Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests








Sunday, August 7, 2022

The People Immortal by Vasily Grossman - first published 1942- translated from Russian by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler - 2022 - to be published by The New York Review of Books September 22, 2022


 

The People Immortal by Vasily Grossman - first published 1942- translated from Russian by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler - 2022 - to be published by The New York Review of Books September 22, 2022 - 252 pages


Vasily Grossman 


Born: December 12, 1905, Berdychiv, Ukraine


Stalingrad- first published in Russia in 1952- published translated into English by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler - 2019


Life and Fate - 1960- translated by Robert Chandler-2006-considered his masterwork 


His WW Two  reporting has been collected -The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays, translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler with Olga Mukovnikova, commentary and notes by Robert Chandler with Yury Bit-Yunan, afterword by Fyodor Guber, New York, New York Review Books, 2010, ISB



Died: September 14, 1964, Moscow, Russia 


The People Immortal is set during the catastrophic for Russia first few months of the German invasion of the country.  It centers on a Russian army battalion whose mission is to, at any cost, slow the advancing Germans.  Through the eyes of Russians ranging from privates who want only to go home to Generals with deep love for the motherland Grossman brings the Russian experience vividly to life.  Germans are portrayed as brutal killers without a shred of humanity.  Nazis are Germans who have never heard of Goethe or Beethoven but worship Hitler.


For me the best part of this marvelous work were the many conversations. 


Julia Volohova has contributed an informative introduction and afterword.


Mel Ulm







Monday, August 1, 2022

The Reading Life Review - July 2022


The Reading Life is a multicultural

book blog, committed to Literary Globalism . 


  Our posts have been read over 6.7 milion times.  Our readers range from scholars from The Vatican Library,MacArthur Genius Grant Winners, publishing industry professionals to teenage   book lovers.  


Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among our Interests.





Column one


  1. Ivan Bunin- Russian Émigré to Paris. Nobel Prize 1933
  2. Nicholas Underhill - USA- Author Yiddish Paris- first appearance on The Reading Life
  3. Erika Robuck - USA - author of seven works of historical fiction of which I have read six


Column two


  1. Helen Rappaport- USA - author of After the Romanovs- first appearance on The Reading Life
  2. Shasha Chorny - Russian Émigré to Paris - prolific multi-genre writer - first appearance on The Reading Life


Column three


  1. Ann Patchett- USA - historical fiction and marvelous essays
  2. Kristin Hannah - USA - author of the Nightingale and 23 other books. First appearance on The Reading Life


In July five works by Americans were featured and two by Russians who emigrated to France after the Revolution. Two writers, the Russians, are deceased, four are women, three men.  Four writers were first featured in July.


Blog Stats


There are has been  6,737,005 pages views since inception.  There are 4099 posts on line. The most frequently read posts are on short stories by authors from India and the Philippines 


Top Home countries of visitors


  1. USA
  2. India 
  3. Netherlands 
  4. Russia 
  5. Canada 
  6. Philippines 
  7. United King
  8. Germany 
  9. France


In July I read these works but did not post on them


  1. The Great Divorce by Kelly Link. 2006- included in Magic for Beginners - A Short Story 
  2. A Cold Autumn by Ivan Bunin - 1944 - a Short Story
  3. The Moment Nothing Changed by Ann Pratchett - an essay. 2022
  4. Living and Dying with Marcel Proust by Christopher Pendergast 
  5. Nazi Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz.


