your first language, you’ll probably find one in your mother tongue in this book. I admit, it was quite funny to see Kabelsalat on the list, which I think is a word every person needs that ever had to untangle headphones etc. But then I also found Waldeinsamkeit and was quite surprised, because i had never heard that word before. It first appeared in German romanticism, which makes sense I guess, and it just shows that you can still be surprised by your first language. There’s actually quite a number of German words in this book, so even if English already has a lot of German loanwords, there need to be more, mostly compound words :D

The illustrations of the words are gorgeous, so I’m going to leave you with a few of my favorites. Let me know in the comments, which are your favorite untranslatable words!

jugaadTsundokufika

Sunday snapshot

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Hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing Sunday! I’m currently spending a week with my family, but still have to work on my MA thesis on week days. So I’m joining the gainfully employed and am trying to make the most of the weekend.

I got the new Sarah Waters novel for my birthday, but couldn’t fit this tome in my suitcase last time. But now we’re reunited and I’m loving it so far! Naturally such a book has to be enjoyed with a big cup of tea, in my case Friesentee (typical for the island of the same name, it’s usually Assam mixed with Ceylon). I love strong black tea, especially in winter, my favorite time of the year.

What’s everyone reading this weekend?

New Loot

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Finally got some new books! I’ve been trying not to get too many more books these last two years since the last move kind of gave me a book-moving trauma! But on my way home last week I saw some flyers for a used book sale at a community center and couldn’t resist. Once there I wasn’t really in any danger of buying too many books since most were Edgar Wallace, Forsyth, Pilcher and the likes and that’s not really my stuff. I was a very happy bookworm though when I found a copy of Das Alter (La Vielleisse) by Simone de Beauvoir and an English copy of Roots by Alex Hayley, score! I’ve never read de Beauvoir’s works on age and society so I’m very excited about it and since I studied American Studies I feel that it is obligatory to own a copy of Roots. Also, I’ve only ever watched the adaptation.

The funniest thing though was that on the way to the book sale I stumbled on a free books box and the only thing left was a copy of N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn in English and in great condition. This has never happened before, usually these boxes have either uninteresting books in them or they are wet from rain or smell weird. So I’m very happy about this one.

What books have you acquired recently and do you ever find free books boxes in your area?

Halloween Reads

Well, here I am again, crawling out of my blogless hidey-hole in abject shame! New books and ebooks (still somehow not real books to me) keep stacking up (well not quite sure what ebooks do…queueing?), but I find that I’m reading less and less fiction and more and more textbooks and feminist newsblogs etc. I’m still missing my commute, cause that was sacred reading time and I have yet to meet a fellow bookwork here in real life. I thought I’d start up writing a few lines about my reads again, even if it’s just for myself, to get back into things. So Im very optimistically going to set a goal of 2 books a month (3-years-ago- me would have been horribly embarrassed), I hear you all laughing! :)

Since I finally have a free weekend and am feeling particularly anti-social, I grabbed a couple of seasonal books and decided to lock myself in and enjoy a weekend reading. So here’s what’s on my Halloween reading pile:

christieNo Halloween without a reread of Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party, possibly followed by the tv adaptation, because Mrs. Oliver is one of my favorite characters in the Poirot mysteries.

MissPeregrineCoverYes, I am in fact the last person on the planet to read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I thought it was suitably creepy for the occasion and hopefully I’ll enjoy it, since I can then spend the next Halloweens reading the sequels.

jacksonALso a classic, which I have somehow not yet read. I’m not sure why, since I love Shirley Jackson’s books. Perhaps I didn’t want to blow through all her works in one go? Who knows, but this one I am definitely reading this weeked :)

Any recommendations on new creepy reads I shouldn’t miss out on? What are you reading this Halloween?

Lazy Sunday Reading

 

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A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

 

In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare – wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear – at a price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed …” (amazon)

*Waves* Still alive…

ImageWhoops…so it’s been some time. How’re you all doing, what are you reading, let me know!! I’m drowning in secondary literature and miss my prose reading days :( But I took two days off for the bank holiday and finally read the newest Flavia de Luce book (so good!) and also Nightingale Wood (also quite good, but I’m still devoted to Cold Comfort Farm, sorry).

I’m posting now because I found gift voucher for 20 euros while cleaning my desk and can’t decide what book to splurge for. I kinda realized that I have no idea what’s going on in the book world and what everyone is reading. I’d really love something adventure-y/mystery-ish/comfort read, maybe that’s badly phrased, but just something not depressing, a interesting world where I can spend my weekend in. Any recommendations? Plz?

