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Beyond Sing the Woods by Trygve Gulbranssen

I was so impressed with this novel. It was recommended to me by a friend and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. There are many reasons why I loved it so much and why I would recommend it.  So, let's get to it.

Beyond sings the woods is so poetically written, something that is difficult to do in a novel. What is interesting is that the prose itself is pretty straightforward  no embellishments but still there is something undoubtedly poetic in it. Usually it is the short stories that have lyrical characteristics, but this novel has poetic brilliance. Nevertheless, it functions like a novel. The narrative follows a life of a family living in a village. Sounds simple? Yes, but the author really succeeds in making the people and the surroundings in the novel alive. There is something for everyone: love, conflicts and great descriptions of nature. 

This novel is also a great study of human character. In many ways, it reminds me on the great Russian realists. It is always easy to write …

Ilona llega con la lluvia by Álvaro Mutis

Beautifully written, Ilona Ilega con la Luvia captivated me with its slow rhythm and poetry. The story starts off with a character that reminded me of Delboy from Only Fools and Horses. The novella soon develops into quite a story (that has little to do with British humour.) Wonderful and unusual characters reminded me of friends and dear people. I certainly wouldn't mind reading something else by this writer. I'd say his writing really suits me...In short, this novella felt different (in a sense of a change that's welcomed).

Finally, Ilona is such a captivating heroine. Lover and a friend of the protagonist, one of those people that can never rest in one place and that never surrender to life.

What more can I say? A lot more actually... this book if any really deserves a better review...When I have time, I'll write more about it.

Prekrasna novela, posve me očarala svojim polaganim ritmon i poetičnošću. Počinje sa brodolomom (u financijskom i moralnom smislu) lika koji me…

Tycoon by Željana Giljanović (book review)/ Tajkun Željane Gijanović (recenzija knjige)

I've just finished reading Tycoon by Željana Giljanović. It has taken me just a few hours to finish it....And what a enjoyable read it has proved to be! Situated in Split and (as the title would indicate) focusing on a life of a tycoon, this novel is all that such a novel could hope to be be: funny, intelligent and memorable. One more thing I have to mention are the dialogues, for most part they are fantastic and sound really natural.

The only thing I didn't like was not the novel itself but the foreword that was mostly about the person who wrote it. However, I do agree with the part of the foreword that was actually about a novel.... and that states that the novel would make a great play because of the excellent dialogues.

 It's not one of those life changing books, but it is one for one would recommend reading.

Upravo sam pročitala Tajkuna, roman Željane Giljanović i trebalo mi je svega par sati da ga dovršim, lako štivo na neki način, ali ne mislim to u lošem smislu...r…

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen : book review

What should I start with. Perhaps with what I most liked about this novel? I love the old guy that tells the story. The way old Jacob is described is wonderful, very human and warm. The story had its attractions, but seemed much more interesting because of the old guy that narrates it, because it is told from a perspective of someone who is still young at heart but losing the touch with the world around him. It somehow makes everything feel real. For him, the past is more real then the present and the way he gets immersed into his own story feels very natural...his voice telling the story makes the story what it is.

I think I've read a few novels lately that deal (in a satisfactory way) with what growing old feels like...with no embellishments, no romanticism and no bitterness. It is nice to see this in our age that is so obsessed with youth...( so obsessed with youth that I have a feeling that they invented homes for the elderly just to avoid looking at them, looking at a reminder…

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

I've read this novel almost without pausing. It starts kind of slow but it does have a way of making you feel inside of the story. Once things do start happening, you'll probably find yourself completely immersed in the story. With the lyrical descriptions, the wonderful recreating of times past and a wonderful narrative, it is a really enjoyable read. The prose is very powerful, there is something enchanting about it. The narrative and the style of writing go so well together. There is something natural but also mystical about this novel, and this combination somehow really works. From one side you have a feeling you see things as they are, without embellishments, but you also have this feeling that nothing is certain, that things may not be what they seem...fascinating.

