Wednesday, April 13, 2011


This blog has been somewhat silent recently. One could say I went on a holiday called "writing ridiculous amounts of essays". Soon I will go on another holiday called "start working full time and prepare for exams", while naturally neglecting all my languages.

The good news are that my class on Slavic language history got me interested in taking things a little bit further and learning Old Church Slavonic. In this class we are reading snippets in OCS, but I wouldn't say we are actually learning it. I thought it would be fun to do so, so I'm currently doing my best to get an overview of the verbal system. It feels incredibly weird to have different past tenses all of a sudden, and to have past tenses that change according to person and not just according to gender.

Luckily, it is quite easy to find material for Old Church Slavonic as long as you understand Russian. One of my teachers at University also provided me with some very useful links.

Old Church Slavonic dictionary, parts 1 2 3

The Laurentian Codex.

Different versions of Повесть временных лет.

Some English translations of the texts.

And a Russian/old church Slavonic bilingual version here.

Even though I have been very busy, I haven't missed one single book for the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. I must say this was an excellent idea, and it doesn't matter that much that I may not be reading the longest books around... right now I'm halfway through Knut Hamsun's Sult (Hunger), which I'm enjoying very much. Unfortunately, the main character is something of a moron (I just can't stand people who cannot plan ahead) but it's brilliantly written. It's not the fastest thing I've ever read though, since the language is neither Norwegian, Danish or Swedish, but rather yet another variant of the three.

I thought I would say a couple words about the other books I have read so far.
Magda Szabó's The Deer - absolutely brilliant, just like The Door. Magic.

Maskeblomstfamilien by Lars Saabye Christensen - Also proves that there is a great amount of excellent literature in Norway. A very dark story about... gender I guess. There's even a Wikipedia page about this book, with the following description "The novel is about a troubled boy and his voyage to a total and certain downfall after his father dies young, and his mother consequently becomes mentally ill. The book is written in the author's highly poetic style, and is distinctive in its enigmatic issues and obscure messages."

Ирина Муравьёва's Любовь Фрау Клейст - GAAH. The only reason I actually finished this book was that it was in Russian, and if it hadn't been in Russian, I think I would've thrown against the wall a long time ago. The language kind of put up a barrier between me and the poor prose. Simply a very unbelievable story, written in what I suppose is supposed to be an innovative manner. It's not innovative, it's stupid and messy. And almost nothing that happens in the book is even slightly believable. I'm losing faith in modern Russian literature. Seriously.
La fête interdite by André-Marcel Adamek - This had so much potential! And by saying that, I think I've said it all. I love Carnival stories, stories about freaks, stories about this kind of environment with small mountain villages (which very much made me think of Le Roi Sans Divertissement by Jean Giono), but it took the author more than half the book to get it started. Only then did I actually get involved. Such a shame.

Sofi Oksanen's Stalin's Cows - Now... why is it Purge that gets all the attention when this book is so much better? I wasn't actually sure I wanted to read another Oksanen book straightaway since the first one I read was quite... heavy. Then I found this book on sale (a classic, I know) and started reading it immediately since I think I may be able to use it in one of my never-ending essays. And it's brilliant. It should be read.

Other than that I could just continue with my old habit of posting a picture of my recently purchased books। Six books for something like €12. Exactly, you can't say no. And how freakishly appropriate isn't the Deforges book?

1 comment:

    cannot help, ya know ;)