To Our Dearly Beloved Readers,
Here at Making a Difference, we are a very literary bunch! As a crew of bloggers, it sort of comes with the territory. Furthermore, when you live in Georgia in a host family where you are surrounded by the Georgian language day in and day out, a good book can be your only escape. When the autumnal chill gets you down, why not read something to remind you of the dog days of summer? After visiting some of Georgia’s majestic and remote castles, fortresses, and churches why not treat yourself to a little Game of Thrones fantasy and imagine Lannister armies surrounding Mestia–er–Winterfell? To aid you in your literary quest, our crack team of bloggers has compiled a reading list of what we’re reading now! Go on, give it a browse! You might just discover your next great read:
Raughley Nuzzi– Full disclosure: I’m a big time history nerd and most of what I read is non-fiction. I’m currently double-tasking and conquering two books at a time! I’m reading Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis and listening to A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman. The former is a swashbuckling tale of derring-do as the most able-bodied climbers of the Lost Generation make the first attempt to summit Everest. It reads almost like a real-life Avengers with larger-than-life personalities coming together to achieve the impossible, or die trying! The latter is a portrait of a disastrous century in European (and human) history with the combined catastrophes of the Black Death and the Hundred Years’ War wreaking havoc on medieval life. Both make fascinating reads for history buffs!
Mikkela Blanton– Great Expectations by Charles Dickens- Come along for a ride through Victorian England as you follow the trials and tribulations of the orphan Pip as he struggles with love, duty, and crime! I’ve read it before and Dickens is one of my favorite authors and I thought since I am living in this tiny village with not much to do it would be the perfect time to reread it!
Mary Ellen Dingley– I just started reading Ali and Nino by Kurban Said (that’s the author’s pseudonym anyway, his real name was Lev Nussimbaum) the love story set in Baku, Azerbaijan. I’m trying to explore this part of the world via literature and just finished a novel set in Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk. Thus far, Ali and Nino is fast paced and intimate – a personal look into one young man’s life (the Muslim Ali) and choices as he grapples with the beginning of war and his love for Nino (who is Christian). It’s passionate and tongue-in-cheek at the same time!
Mary Rodgers– “All the world will be your enemy… and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you.” I’m reading Watership Down by Richard Adams. My whole life people have been telling me I need to read this, but I was all… “it’s bunnies, right?” Finally on my travels I thought I’d give it a try. I can’t remember the last time I loved a book so much. I’m actually reading it a second time all the way through!
Author: Hugh Laurie
Brief: Hugh Laurie’s first book portrays his true character, well, the true character he portrays outside of real life, in this book. It is written exactly as he would speak and has had me in stitches on several occasions with his fabulously blunt and morbid writing. It’s about a bloke who is an ex-Scots Guard officer and somehow, not entirely willingly, he becomes wrapped up in a conspiracy with international arms dealers who want to create terrorism in order to sell their new weapons, to combat terrorism. I have got as far as him being in the Czech Republic, about to do something rather naughty, even though he doesn’t want to – he is in love and they are holding his girl hostage, you see – and I am not entirely sure what it is that he is going to do, but it isn’t good. Guess you will just have to read it yourself to find out what happens.
– The Sabres of Paradise
by Lesley Blanch – The peoples of the Caucasus and Russia have struggled against each other for centuries. In the 19th century, the struggle was embodied by a single man, Imam Shamil. Blanch takes no sides but tells the story from all sides in cinematic detail — easy on the battlefield logistics but heavy on the psychology of the participants, their motivations and character. There’s even a love story.
– The Beautiful and Damned
by F. Scott Fitzgerald: A story of the romance between two socialites in New York during the early twentieth century. The central relationship is rumored to mirror the relationship between the author and his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. I love Fitzgerald’s short stories and The Great Gatsby
, but these characters are just as frustrating to read about as reviewers found them to be in 1922, when the story was first published. In a way, the story reminds me that none of us are flawless.
– I tend to be part way through at least three books at once, and today’s no exception. However, the book I’m most actively reading at the moment is: “Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling
,” by David Wolman. I’m sure I’m not the only TLGer who started teaching English as a foreign language and suddenly became aware of how crazy English spelling is. This book basically goes through the various historical reasons why English spelling is so “flamboyantly inconsistent,” including the fact that the first English language printing presses were located in the Netherlands, and Dutch printers inserted certain Dutch spelling norms into English words (for example, the “h” in ghost). It’s non-fiction, but doesn’t read like a text book. I highly recommend it for anyone interested learning more about the eccentricities of the English language.
– I am reading adventure novels such as Conrad
, Jules Verne
but picked up an interesting nonfiction from the Batumi library: Schevardnadze’s kind of biography with some interesting material about growing up in little Guria, my state!
– Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – A thrilling ride through the thought process of a criminal with a conscience, Crime and Punishment is just the book for the person with questionable morals and some time on their hands.
As autumn deepens and winter looms ahead, come back to this list and see if you can find something new to read and enjoy! When your USB modem runs out of internet or your village loses power, or you just need your fix of literary goodness, grab a book!
The TLG Blogging Team
What are you reading these days? Sound off in the comments below!