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Book Rambles: Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko

The eight destination of my summer reading challenge, Around Europe in 14 Books, is Ukraine.

I was at a loss about which book to choose as, on the international scene, Ukrainian books are generally overshadowed by Russian ones. On my Goodreads To-Read list, I had saved a novel called The Museum of Abandoned Secrets by Oksana Zabuzhko, but its 700+ page count deterred me from choosing it.

Luckily my friend suggested another Zabuzhko novel called Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex. This book is not even 200 pages, however, it was still difficult to read. You’ll understand why if you go on and read my review below.

Read the previous posts:

#1: Ireland – How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern

#2: Iceland – Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

#3: Norway – Doppler by Erlend Loe

#4: Denmark – This Should Be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle

#5: Sweden – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

#6: Finland – The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

#7: Russia – Homo Zapiens by Victor Pelevin

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Book Rambles, Media

Book Rambles: Homo Zapiens by Victor Pelevin

In last week’s book, The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna, the protagonist ends up crossing the border from Finland to Russia. That somehow proves that the next move in my literary journey is legit. It seems natural to move from Finland to Russia, at least geographically.

Keeping to the geographical argument, many people are still debating on whether Russia is in Europe or not (just Google the question to see the discussions). According to me, there isn’t much to question. A part of this huge country is in Europe and I think that culturally it is closer to Europe (although possibly its position between two continents makes for a special culture). So here it is, the seventh destination of my summer reading challenge, Around Europe in 14 Books.

My choice fell on Victor Pelevin’s Homo Zapiens because from the blurb it seemed to be a pungent satire. It actually is, but it’s also a fantastical story, a narrative full of symbolism which is quite hard to grasp. It was a difficult read, that is why I am publishing this review much later than usual (but at least I’ve kept it within the weekly deadline).

Read the previous posts:

#1: Ireland – How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern

#2: Iceland – Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

#3: Norway – Doppler by Erlend Loe

#4: Denmark – This Should Be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle

#5: Sweden – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

#6: Finland – The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

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Book Rambles, Media

Book Rambles: The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

The sixth destination of my summer reading challenge called Around Europe in 14 Books is also the last Scandinavian country on the list before I move to another part of the continent.

The country is Finland and the novel is The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna. He is one of the most successful writers in Finland and one of the most famous Finnish authors abroad. This 1975 novel, which was Paasilinna’s first work and is his own favourite, has been translated into several languages and has been a bestseller in France. There are also two films based on it: the first one is a Finnish film made in 1977 and the other is French, from 2006.

It’s my first time reading a Finnish novel and this one made me think of a couple of other Nordic books that I have read in the past weeks. Read on to understand why.

Read the previous posts:

#1: Ireland – How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern

#2: Iceland – Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

#3: Norway – Doppler by Erlend Loe

#4: Denmark – This Should Be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle

#5: Sweden – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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Book Rambles, Media

Book Rambles: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Finally, I have reached Sweden in my summer literary journey, Around Europe in 14 Books.

If you’re familiar with my blog, you won’t be surprised to know that I was looking forward to starting my Swedish novel. If you’re new to my blog, just take a look at my About page and the Travel & Culture – Sweden Rambles from the blog’s Menu and you’ll understand that Sweden is an important part of my life now.

A Man Called Ove is not the first Swedish book I’ve read, but it turned out to be the best one I’ve read so far (before, I have only truly appreciated John Ajvide Lindqvist’s horror novels, Let the Right One In and Little Star).

Discover more about this novel by Fredrik Backman after the jump. Don’t forget to take a look at the previous book reviews from my reading challenge.

Read the previous posts:

#1: Ireland – How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern

#2: Iceland – Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

#3: Norway – Doppler by Erlend Loe

#4: Denmark – This Should Be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle

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Book Rambles, Media

Book Rambles: This Should Be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle

This week’s read, as part of my summer challenge named Around Europe in 14 Books, has taken me from Norway to Denmark. The novel I am reviewing is This Should Be Written in the Present Tense, Helle Helle’s first novel to be translated into English.

For the first time, there aren’t going to be many positives in this review. As soon as I started reading the book, I felt that it was underwhelming, and it didn’t improve a lot by the end.

It had to happen, at some point. I tend to choose books by reading the description featured on the cover and I try to avoid seeing people’s reviews or ratings (even if I do see them, they don’t affect me). So, from its cover, any book can seem good but it’s the reading experience that counts in the end.

I will try my best to keep the review balanced, though, because I don’t like writing outright negative comments.

Read the previous posts:

#1: Ireland – How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern

#2: Iceland – Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

#3: Norway – Doppler by Erlend Loe

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