For the eighth year I participated in Paris in July for which I read:



  1. Yiddish Paris by Nicholas Underwood - 2022
  2. After the Romanovs- Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque to Revolution and War by Helen Rappaport - 2022
  3. “Late Hour” -A Set in Paris Short Story by Ivan Bunin - 1938- translated by David Humphries -included in The Gentleman from San Francisco and other Stories-- 
  4. The Paris Tattoo” - An Essay by Ann Patchett - from her essay collection These Precious Days- 2022
  5. “Spindleshanks” - a set in Paris Short story by Shasha Chorny - 1932- a Russian Emirgé
  6. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - 2015


The Reading Life entered year 14 on July 9, 2022














Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Nightingale- A Novel by Kristin Hannah - 2015 - 532 Pages - A Paris in July 2022 Post


 


The Nightingale- A Novel by Kristin Hannah - 2015 - 532 Pages - A Paris in July 2022 Post


Paris in July 2022


This is my eighth year participating in a wonderful event, Paris in July.  The event hosts are Reader Buzz and Thyme for Tea.  Posts on any and all things Paris are welcome.  You can share your memories of a trip to Paris, your favorite French recipes or restaurants, art in the  Louvre, your favorite set in Paris Movies (mine are Ninotchka and Midnight in Paris).  Of course the French literary masters as well as contemporary writers are great subjects.



  1. Yiddish Paris by Nicholas Underwood - 2022
  2. After the Romanovs- Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque to Revolution and War by Helen Rappaport - 2022
  3. “Late Hour” -A Set in Paris Short Story by Ivan Bunin - 1938- translated by David Humphries -included in The Gentleman from San Francisco and other Stories-- 
  4. The Paris Tattoo” - An Essay by Ann Patchett - from her essay collection These Precious Days- 2022
  5. “Spindleshanks” - a set in Paris Short story by Shasha Chorny - 1932- a Russian Emirgé


The Nightingale- A Novel by Kristin Hannah - 2015 - 532 Pages





A Number One New York Times Bestseller 

2015 Goodreads Readers Choice for Best Historical Fiction

Movie premier December 23, 2022


Based in The World War Two Years, The Nighingale is a very moving account of How The lives of two French sisters are impacted by the German take over of France.


The storyline opens in a quiet village in rural France. Vianne Mauriac’s husband has just joined with neighbors to enlist in the French army.  Everyone is convinced the Germans will quickly be defeated, that they will never make it into France. But soon the Germans capture France, Nazis are everywhere. A Nazi Officer is billeted at the home of Vianne, with her and her children.  Food is rationed for the French, while the Germans feast.  Jews suffer horribly.


Isabelle, 18, the younger sister, is a free spirited rebel.  It is all she can do not to curse the Nazis which would get her shot. Their father, a widower, fought for France in WW One.  Seemingly he cares only about his drinking.  Isabelle meets and falls in Love with a partisan, she leaves for Paris to join the resistance. We are given a marvelous picture of life in Paris under the Germans.  


“With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.” From Goodreads


The Nightingale is a profoundly moving work, depicting with matching veracity, the worst and the best of humanity in occupied France.   


KRISTIN HANNAH

Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People's Choice award for best fiction.



www.kristinhannah.com


Mel Ulm




Sunday, July 24, 2022

“Spindleshanks” - A Set in Paris Short Story by Sasha Chorny -1931. Translated by Maria Bolshteyn - 2017 - included in Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky - edited by Bryan Karetnyk -2017


 



“Spindleshanks” - A Set in Paris Short Story by Sasha Chorny -1931. Translated by Maria Bolshteyn  - 2017 - included in Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky - edited by Bryan Karetnyk -2017


Paris in July 2022 


This is my eighth year participating in a wonderful event, Paris in July.  The event hosts are Reader Buzz and Thyme for Tea.  Posts on any and all things Paris are welcome.  You can share your memories of a trip to Paris, your favorite French recipes or restaurants, art in the  Louvre, your favorite set in Paris Movies (mine are Ninotchka and Midnight in Paris).  Of course the French literary masters as well as contemporary writers are great subjects.


My Prior Paris in July 2022 Posts


  1. Yiddish Paris by Nicholas Underwood - 2022
  2. After the Romanovs- Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque to Revolution and War by Helen Rappaport - 2022
  3. Late Hour” -A Set in Paris Short Story by Ivan Bunin - 1938- translated by David Humphries -included in The Gentleman from San Francisco and other Stories-- 
  4. The Paris Tattoo” - An Essay by Ann Patchett - from her essay collection These Precious Days- 2022


“Spindleshanks” is a Russian Emigre married man’s deeply felt litnany of complaints about living in Paris has negatively impacted Russian women, particularly his wife. He is talking to an old friend who has just arrived in Paris.


