Long nights and longer books


Well a few weeks ago the clocks went back here in the UK and the darker evenings of winter started a time to spend more time in the house reading and this winter has seen the chance to read two huge books in translation .The first is the German  book prize winning The Tower by Uwe Tellkamp a family saga set in East Germany just in the years before it fell apart ,a timely time to translate the book as it marks 25 years since the Berlin Wall fell (is it really this seems like yesterday to me ) .The second book is one that had been on my radar for a good while Giacomo Leopardi book Zibaldone is well one of those books that can’t really be pigeonholed so easily it is the first full translation of the 4500 odd pages Leopardi wrote in his notebooks over a number of years .The books is collection of thoughts, ideas ,quotes and aphorisms what would have at one time been called a commonplace book (a book that people collect quotes and their reactions etc ) .Now this book has taken seven years two editors seven main translators and a whole collection of experts to bring to English .I think it will take me to new year to work through the 2500 pages of it alongside a few other books .It’s worth the effort to put on the blog what is considered a masterpiece of Italian literature so look out for a number of posts in the new year about Zibaldone and a post about the tower later this month


What books are you reading this winter ,

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 11:10:13

    Lovely sounding books Stu. I always feel the call of Dickens at this time of the year, but frankly I’m struggling to finish 300 pages of dense travel writing from Laurens van der Post about his journey through Russia in the Soviet era!


  2. whisperinggums
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 11:27:14

    LOL Stu, winter is so far away that I haven’t worked that out yet. But for this summer, I have a few short story collections to read, and Helen Garner’s latest non-fiction work. First though, I’m just starting a very short novel, A girl is a half-formed thing. I can’t recollect whether you’ve read it or not?


  3. vicky blake
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 11:55:31

    These books sound fascinating. I’m reading Peter Moen’s Diary. He was arrested by the Germans in Norway during the 2nd WW, broke down under torture and gave his friends away. In solitary confinement he recorded his day by day agony by pricking out a few sentences with a tack upon pieces of toilet paper which he then pushed under the floor of his cell through a grating. In 1944 he died when the boat he was being transported to Germany on was sunk. However he’d told another man on the boat of his diary and this man survived and the diary was recovered after the war. It’s an extraordinary very moving book.


  4. MarinaSofia
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 11:57:17

    I’m keen to read The Tower too – and I have a whole bunch of ‘fatter’ books to get through: not least, Cabre’s Confessions,


  5. Amateur Reader (Tom)
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 14:15:29

    I’m going to return to Leopardi next year, but to the poems, not to that crazy thing, no way, no way. Feel free to join me, Stu, in reading the good Leopardi – the poems, the poems.


  6. hastanton
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 14:17:41

    I’m about to embark on a reading ( and rereading for some of us ) of Middlemarch with some Twitter friends! 1st Dec is lift off!


  7. Rebecca
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 14:31:52

    I haven’t embarked on any long, long books yet, but since we have snow on the ground I’ve been reading lots of shorter books. The Tower looks very good.


  8. Guy Savage
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 15:12:05

    The Tower sounds fascinating. I’m also reading two long books at the moment: an almost 1000 page bio of Goebbels and Anna Karenina (again)


  9. jacquiwine
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 18:32:10

    Looking forward to hearing more about these books, especially The Tower. This winter I’m hoping to read The Master and Margarita as I’ve been meaning to get to it for ages. Oh, and I still need to find time to flip back and read Knausgaard vol 1, A Death in the Family – it feels like a winter book.


  10. Travellin' Penguin (Pam)
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 18:52:37

    I’m enjoying spring weather here and not reading anything too taxing at the moment. Your books have beautiful covers and sound extremely interesting. Will look forward to hearing more.


  11. Bellezza
    Nov 21, 2014 @ 01:05:44

    Loon, Italian literature?! I’m all in! They look absolutely delicious, these two books of yours, over lovely, long Winter nights ahead. It is my favorite season, the best season for reading.


  12. Bellezza
    Nov 21, 2014 @ 01:07:05

    My comment was supposed to start out, “Oooh” stupid auto-corrector…


  13. Lisa Hill
    Nov 21, 2014 @ 21:39:28

    My word, those are chunksters!
    I’m soon coming up to a chunkster of my own, I’m working my way through all the books that won the Miles Franklin award, and Xavier Herbert’s Poor Fellow My Country is coming up. It is 1463 pages long!


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