While this blog is supposed to be about my thoughts on novels I have been reading, I've decided to share, once a month, brief and spontaneous opinions about the books I've read throughout the last month.
So, here are the books I've read this January:
Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories by Raymond Carver
I could only read some of the more well-known stories in the book, unfortunately not the entire book. Overall, I felt like Raymond Carver certainly conveyed the curiosity of the very ordinary with astonishing insight. Some stories I've read were certainly demoralizing in a strange way and some were uplifting, namely his perhaps most famous story ''The Cathedral'.' I had a chance to read again after years, and if you haven't read it before, it is certainly one of the most best stories I've ever read.
Puslu Kıtalar Atlası (The Atlas of Misty Continents) by İhsan Oktay Anar
I am very regretful for not having read this novel sooner. It's one of these novels that you only encounter once in a few years and can't just praise enough. It's a very well-known novel in Turkey that I know is being taught in literature courses at universities. The setting of the novel is İstanbul/Konstantiniye of the Ottoman Empire and tracks the stories of various characters who are all connected in some magical way. In my opinion, it truly deserves all the praise it gets. It's just a novel of 250 pages that brilliantly captures a lot of things: adventure, magic, knowledge, various life-stories, excitement and more... Being so comprehensive, it pushes me to make general remarks, but it absolutely merits a closer look which I hope to provide later on this blog.
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose
This book was gifted to me by a friend who knew about my dream of writing a novel one day. As opposed to what it appeared to me like at first, a more practical advice on writing, it's actually more like a close-reading of remarkable passages from renowned authors. Now and then Francine Prose makes some remarks on what to do and what not to do, but usually she just demonstrates through the writing of famous writers. Overall, as someone who has a BA degree in literature and has already done A LOT of close reading during the years in university, I have still learned very much from this book. I feel like I will be going back to this book for advice later in my life.
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
I was inspired to read this play after having had read 'Uncle Vanya by Chekhov a few years ago. While I certainly found that the play provides a lot to talk about, I was impressed at a different level by Uncle Vanya. If you are interested in reading more and in detail about my thoughts on The Cherry Orchard, I have already written a blog post that takes a closer look at the play in relation to the discussions around the concept of modernity.