Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler - The first thing I noticed about the book was the cover. You know as people say: "Do not judge a book based on its cover"? Well, I am not one of those and a good cover can force me to buy a large amount of books. Unfortunately, in this case the cover was (at least personally for me) the only great part of the book. Vinegar Girl is Shakespeare's retold comedy The Taming of the Shrew, following other of his plays being recently modernised for the nowadays readers (The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson, Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson or Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood are some of those plays). I studied Shakespeare in my second year at the university and although I do not actively seek reading his plays nor sonnets, I respect his work. Therefore, after even struggling to finish Vinegar Girl, I was slightly disappointed with Hill's approach to the story and her use of language. Kate Battista, the heroine of the book, is put into a situation when she needs to decide if she is willing to help her father by marrying his colleague, whose visa is about to expire and thus he could not assist Kate's father scientific breakthrough. The plot itself sounds rather blunt, yet the way it is written makes it only worst. All the characters keep complaining about their life decisions, moaning about their troubles or lazy family members. Someone could read it as a funny comedy questioning the place of women in our society, however, I believe that there are better ways of doing so.
The Freedom of the City by Brian Friel - This term I am studying the representation of trauma in Irish literature, which means that I have been recently reading a lot of dark books dealing with murders, religious and political disputes, and family lost. Friel's play does and does not refer to Bloody Sunday back in 1972, when the British soldiers opened fire into a peaceful protest march for civil rights in Londonderry, killing thirteen unarmed civilians. If you are looking for a plot that is not about the struggle of finding the right guy or vampires, but rather tells a story about something more, do not miss The Freedom of the City. Do a quick history research before diving in and get ready to want to find out more about the history of Ireland. At least I can confirm that I am definitely hooked up.
For French Literature class I read two books: Other Worlds (look at the beautiful cover in the photo!) by Cyrano de Bergerac and Fables by La Fontaine. I could not really recommend either of them as I believe that there are better classics you should pay attention to. However, here is a fun fact. Did you know that de Bergerac's writing about a fantastic world inspired for example Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels? If there is one thing that I really enjoy about literature, it is how it is all interconnected and books and writers influence each other for centuries.
The books I still have not read, but which I am dying to start with:
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert - A story set in 1941 in a small town in Ukraine, a few weeks after Germans taking over the country. Seiffert follows lives of the town's inhabitants and their fight for survival.
The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen - I already mentioned this author over here, but it never hurts to repeat yourself when talking about interesting writers. The story of a Finnish teacher, who joins a mysterious literary society of prestigious writers, quickly realising that not everything is exactly what it looks like. And what happened to the tenth member of the group?