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Donostia Book Club

My name is Slawka Grabowska. I organize Donostia Book Club. We meet every month to discuss previously chosen books or short stories. Check out our FB page! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Donostia-Book-Club/105225566276875?ref=hl

Summer Reading

The Architect's Apprentice - Elif Shafak Pochlaniacz - Bonda Katarzyna Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 - Elizabeth Winder

Before yesterday I wrote about September books. Today I want to step back: what about your summer books? There is a reason why I talk about it now: I am so fed up with all this articles and magazines saying that summer reading should be light. No, no, no and no! We work a lot, we are always on the run. Busy, busy, busy. Light reading is for that time. For the time when we are to tired to read anything long and complicated. For the time, when we fall asleep after reading just half page and we don't remember what we've read the next morning. That is the time for light reading.  


Summer is the time for all these huge books that are to heave to carry with you to work, that are to long and you wouldn't have finished it for months because of lack of time. For all these books that are long, complicated and/or challenging. Summer is when you HAVE TIME for all that. 


So what were your summer books? I've just looked through mine. And among others there are 3 books that are MY typical summer books:


1. Elif Shafak ¨The Architect´s Apprentice¨, 432 pages

From the acclaimed author of The Bastard of Istanbul, a colorful, magical tale set during the height of the Ottoman Empire

In her latest novel, Turkey’s preeminent female writer spins an epic tale spanning nearly a century in the life of the Ottoman Empire. In 1540, twelve-year-old Jahan arrives in Istanbul. As an animal tamer in the sultan’s menagerie, he looks after the exceptionally smart elephant Chota and befriends (and falls for) the sultan’s beautiful daughter, Princess Mihrimah. A palace education leads Jahan to Mimar Sinan, the empire’s chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct (with Chota’s help) some of the most magnificent buildings in history. Yet even as they build Sinan’s triumphant masterpieces—the incredible Suleymaniye and Selimiye mosques—dangerous undercurrents begin to emerge, with jealousy erupting among
Sinan’s four apprentices.

A memorable story of artistic freedom, creativity, and the clash between science and fundamentalism, Shafak’s intricate novel brims with vibrant characters, intriguing adventure, and the lavish backdrop of the Ottoman court, where love and loyalty are no match for raw power.


2. Katarzyna Bonda ¨Pochlaniacz¨, 674 pages

A crime novel, written by a Polich author who has just signed a contract with British publisher of Stephen King and John Grisham.


3. Elizabeth Winder, ¨Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953¨, 288 pages (not long, but I needed my brain to be totally present to think while reading that one! Although, finally, i didn´t really like the book...)

"I dreamed of New York, I am going there."

On May 31, 1953, twenty-year-old Sylvia Plath arrived in New York City for a one-month stint at "the intellectual fashion magazine" Mademoiselle to be a guest editor for its prestigious annual college issue. Over the next twenty-six days, the bright, blond New England collegian lived at the Barbizon Hotel, attended Balanchine ballets, watched a game at Yankee Stadium, and danced at the West Side Tennis Club. She typed rejection letters to writers from The New Yorker and ate an entire bowl of caviar at an advertising luncheon. She stalked Dylan Thomas and fought off an aggressive diamond-wielding delegate from the United Nations. She took hot baths, had her hair done, and discovered her signature drink (vodka, no ice). Young, beautiful, and on the cusp of an advantageous career, she was supposed to be having the time of her life.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with fellow guest editors whose memories infuse these pages, Elizabeth Winder reveals how these twenty-six days indelibly altered how Plath saw herself, her mother, her friendships, and her romantic relationships, and how this period shaped her emerging identity as a woman and as a writer. Pain, Parties, Work—the three words Plath used to describe that time—shows how Manhattan's alien atmosphere unleashed an anxiety that would stay with her for the rest of her all-too-short life.

Thoughtful and illuminating, this captivating portrait invites us to see Sylvia Plath before The Bell Jar, before she became an icon—a young woman with everything to live for.


So, what do you think? Should summer reading be light? Or it´s for you the right time to catch up with all the more ambitious positions? I am dying to know your opinion. You know, comment or email me! (donostiabookclub at gmail.com)