Classics in translation anyone want join in ?

Well this is a sort of feeler post to see if any one would be interested in reading a few classics in translation , I’m 300 pages into Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone and already have a  list of writers mentioned by him with in these first few hundred pages plato , Virgil, Montesquieu Plutarch to name a few , I read a bit of Homer years ago and maybe three or four other books but that is about it and reading leopardi has made me want to fill this gap and learn more about these writers that so inspired him in thoughts about history and language .So maybe a small club reading three or four of these books a year  maybe starting in the middle of next year .I’ve not look fully into availability translations etc yet . I’m hoping a number of these writers  will be easily available as Oxford classics or Penguin classics .Maybe by the end of Zibaldone I’ll do a reading list of books I want to try if any one want to come along for the ride .

Have you a favourite classic in translation ?


Holmes but will the book be like the films or better ?

hound of the baskervilles ,my 1982 copy

Now Amanda is organising a read along of this classic in October .Now this has set me think ,I think I’ve mention my love of crime tv shows and films ,well my all time favourite is of course Holmes and this story in particular .It’s been twenty plus years since I’ve read it but less than a month since I watched a film version of it that time it was the Ian Richardson and the Basil Rathbone in the same day ,and in the last year or two I’ve watched the hammer version ,Jeremy Brett version ,Matt frewer ,BBC version of the original and of course the Homage of the modern Sherlock series .Each is different in little ways ,not as much of course as the versions of Buchan’s 39 steps are ,but what has been missed from each and will I now be able to separate the films from the book  ?  Do we fix in our mind when we see a film a character ? I often find I have my own vision of characters I’ve read completely different to the actors cast in the film versions ,but in hindsight when think of the book years later see the actor that played the character .I want to break this and enjoy this readalong afresh as it is a classic I loved and think I still will love and also gives me an excuse to buy or get a new copy of the book to read along with ,have you a favourite edition  of the Hound of the Baskerviles  that is out now ?

#bookaday 17 a future classic

When does a book in translation become a classic book ? Well a number of ways win the nobel prize for one , like Laszlo Krasznahorkai with satantango catch the eye of a star critic James woods in his case and finally word of mouth now I would say Haruki Murakami is a perfect example of this in action .Now I’ll give you my tip and it is Andrej Nikoladis here are reviews and piece on the blog I have met Andrej and rather like Andres Neuman he is someone you know is going to be the next great writer in translation .Istros books is due to publish his third book a book which has Sebald as an influence on it I can’t wait .

desert island disc

Well Simon and Richard have put down list for there desert island discs ,well I am a huge fan of the show having listen since roy plumleys time showing my age there lol . Over years have jot my eight records down ,but when I come to write a post that other people are going to see my mind went blank to start with ,then it was all new stuff but after a think and bearing in mind the records are meant to be with you for a peroid of time a mix of what is tried and test and maybe one or two new was the way to go .


1.better together by Jack Johnson ,I first got into jack well before the wave of sucees with his first album as a fan of ben harper he had worked with jack ,but this song is “our song ” we both like it myself and my wife Amanda ,we had it for a dance at our wedding so it means a lot to me and reminds me of my darling wife .

2.Mercy seat by Nick Cave and the bad seeds – I heard this on the John peel show taped it and wore the tape out it is onw of his finest songs epic dark ,religous imagery and full on rock ,nick has mellowed over the years like I have been a tear away as a teen but this song evokes a time and places .

3.Golden lights by The smiths ,now as a teen I had the morrissey haircut glass etc ,he spoke to me then but over the years i fallen in and out of love with his music ,at moment I m in love again after a couple of great albums ,this song is funny and sums him up in a way ,he was a guide to a young man with troubles .

4.Black eyed dog by Nick Drake ,nick Drake was a wonderful guitar player and singer ,he died at a young age and this song about depression touched me at a time I had depression and of course has dog and I had a black dog at the time ,a soul searching song . will tear us apart ny Joy Divison now i grew up around north cheshire near macclesfield went college there ever since I can remember I ve love this song it was a anthem for me growing up ,both joy divison and new order have been bands Ive listen since teens and this brings back my school and first outings to pubs etc

6.Old King by Neil Young ,a song about neils dog enough said

7.razor blades ,,little pills and big pianos by James rhodes ,A collection of piano piece by James Rhodes his first album it is amzingly soothing record from a great self taught talent

8.hallelujah Jordan by hothouse flowers ,this irish band reminds me of my irish roots and the last summer at school it is a very summery album its on .

book proust in search of lost time (complete) a book I really really want to read at some point so may have time on desert island

luxury item – digital photo fram with picture of my wedding and my wife and of course winston .

well there is the 8 sure if you asked me next week sure they be different .


persephone reading week cheerful weather for a wedding by julia strachey


Julia Strachey

Notes – 

Julia strachy was on the fringes of the bloomsbury group she was a cousin to the biograph Lytton Strachey  part of the famous stachey family,she was published by hogarth press orginally that was connected to the group  she also published another novel twenty years after this .It was book 38 in persephone releases . 

The book –  

The book follows dolly the main charcaters wedding day to the hon Owen Bigham , we start with the morning nerves and her brothers frolicking about downstairs on the sofa . 

Robert’s black shoes sticking on the arm of the sofa were crossed one over the other , and revealed a gleam of emerald between the shoes and the trousers . 


her mother flaps as the day progresses nerves run high drinks are taken to calm nerves ex’s appear Joseph that confides he is still in love with dolly  and aunts are abound ,In what seems a typical if a little fraught at times wedding day in  the thirties . 

My view – 

I was looking forward to reading this book and was disappoint it oozes the era ,Dolly’s brothers and the aunts made me think of Woodhouse and Wooster with his aunts .But this book is slightly darker than them ,Julia had wonderful observations and great dialogue in this book .The book is wonderfully produce with an elegant front cover and nice inner leaves .I m a little disappoint that this was the only book i ve got to read for Persephone week , but due to work and home commitments i haven’t had the time .This was a wonderful book to republish a lost gem from a writer connected to so many other writers . 

Links – 

the life of Julia Strachey – a 2 page pdf file 

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