“You remember what my Natasha looked like back in Narva. A meadow blossom! Glowing with health. She really turned heads on the street: all those curves – natural, no padding! Round shoulders, apple cheeks and so forth … A regular cello!…. Take Rubens, for example, or our own Kustodiev, or some sensible ancient Greek sculptor – they’re all on the same page. If it’s Venus you’re depicting, then make her look like Venus…But now … Have you seen what my Natasha did to herself, following everyone else’s lead? Started out as a beautiful Houri and finished off looking like one of the Furies. ‘Why did you plane yourself away like this?’..


Ok we get the idea. Paris has for Russian men made their women want to be Spindleshanks, an arhachic term for a long  logged skin and bones woman, just opposite of what Russian men like.



SASHA CHORNY (1880–1932) was the pen name of Alexander Mikhailovich Glickberg. A satirical poet, short-story writer and children’s writer, he enjoyed immense popularity in pre-Revolutionary Russia. He served at the Front during the First World War and was opposed to the 1917 October Revolution. In 1918 he and his wife left Russia for Lithuania. In spring 1920 they moved to Berlin. Following a brief stay in Rome in 1923, he moved to Paris, and in 1929 he purchased a plot in La Favière, where he spent the last years of his life.


Mel Ulm

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Call me Zelda by Erika Robuck- 2011 - 339 pages


Call me Zelda by Erika Robuck- 2011 - 339 pages



This is sixth work of historical fiction by Erika Robuck I have so far read. She has published seven novels.


My first five  were 


The Invisible Woman - 2021 - set largely in occupied France during World War Two


Sisters of Night and Fog -2022.  Set also largely in France during WW Two


Fallen Beauty - 2014. Set in upstate New York in the 1920s and 1930s - focusing in part on the poet Edna Saint Vincent Millay


Receive Me Falling. - 2009- Set mostly on the Sugar Cane Plantations on the Caribbean Island of Natal.  Shifting from the 1830s to the 1990s.


Hemingway’s Girl - 2012. - focusing mostly on his Key West Years 


Zelda Fitzgerald 


Born: July 24, 1900, Montgomery, Alabama

Died: March 10, 1948 - Asheville, North Carolina

Spouse: F. Scott Fitzgerald (m. 1920–1940)


The Great Gatsby - 1925


Call me Zelda is narrated by Anna, who first meets Zelda Fitzgerald while working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital.  Anna is in her late twenties,made a widow by World War One. She lost her daughter when she was five, her only child, to pneumonia.  The focus of the book is on her very long involvement with Zelda and her husband as well as developments in Anna’s own life.


There is a lot of space devoted to Zelda’s time in psychiatry hospitals, her diaries and her paintings.  We get a good luck at progressive mental healthcare in the 1920s and early 1930s.  Zelda’s husband comes across as a serious alcoholic whose behavior toward Zelda fluctuates from loving to abusive.


There are long extracts from fictional diaries of Zelda.  We follow Anna through her own romances and eventual happy marriage.


Erika Robuck is the national bestselling author of The Invisible Woman, Hemingway’s GirlCall Me Zelda, Fallen Beauty, The House of Hawthorne, and Receive Me Falling. She is a contributor to the anthology Grand Central: Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion, and to the Writer’s Digest Essay Collection, Author in Progress 


In 2014, Robuck was named Annapolis’ Author of the Year, and she resides there with her husband, three sons, and a spunky miniature schnauzer.” From Erikarobuck.com


I hope to read her The House of Hawthorne soon


Mel Ulm




 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

“The Paris Tattoo” - An Essay by Ann Patchett - from her essay collection These Precious Days- 2022 - A Paris in July Post


 


“The Paris Tattoo” - An Essay by Ann Patchett - from her essay collection These Precious Days- 2022 - A Paris in July Post





This is my eighth year participating in a wonderful event, Paris in July.  The event hosts are Reader Buzz and Thyme for Tea.  Posts on any and all things Paris are welcome.  You can share your memories of a trip to Paris, your favorite French recipes or restaurants, art in the  Louvre, your favorite set in Paris Movies (mine are Ninotchka and Midnight in Paris).  Of course the French literary masters as well as contemporary writers are great subjects.


