Monday, 15 January 2018

Poetry Revisited: Bright Thoughts for a Dark Day by Mrs. J. C. Yule

Bright Thoughts for a Dark Day

(from Poems of the Heart and Home: 1881)

Will the shadows be lifted to-morrow?—
     Will the sunshine come ever again?—
Will the clouds, that are weeping in sorrow,
     Their glorious beauty regain?
Will the forest stand forth in its greenness?—
     The meadows smile sweet as before?—
And the sky, in its placid sereneness,
     Bend lovingly o’er us once more?

Will the birds sing again as we heard them,
     Ere the tempest their gentle notes hushed?—
Will the breeze float again in its freedom,
     Where lately its melody gushed?
Will the beautiful angel of sunset
     Drape the heavens in crimson and gold,
As the day-king serenely retireth,
     ’Mid grandeur and glory untold?

Yea; the clouds will be lifted to-morrow,
     From valley, and hill-top, and plain;
And sunshine, and gladness, and beauty
     Will visit the landscape again;—
The forest, the field, and the river
     Will bask in the joy-giving ray;
And the angel of sunset, as ever,
     Will smile o’er the farewell of day.

For the longest day hastes to its ending,—
     The darkest night speeds to the day;—
O’er thickest clouds, ever, the sunbeam
     Shines on with unfaltering ray;—
Though thou walk amid shadows, thy Father
     Makes His word and his promises thine;
And, whatever the storms that may gather,
     At length thro’ the gloom He will shine!

Mrs. J. C. Yule, née Pamelia Sarah Vining (1826-1897)
Canadian poet

Friday, 12 January 2018

Bookish Déjà Vu: If Not Now, When? by Primo Levi

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/136096.If_Not_Now_When

As Nazi troops advanced eastward following Hitler’s megalomaniacal order to conquer living space for Aryan or really German citizens, they virtually depopulated entire villages along their marching routes chasing men, women and children from their homes, deporting them to ghettos and concentration camps or, even worse, massacring them on the spot without pity. Above all – though not only – the Jewish population suffered under the terror of the altogether cynical regime. But German reign over Poland was far from peaceful, even less welcome! Just like the French the Poles offered resistance from the start and as Germany continued her expansion politics invading even the Soviet Union the fight became fiercer and better organised. Partisan bands formed and among the fighters were also Russian Jews like the protagonist of Primo Levi’s novel If Not Now, When? that I reviewed in July 2016 and that I’m re-blogging today as a Bookish Déjà Vu.

Read more »

Thursday, 11 January 2018

*New* Decade Challenge 2018: The List

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/19115351-new-decade-challange-january-1-2018---december-31-2018
click on the image to go to the
challenge post on GOODREADS

1 January – 31 December 2018

(Nearly) A Century in Ten Books
– planned and reviewed –
(subject to change) 

1920-29: Rebecca West: The Judge (1922)
1930-39: François Mauriac: Vipers' Tangle (1932), original French title: Le Nœud de vipères 
1940-49: Władysław Szpilman: The Pianist (1946), original Polish title: Śmierć miasta
1950-59: Flannery O’Connor: Wise Blood (1952)
1960-69: Iris Murdoch: An Unofficial Rose (1963)
1970-79: Robert Ludlum: The Road to Gandolfo (1975)
1980-80: Szabó Magda: The Door (1987), original Hungarian title: Az ajtó
1990-99: Lídia Jorge: The Migrant Painter of Birds (1998), original Portuguese title: O Vale da Paixão
2000-09: Mo Yan: Frog (2009, original Chinese title:
2010-18: Zichao Deng: Xanadu (2013)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

2018 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge: The List

https://www.escapewithdollycas.com/reading-challenges/2018-alphabet-soup-reading-challenge/
click on the image to go to the
challenge post on Escape With A Good Book
1 January – 31 December 2018

An Alphabet of Book Titles
– planned and reviewed –
(subject to change) 

  • Maria Àngels Anglada: The Auschwitz Violin (1994), original Catalan title: El violí d’Auschwitz
  • Jeannie Ebner: The Bengal Tiger (1983), original German title: Der Königstiger
  • Barbara Fischmuth: Convent School (1968), original German title: Die Klosterschule
  • Szabó Magda: The Door (1987), original Hungarian title: Az ajtó
  • Peter Rosegger: The Earth and the Fullness Thereof (1900), original German title: Erdsegen
  • Mo Yan: Frog (2009), original Chinese title:
  • Jenny Erpenbeck: Go, Went, Gone (2015), original German title: Gehen, ging, gegangen
  • Rabindranath Tagore: The Home and the World (1916)
  • Maryse Condé: I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem (1986), original French title: Moi, Tituba, sorcière... noire de Salem
  • Rebecca West: The Judge (1922)
  • André Kaminski: Kith and Kin (1986), original German title: Nächstes Jahr in Jerusalem
  • Elisabeth von Heyking: The Letters Which Never Reached Him (1903), original German title: Briefe, die ihn nicht erreichten
  • Lídia Jorge: The Migrant Painter of Birds (1998), original Portuguese title: O Vale da Paixão
  • Vicente Blanco Ibáñez: The Naked Lady (1906), original Spanish title: La maja desnuda, also published in English as Woman Triumphant
  • Kingsley Amis: The Old Devils (1986)
  • Władysław Szpilman: The Pianist (1946), original Polish title: Śmierć miasta
  • Tanizaki Jun'ichiro: Quicksand (1928-30), original Japanese title:
  • Robert Ludlum: The Road to Gandolfo (1975)
  • Angela Carter: Shadow Dance (1966)
  • Dacia Maraini: Train to Budapest (2010), original Italian title: Il treno dell’ultima notte
  • Iris Murdoch: An Unofficial Rose (1963)
  • François Mauriac: Vipers' Tangle (1932), original French title: Le Nœud de vipères
  • Flannery O'Connor: Wise Blood (1952)
  • Zichao Deng: Xanadu (2013)
  • J.M. Coetzee: Youth (2002)
  • Italo Svevo: Zeno's Conscience (1923), original Italien title: La coscienza di Zeno

