Accident: A Day’s News, by Christa Wolf

Four stars, read in July 2018. Second stop on my literary backpacking trip through Europe: East Germany in the 1980s, the day after the Chernobyl accident. I’ve been wanting to read Christa Wolf for a while now, more especially Cassandra and Medea, but—once again—my choice was made for me by the limited collection of my local libraries. (For…

The Storm, by Margriet de Moor

Four stars, read in July 2018. I picked up this book for my first stop on the Reader’s Room Backpacking Across Europe Summer Reading Challenge, as I flew into the Amsterdam airport. I don’t tend to read disaster stories, so I probably wouldn’t have chosen this book if Utah public libraries had a better selection…

Empress, by Shan Sa

Two and a half stars, read in December 2016. Translated from French. This was a little dry; at times it felt like reading a catalog. A thousand horses in the parade, a thousand ministers, a thousand concubines, a thousand drums, and so on, sometimes for two or three pages. It made for easy skimming, though, which…

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

Five stars, read in March 2013. I could never have predicted how much I was going to love this book. It’s one that’s been sort of vaguely on my to-read list for a long time, but without any urgency behind it. After I watched Chocolat, loved Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin, looked them up, and…

French Women Don’t Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano

Three stars, read January/February 2013. Guiliano is a little smug about the brilliance of the French, and that is worth an occasional eye-roll. I also can’t help but doubt just a tiny bit that unhealthy eating habits are quite so rare in France as she claims they are (but then again, the book was written almost ten years…

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

Four stars, read September 2013. I’m really becoming a fan of the graphic memoir genre. I thoroughly enjoyed this, even though the translation seemed a little clumsy and the illustrations were awkward in places (I mostly just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes every time a character held up one forefinger in the air while pontificating…