Back from Holidays – and Books Acquired!

There is no such thing as a relaxing holiday with the extended family back in the home country… but there were many pleasant moments, and a complete break from the treadmill, so I can’t complain! I’ve been boring everyone with endless holiday pictures on Twitter, but here are a few of my favourites, to give you a flavour of the landscapes and ‘vibes’. I will share more in my next few Friday Fun posts. [None tomorrow, though, as I have a lot of catching up to do still]

Barajul Vidraru – reservoir and dam

The Black Sea coast

The Bran-Rucar pass in the Carpathians

Although I had no time to browse in bookshops (unbelievable, I know!), I brought back a whole pile of books with me, some were old favourites languishing on my parents’ bookshelves, others that I had ordered online a few months ago and got delivered to their address. Meanwhile, a few books made their way into my letterbox here in the UK while I was away.

Here’s the result!

Romanian books:

  • As part of my search for contemporary Romanian authors to read and possibly translate, particularly women authors, I’ll be reading Raluca Nagy, Nora Iuga, Magda Cârneci (this one has been translated by Sean Cotter) and Diana Bădică. All recommendations via Romanian newsletters to which I subscribe.
  • A mix of contemporary and more classic male authors as well: Gellu Naum is better known for his avantgarde poetry and prose in the 1930s and 40s, or his wonderful children’s book about the wandering penguin Apolodor in the 1950s, and this is his only novel as far as I am aware (this too has been translated into English, see some reviews here); Max Blecher’s Scarred Hearts, which I previously read and reviewed in English, but wanted to own in Romanian; one of my favourite modern poets, Nicolae Labiș, who died tragically young; an English translation by Gabi Reigh of my favourite play by one of my favourite writers, Mihail Sebastian; finally, two young writers that I want to explore further, Tudor Ganea and Bogdan Coșa.
  • Last but not least, a dictionary of Romanian proverbs translated into English – just to remind myself of some of the old folk sayings.

Other books:

  • Another expat in Berlin story, imaginatively entitled Berlin by Bea Sutton. I read Susan’s review on her blog A Life in Books and couldn’t resist.
  • Two Japanese crime novels: Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Onda Riku (I was bowled over by The Aosawa Murders by the same author) and an older crime classic by Matsumoto Seicho entitled Tokyo Express.
  • Two volumes of poetry, Reckless Paper Birds and Panic Response by the English poet John McCullough. I recently attended a workshop with him and found him very inspiring indeed.
  • Last but by no means list: a whole flurry of chapbooks of Swiss literature, translated from all four official languages of Switzerland, published by the wonderful Strangers Press at the UEA. I am hoping to convince them to do a series on Romanian literature too someday, fingers crossed!

15 thoughts on “Back from Holidays – and Books Acquired!”

  1. I am so glad you enjoyed your holiday, even if it wasn’t exactly relaxing, Marina Sofia. That’s some very lovely scenery, which is such a balm for the soul (for me at least). And it’s good to see you got some good books, too. I am curious, though… how did you manage not to go in a single bookshop while you were away? I need to learn to do that – or, should I say, my budget needs me to learn to do that!

    1. The secret to not going into any bookshops is either to not have any bookshops in the places where you are based (sadly, that is the case with the small town my parents live in) or else arrive too late in the evening, after the bookshops close.

  2. You may not feel rested after such a busy holiday but I hope you feel refreshed, and I’ve loved having your photos pop up in my Twitter feed. Hope you enjoy Berlin.

    1. I was planning to do some writing and exercising while on holiday and didn’t do a jot of either – so perhaps that was refreshing in its own way! Thank you for the Berlin book, looking forward to see if I like it better than some of my previous ventures into expat literature.

    1. Aww, thank you! I did have a flashback at some point to that annoying uncle or cousin who would also have ‘just a few more holiday snaps’ to show you while your eyes glazed over…

  3. Thanks for this Marina. It sounds like a great holiday. John McCullough is a poet I’ve not heard of. I will have to look him up.

  4. I’ve enjoyed following your travels vicariously and I’m glad your trip had up sides as well as the complexities of families… Such a beautiful country, though, and I’m glad there were books involved as well!!

  5. I’m glad you’ve had a good break, even if it wasn’t completely relaxing! Thanks for sharing your photos – such beautiful scenery and buildings.

  6. Your holiday sounds as if it was interesting, even if not relaxing. I’ll be interested in how you get on with Berlin. The copy I borrowed from the library got returned, largely unread, for all that I was enjoying the descriptions of Berlin itself. Thanks for sharing those holiday photos by the way. Lovely!

  7. Lovely stuff and I didn’t even know about that UEA press! Exciting about the Swiss choices too. I hope it feels good to be home again. X!

  8. Fabulous photos and enviable book haul. Berlin’s book cover has to be my favourite of the year to date and the Swiss pamphlets are on my wishlist too.

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