The characterization is not perfect, I'd have to say. There are many memorable characters but somehow they are never in the focus, something like fairy-tale characters. Maybe that is supposed to be like th…

Epitaf carskog gurmana: Veljko Barbieri

Vrhunska knjiga, ostala sam iznenađena koliko je dobra jer koliko god da mi je Barbieri simpatična osoba nekako nisam očekivala da je toliko nadaren pisac. Mislim gledam njegove emisije o kuhanju i uvijek uživam, doista se vidi koliko čovjek voli kuhanje i hranu, koliko poštovanja ima prema bogatoj hrvatskoj kulinarskoj tradiciji, ali ovaj roman je nešto puno dublje, takva sveobuhvatna kritika režima da sam ostala zapanjena. Mislim dalo bi se usporediti s 1984 i Kafkinim procesom. Komunistički režim predstavljen je bez puno okolišanja, u svoj svojoj ružnoći recimo to tako, pa me pomalo podsjetilo i na Tribusonovu Povijest pornografije.

Vrlo ozbiljna pitanja postavljena i konačno pomalo teška priča ispričana tako lagano, jednostavno i s odličnim smislom za humor. Kraj romana mi je genijalan, a velik plus su mu i gurmanski opisi hrane. Doista, kuhanje je metafora za slobodu u ovom romanu, ali zar nije hrana sloboda na neki način? Gdje možemo više vidjeti gubitak slobode nego u nečijem mi…

South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami,

I've read the first 40 pages waiting for my husband to join me at a cafe and the rest of them as soon as I got the change. I just couldn't stop reading this novel. Like the other Murakami's novel I've read, the prose is for most part simple and unpretentious yet there are moments of such intensity and grace. The metaphors and the symbols are beautiful,unique and as fine as delicate piece of jewelry. 

It surprised me how much I sympathized with the lead character and the narrator of this story. I love the straightforwardness of this book(and the protagonist), the "I-have-no-clue-what-is-the-purpuse-of-live" type of honesty. There is some wisdom in it, despite the fact that there it is not trying to be enlightening or to provide any type of answers. 

In many ways this novel reminded me of Sputnik, there is something dreamy and fantastical about it that I really like. You're not quite sure is everything that happens "real" or is just part of characte…

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

If reading a novel dedicated to a murderer does not freak you out this is the one and by all means you should not skip it. The writing is great, the story and the plot very original, the characters (especially the murderer) extremely convincing. As for historical aspect of the novel, it is very well conveyed and the feeling of a different time is definitely there. After reading this book, you will probably know a lot more about production of perfume in France. The scent is something I did not really see as being that powerful, but it certainly is. The sense of smell, that is so important for the novel, is described so well that it really becomes an important part of the novel's atmosphere...It really all comes together to make the novel feel real. I can certainly remember being immersed in the novel while I was reading it. Nevertheless, for some reason the novel was too much for me. Too much of what? I can not really be precise.

I can say that I liked the novel to some extent yet I…

A Feast for Crows: a very short book review

This one was a bitch. I didn't say that. The author said it. Well, writing it might have been a bitch but reading it sure wasn't it...but let's face it...almost 1000 pages. Now, that requires some effort. However, this  book is not on a bestseller list for nothing. I don't really have time to write a long review, so for now let's just say I liked it a lot.

Pisac je sam rekao nešto u stilu da je knjiga bila napisati. Za čitanje nije, ali zato plaćamo pisce, da se znoje dok mi uživamo. Šalu na stranu, ovo je dugačka knjiga od skoro 1000 stranica, ima puno toga za uskladiti, čak i čitanje zahtjeva određenu dozu koncentracije, a sigurno je nije bilo lako za napisati. Ne prodaje se tako dobro bezveze...Nemam vremena za dugu recenziju...recimo zasada samo to da mi se poprilično svidjela.

Logic of Empire: Robert A. Heinlein

It has occurred to me that when we write about the stuff we had read we mostly write about ourselves i.e the way that the book has influenced us or made us feel. Perhaps it is inevitable. One cannot separate oneself from the reading experience completely.

There is no point in claiming to be objective when it comes to literature, reading is as subjective as any experience can be and that is the whole beauty of it if you ask me. Since this is my personal blog and there is no one is paying to me to make smart comments or one sentence sums up, I can take my time and explain why this particular piece of writing is of so much importance to me.