Hope everyone’s enjoying the ‘lazy’ summer days :)

 

Queer diasporas

My uni library is sadly lacking in literature I need, so I’m always quite surprised when my catalogue searches do come up with results. I know it’s an academic read, but it’s fun and well-written and does give you critical tools for looking at literature and film in a fresh light. Separating academic from prose works is boring and I know you all can take it!

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Definitely read this one if you are interested in diasporas, queer theory, nationalism and lesbian subjectivity. In that case also check out M.F. Manalansan’s works.

I’m gonna curl up with Gopinath’s book and a pot of tea, intellectual posturing be damned.

What are you currently reading? Academic works, blogs or news articles, what reads do you leave out of your book blogs?

5 on my tbr

It’s been a while – again. I’m swamped with work at the moment, but then today I remembered the no-pressure-blogging resolution for this year. So, how about a quick post with five books that are currently on my tbr (it’s what I call my shoe box full of post-it notes with scrawls of titles and authors a.k.a. the ton of books I wish I had lying around). Have some pretty pics of pretty books:

Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (Saidiya Hartman)

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Though I’ve read quite a bit about the Black Atlantic, Hartman’s work is still on my tbr. I’ve recently finished Cvetkovich’s Depression (which is amazing!) and she references and makes use of Lose Your Mother in her arguments. I really want to read this one now.

Die Tapetentür (Marlen Haushofer)

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My wonderful friend Vishy gave me Haushofer’s The Wall and I absolutely loved it (and I will review that one soon). So I thought I’d check out her other works and this one sounded great plus my library actually has a copy. The main character in this one is a librarian! and I hope Haushofer’s portrayal of women will be as great here.

Life after Life (Kate Atkinson)

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Absolutely love Atkinson’s crime fiction and most of all her biting sense of humor and nastiness of character descriptions. Time to try her novels and this one is recent and I’ve been seeing a lot of it on the blogosphere etc. Though it usually takes me ages to get to new books.

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy (Nikki Loftin)

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A kind of Hänsel & Gretel revisited for middle-graders, it sounds like huge fun and some reviewers made daring Roald Dahl comparisons (careful with such comparisons please!!). This can only lead to disappointed expectations, but I want to give it a try anyway since I’m also a sucker for the cover art.

Brown Skin, White Masks (Hamid Dabashi)

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To make up for my shallow cover art comment, here’s an academic tbr (see I have depth) ;P I read more of those nowadays it seems, but I only recently discovered Dabashi’s work even existed. The Fanon book was amazing and this one basically connects it with Orientalism and our era and discusses the problems of intellectual migrants and informing on one’s home country. Will have to see about the quality of the arguments, but if it does what it advertises then I really want to include it in all future discussions of colonialism and Orientalism.

Have you read these books? Do you want to?

Also, self-conscious blogger question: Are posts like this of interest to you or do you prefer in-depth reviews?

Resolutions?

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Happy 2014 everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful start into the new year and I wish you an amazing new year!

I don’t usually have resolutions ready for the new year, but it’s come up so often in conversations and on facebook this week, so I started thinking about how I wanted to get back into blogging (which coincided with the end of the year so…resolution?) and bookish resolutions are more fun anyway. So here I am giving it a shot:

1.) Read 1 book per week

I’ve always read a decent amount of books, but it’s been harder last year to find reading time or concentrate when I did take the time for reading. And most books I read were textbooks, so this brings me to resolution number…

2.) Make at least half of these books non-fiction and unrelated to academic work

This used to be easy, but I’m hopeful that this is simply a case of getting back in the saddle. And I do love lists (obviously), which is why I already had a fun morning choosing possible reads for this month, while everyone else was sleeping off the hangover heh.

3.) And as for blogging, I want to try to post at least one post per week.

Because I’ve quite missed it and all you wonderful bookish people! But I want to try to keep it fun and not a chore, so it’s probably going to be a lot of short reviews and thoughts more often than in-depth reviews, because I spent most of my day analyzing stuff and trying to sound smart.

See, this post will likely set the tone for my blogging style this year. But there’s no book cover yet (sacrilege!), so here’s what I just started reading:

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What are your resolutions for 2014 if you have any, and what is your first read of the year?

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    Obligatory reading snack. #igreads #bookstagram #Relish #neverreadfoodiebookswithoutfood Off to bed with a Pym :p #justonemorechapter #bookstagram Got my Verso books package today! #bookstagram #versobooks My tulips are curious about The Interestings, too. #bookstagram #tulips #book #Sundayreading
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