My Official Paris in July Video. The Summer I Read Colette





My Prior Paris in July 2022 Posts


  1. Yiddish Paris by Nicholas Underwood - 2022
  2. After the Romanovs- Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque to Revolution and War by Helen Rappaport - 2022
  3. Late Hour” -A Set in Paris Short Story by Ivan Bunin - 1938- translated by David Humphries -included in The Gentleman from San Francisco and other Stories-- 



“The Paris Tattoo” fits in very well with my other three posts.  It is about people from outside France, speaking little French, experiencing Paris. In this case it is Ann Patchett, at 19, spending a few weeks in Paris on a small students budget along with her best friend. It is 1983. They stay in a small fourth floor apartment.  They have decided to eat in a different restaurant for each meal.  They know French food is a world class marvel.  Instead they end up frequently eating in the same cafe. They become fascinated by two waitresses who seem to them very sophisticated and ever so French. Ann notices one has a small tattoo upon one of the waitresses. Of course the girls begin to ponder the idea of getting one.  Ann ponders a small tattoo of a cow, on her hip.


This essay captured for me perfectly the feel in my official Paris in July Video, The Summer I read Colette.


I look forward to reading all the essays in These Precious Days.


ANN PATCHETT is the author of eight novels, four works of nonfiction, and two children’s books. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner, the Women’s Prize in the U.K., and the Book Sense Book of the Year. Her most recent novel, The Dutch House, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. TIME magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the co-owner of Parnassus Books.


Mel Ulm






Wednesday, July 13, 2022

“Late Hour” -A Set in Paris Short Story by Ivan Bunin - 1938- translated by David Richards -included The Gentleman from San Francisco and other Stories-- A Post for Paris in July 2022


 


“Late Hour” -A Set in Paris Short Story by Ivan Bunin - 1938- translated by David Humphries -included in The Gentleman from San Francisco and other Stories-- A Post for Paris in July 2022 



This will be my eighth year participating in a wonderful event, Paris in July.  The event hosts are Reader Buzz and Thyme for Tea.  Posts on any and all things Paris are welcome.  You can share your memories of a trip to Paris, your favorite French recipes or restaurants, art in the  Louvre, your favorite set in Paris Movies (mine are Ninotchka and Midnight in Paris).  Of course the French literary masters as well as contemporary writers are great subjects.


Last year I posted on six short stories by Russian Émigré writers who moved to Paris after the fall of the Tsars, among others works.  Ivan Bunin is given illuminating coverage in After the Romanovs.



Paris in July is an excellent way to meet bloggers outside the Book Blog world, to expand your knowledge of Parisian history and culture.


Ivan Bunin



October 22, 1870 - Born Voronezh, Russia


March 28, 1920 - moves to Paris where he Will spend The rest of his Life, with countryside interludes


1933 - first Russian to win the Nobel Prize


November 8, 1953 - dies in Paris 


Bunin moved to Paris in 1920, his heart broken by the fall of The Romanovs from power in Russia.  He, like many Russian Émigrés, spent the rest of his life dreaming of the old days and fantasying about the restoration of a Tsar, along with the return of his family estate.  


“Late Hour”, set in Paris, is narrated by a widower wandering the streets of Paris, imagining it as Moscow in the old days. As he crosses the Seine on a bridge,he begins to search for the home in which his late wife grew up. He prays he can kiss her feet in heaven.  


Mel Ulm