Logic of Empire, this vintage sf story, has had quite an effect on me when I read it for the first time. Now, just finishing it for the second time (or perhaps even the third, it's hard to keep track of rereading, isn't it?) I'm certain of its literary merits, but what it all comes down to is: slavery.

This passage has haunted me from the …

Lovely collection of vintage sf- What more could a girl ask for?

Komedija Kate Kapuralica: Među Vratima Od Peškarije , napisao Vlaho Stulli / Guardian Kate, comedy by Vlaho Stulli

short summary: Interestingly enough, it is really hard to believe that this comedy was written that long ago (1800!), it seems so modern. That happens often with books I guess, but with this one even more so. This comedy, an important part of Croatian dramatic cultural heritage, is written in realistic style.  In reality, it is a mix of tragedy and comedy and sometimes even feels a bit brutal, but I liked it nevertheless because there is much power and pathos in it.

Čudno, nekako nemam osjećaj kako je ova komedija napisana tako davno, 1800 godine, čini se modernija. Tematika je, čini mi se, aktualna--- nesretan i nesređen brak u kojem je previše djece i premalo novaca. Malo sam potražila na internetu i vidjela kako se modernizirana verzija ove predstave prikazuje s uspjehom, a čak je i otvarala Dubrovačko ljetne igre sa ovacijama. Meni se čini uspješnom, iako me za jednu komediju baš i nije uspjela nasmijati, no dobro možda to ima i veze s mojim raspoloženjem. Ipak ne znam bi li naziva…

Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi / Prah i pepeo Atiqa Rahimi

There was one moment in the novel...When the apples dropped from the hands of the grandfather, I had this uncanny feeling that I was there myself, that I can sense the loss of everything, the disappearance of hope, terrible burden of being so tired that rest is impossible and a sadness so deep that it cannot be expressed...I really felt that I can feel the dust soaking every part of my being, getting into my lungs and killing every light inside.

Kad su djedu  ispale jabuke, točno sam imala osjećaj da sam i ja tamo, kako i ja mogu osjetiti gubitak svega, svake nade, umor onkraj odmora i tugu tako duboku da ne može pronaći izraz....kako i ja mogu osjetiti prašinu kako natapa svaki dio tijela, kako ulazi u pluća i guši svaki trag svjetlosti.

Stil pisanja je odsječen, jasan i jednostavan, a u ovoj priči preklapaju se san i java i dočaravaju savršeno krhko psihičko stanje čovjeka koji je izgubio sve, djeda koji putuje s malim unukom koji je oglušio od bombardiranja kako bi sinu donio vijest …

Zorro, novel by Isabel Allende

The idea behind the book is great- shading some light on an fascinating fictional hero. In some ways it does adds some dept to Zorro, but mainly by filling in information and feeling around him, not really developing the Zorro himself. Basically, it's a good novel, but it has its flaws. 

The main problem I had with this book was the protagonist. As I said, I don't think he was portrayed that well, he remained a bit one dimensional. For me, the whole concept of his mixed origin was extremely interesting, yet I did not really get into his character. Actually, it is the Zorro's mother and grandmother that stuck in my memory( together with some other characters like that friar character in the beginning, I liked him, he reminds me on the friars I know)...Yes,another important character- Zorro's best friend - he is cool, but doesn't he take all the attention from Zorro? Is it good to have a hero that's not really sympathetic although he is in the focus of the story? …

Priče iz davnine, knjiga Ivane Brlić-Mažuranić / Croatian Tales of Long Ago by Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić

summary: There are a lot of good stories for children, but not that many on this level, the ones you can read and admire when you're all grown up. Every time I read Ivana Brlić- Mažuranić's stories, I find something new and interesting, some detail  I haven't previously noticed..the way she incorporates Slavic mythology and oral tradition in her fairy tales is just amazing. 

Ima puno dobrih dječjih priča, ali nema puno dječjih priča koje možeš čitati i kad odrasteš i svakim čitanjem pronaći nešto novo. Uronjena u usmenu tradiciju, a opet toliko originalna i zanimljiva Ivana Brlić Mažuranić zaista je nešto posebno u svijetu književnosti za djecu (a ja bi dodala i za odrasle). 