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

2018 Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge: The List

https://blbooks.blogspot.com/2017/10/2018-share-tea-reading-challenge.html
click on the image to go to the
challenge post on Becky's Book Reviews
1 January – 31 December 2018

Books Read While Sipping Tea
– to be completed as the year advances –

  • Maria Àngels Anglada: The Auschwitz Violin (1994), original Catalan title: El violí d’Auschwitz
  • Elisabeth von Heyking: The Letters That Never Reached Him (1903), original German title: Briefe, die ihn nicht erreichten

Monday, 8 January 2018

Poetry Revisited: Das lesende Kind – The Reading Child by Friedrich Adler

Das lesende Kind

(aus Wilhelm Arendt (Hg):
Moderne Dichtercharaktere: 1885)

Auf den Schooß das Buch gebreitet,
Scheinst du nichts um dich zu missen,
Starrst hinein, indeß beflissen
Ueber's Blatt der Finger gleitet.

In das Meer der Zeichen leitet
Dich kein Können noch und Wissen,
Unbeschränkt, in schwanken Rissen
Sich dein junges Sinnen weitet.

Süßes Dämmern! Traumumwoben
Schläft das Denken noch im Neste,
Nur das Fühlen schwebt nach oben.

Ach, des Lebens trübe Reste
Bleiben, wenn der Flor gehoben—
Das Geheimniß ist das Beste.

Friedrich Adler (1857-1938)
Österreichischer Jurist, Übersetzter
und Schriftsteller böhmischer Herkunft

The Reading Child

(from Wilhelm Arendt (ed.):
Modern Poetic Characters: 1885)

The book spread on the lap,
You do not seem to miss anything,
stare into it, but anxious
Over the sheet the fingers glide.

Into the sea of characters leads
You no skill nor knowledge,
Unrestricted, in tense cracks
Your young senses are expanding.

Sweet dawn! Mystified by dream
The thinking is still sleeping in the nest,
Only feeling floats up.

Oh, life‘s cloudy remains
Stay when the veil is lifted—
The secret is the best.

Friedrich Adler (1857-1938)
Austrian jurist, translator and
writer of Bohemian origin
Literal translation: Edith Lagraziana 2018

Friday, 5 January 2018

Book Review: The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11193951-the-auschwitz-violinAs regards books, I’m starting into the year 2018 on a rather sad note. This is because I dedicate this whole month to the horrors of the holocaust and World War II in Eastern Europe as they come to life through the very different stories of four survivors, ones real, others more or less fictionalised, if not fictitious. Three of the four books on my blogging schedule of January have protagonists who devoted their lives to music. The novel that I picked for my first review of the year evokes the literally life-saving craftsmanship of a young Jewish violin maker in a small subcamp of Auschwitz. When the camp commander finds out that Daniel is a luthier, he orders him to make The Auschwitz Violin following a bet with the sadistic camp doctor. Not knowing that his life is even more at stake than usual, Daniel plunges into the work he loves.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2018 Reading Challenges & Specials

And here we are in January again! As from now I’m slowing down my pace a little presenting new books here on Edith’s Miscellany only every other week and thus reducing my reads by half. Still, you may look forward to twenty-six reviews of – hopefully – marvellous books written by famous as well as forgotten authors, half male and half female as usual. For obvious reasons, I’m out of the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks that Robin of My Two Blessings hosts on an extra blog also in 2018, but I’m going to participate in others instead… and no less interesting ones as you will see.

Like past year I’m making only this collective sign-up post instead of individual ones for each of the annual challenges running from 1 January through 31 December 2018, but as usual separate lists to follow my progress will go online by and by. And I add an update of my – actually or at least theoretically – ongoing reading challenges and book specials.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Poetry Revisited: The Child and the Year by Celia Thaxter

The Child and the Year

(from St. Nicolas, Volume 12 #3, January 1885)

Said the child to the youthful year:
“What hast thou in store for me,
O giver of beautiful gifts! what cheer,
What joy dost thou bring with thee?”


“My seasons four shall bring
Their treasures: the winter’s snows,
The autumn’s store, and the flowers of spring,
And the summer’s perfect rose.


“All these and more shall be thine,
Dear child—but the last and best
Thyself must earn by a strife divine,
If thou wouldst be truly blest.”


Celia Thaxter (1835-1894)
American author and poet