Jedna od zanimljivosti autorice je i njena sposobnost da poveže slavensku mitologiju i usmenu tradiciju u naoko jednostavnu priču koja će privući i velike i male. Popularnost Ivana Brlić Mažuranić je u svakom pogledu opravdana.

Nedavno sam je ponovo čitala i bila sam oduševljena. Njeni nezaboravni likovi…

Opsjednuta , knjiga Rujane Jeger / Opsjednuta by Rujana Jeger

Summary: This book is a compilation of Jeger's Cosmo columns with addition of few short stories. I've found it to be a pleasant surprise, as the author is too intelligent to be just another recycled Carrie. It is not life- changing book,nor would I regret bitterly not having read it, but it is pretty good and an easy read.

Ugodno iznenađenje...Moram priznati da kad sam počela čitati prvu priču (knjiga je skup kolumni uz tu i tamo neku kratku priču) pomislila sam " Ne!...još jedna reciklirana Carrie." Srećom, Rujana ima previše inteligencije i sklonosti ironičnosti da bi posve zagiblila u plitku baru meni omraženog chic lit-a. Sviđa mi se kako spaja podatke u svojoj glavi i kako u hrpi slova koja na tren izgledaju kao neurotični dnevnik možemo pronaći nekakvu poruku.

Moram priznati da nisam preveliki ljubitelj proze ispovjednog karaktera...ali ono ispovijednog u detalje. Razvoj društvenih mreža i stalna izloženost svačijoj privatnosti, nekako me je ostavilo ravnodušnom …

The Temptation of Eileen Hughes by Brian Moore

Initially, I was somewhat skeptical about this novel mainly because the plot didn't look too attractive. It sounded like a familiar and perhaps even dated topic- a married man madly in love with a young woman. Love triangle- how much times have I read about it? However, it somehow manages to be really good, the story itself is captivating and emotions described really captured my attention. 

I was very interested in the trio, maybe because just when you think you've figured them out, they turn into something new, making you realize that he wife is not such a harpy as she seems or that Eileen is not so boringly and unconvincingly innocent. It's not just a story about love; it's about something else as well. As much as it is about drama of being in love, it is also about the purpose of life and other questions one may asked oneself...themes like religion and suicide are in there as well.

"The Temptation of Eileen Huges" opens up with three characters: Bernard, Mo…

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

“Raisin in the sun” is a memorable, beautiful and powerful play. Despite the fact that it has some flaws, I think it is ,generally speaking, a success.  In addition, it is such an important play for many reasons, some of which I will get into.

I liked the theme of this play and in particular the emotion and force  behind it. I think Hansberry was successful in creating the atmosphere and the setting, although she does not use much description. Yes, plays don't really have descriptions in a sense that a novel does, but what I mean to say is that she "shows" rather than "tells", i.e she is a decent dramatist. For instance you get the idea about characters from dialogues; there are no long monologues (that would be really out of place in this kind of play). It's a play that is set in a specific time and place, so it was important to recreate this- she did. In that sense there is a really natural feeling to the play.

The dialogues were really good, the conversati…

Hotel Zagorje: napisala Ivana Simić Bodrožić / Hotel Zagorje by Ivana Simić Bodrožić

Emotivan, ali oslobođen patetike, pun boli i smijeha, mješavine sreće i nesreće, ovaj roman opisuje djetinstvo djevojke prognanice iz Vukovara, njeno odrastanje u stranoj (novoj) sredini, kao i borbu za preživljavanje i pronalaženje smisla u kaotičnom svijetu devedesetih. 

Osvježavajuće iskren glas spisateljice, genijalan u svojoj jednostavnosti, vrlo topao, a često i vrlo smiješan, te sam način pripovijedanja prebaciva nas u jedno drugo vrijeme i jedan drugi svijet. Djevojka iz hotela zagorje progovara intimnim glasom, bez prikrivanja, bez uljepšavanja, bez politike, ali ne bez duše, baš naprotiv s puno hrabrosti, pronicavosti i sposobnosti za uočavanje detalja, osobine koje ima u tolikoj mjeri da bismo ih mogli nazvati i mudrošću.

Jako talentirana spisateljica, kojoj predviđam svijetlu budućnost, učinila je ovu svoju životnu priču sveljudskom, sjajnom i dirljivom, a sigurna sam kako će mnogima od nas( pogotovo onima koji kao ja pripadaju njenoj generaciji) biti poznata i bliska. Predi…

Anđeli će samo zaspati: napisala Merita Arslani

Vidjela sam na kiosku ovu knjigu i odmah sam je kupila iz više razloga, primjerica lijepa naslovnica, nagrada Kiklop i činjenica kako ju je napisala mlada spisateljica, a mislim kako treba poticati naše mlade spisateljske snage...No, moram priznati kako me razočarala u popriličnoj mjeri, a nije da sam očekivala neko remek djelo, ali jednostavno očekivala sam više ili veću količinu spisateljskog talenta.

Ideja, koncept što već priče mi je zanimljiv ( mladu ženu anđeo priprema na smrt)  iako se ne može reći kako nije već viđen. Radnja se jako sporo odvija, likovi su nezamljivi, a glavni lik mi je poprilično iritantan, ono nešto malo filozofskih misli se stalno ponavlja i ponavlja, a zaista nema ničega za zadržati pažnju ili puno toga oko čega bi se moglo zamisliti, svakako ničega što bi prominjenilo vaše viđenje svijeta.

Jedina iznimka među suhoparnim likovima mi je Danijel, taj anđeo, i to u određenim djelovima, inače i on kao lik pun je nelogičnosti, npr. mrtav je već 32 godine, a po sv…

Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

A diary of obsession- that's the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about this novel. Not just love/ hate type of relationship but the kind of obsession that can drive one mad, that is at its root is mad... Written in third person narration, it feels somewhat like a diary because there is so much focus put on the inner state of the protagonist. The subtitle of the novel is “a story of darkest Earl's Court" and it is certainly dark...If dark is a novel that opens up with an alcoholic experiencing a click (basically an alcoholic blackout) during which” he remembered, without any difficulty, what it was he had to do: he had to kill Netta Longdon." That’s just the beginning, it get worse…for the George the protagonist, things just seem to go downhill. There is something tragic in it and something inevitable. Netta has poor George in her net (as her name indicates), pushing him lower and lower…

The novel is well written...Not that I would know what an alcoholi…

The Sky Lords (Sky Lords, #1) by John Brosnan

Now, this is what I call SF. Very good SF. The protagonist is a young women who grows up in a post genetic wars society. The world where she lives is ruled by nobility flying around in zeppelins (hence the name sky lords.) Sounds interesting?

Furthermore, she lives in an Amazon feminist kind of society, where women are genetically engineered to be taller and stronger than men because women are by nature less violent....Someone got it in their head that it would be good idea if they (the ladies) are in charge of things. She seems to be a little shorter than the average (and has her own insecurities about that), but still very much an Amazon.

However, our young protagonist is taken from this interesting society  and has to ,more or less, struggle desperately for her life for the rest of the novel. 

Besides our lovely protagonist, the only character that stands out for me is Milo- intelligent, sadist, manipulative- he is superbly portrayed. It is ironical that he is all things that his name…

The Diamond As Big As The Ritz and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This edition consists of five short stories. They always talk about Fitzgerald as a writer that defined the Jazz Age and etc but for me that is not that important. What draws me to his writing is probably the way he creates his characters, sometimes managing to capture their very essence. I’ll give you a fair warning. This is not going to be a short review as I'm going to say something about every short story included in this book. 

First things first.

The Diamond As Big As The Ritz 


Beautifully written and absolutely unsettling because of its implications. One of them: an extremely wealthy person can get away with anything. True today as ever? Sure and as long as money equals power it will stay that way. 

It was quite revolting to read because as the story started it seemed as if the writer was making that absurdly wealthy man (the diamond’s owner ) without a conscience something of a hero. Fitzgerald certainly had a way of making the filthy rich look ever so glamorous. He does th…