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Around The World With Books-World Literature

As a non-English person who loves English classics, I just realised how many gems are hidden in non-English literature as I went back to check the literature of my own mother tongue. Yes, I am dorkish enough that I haven’t read much in my mother tongue. What’s more-I can’t read as well in my mother tongue as I can in English. Well, enough embarrasing things said. So, after the revelation that there were indeed beautiful pieces of literature in my own language, I wondered what other classics were hidden in other languages. So, here we go.

Indian Literature:

The Mahabharata, The Ramayana, The Bhagavata and the Puranas:

If you can read and write any of the major Indian languages, you could find a copy of these books in that lanaguage. They’re also readily available in English. These books contain the most important bits of Indian culture- the mythology and the philosophy. The Mahabharata and Ramayana are two major epics in Sanskrit and for some reason, they translate better to other Indian languages than English. So, if you can, please pick a copy in an Indian language.

Warning: The Mahabharata is huge. It’s English copy is about 9000 pages thick (Yep) and it is longer than the Iliad and Odessey combined by ten times (atleast wiki tells me so). But it is so worth it to have worked through it.

If you want only the bare bones of Indian mythology, the Puranas are your things. These are the books that contain the details of the Hindu myth of creation and destruction, the cosmology, etc.

Classical Sanskrit:

Unlike Ramayana and Mahabharata which were both written in epic Sanskrit, Raghuvamsa was written in classical Sanskrit.. It is an epic that narrates the story of the Raghu Dynasty (yes, Ram’s family). Khalidasa, the guy who wrote this, is an excellent poet and has many other works under his belt. His works could be downloaded for free here.

Another very important book from this period Chanakya’s Arthashasthra. The book was lost for a thousand years and then rediscovered in 1900s. It’s a “how to be a nice king and not a loser” guide written way ahead of Machiavelli (somewhere between the 2nd-3rd century CE). It offers a look into the Indian culture back then (atleast into the lives of those living in the Mauryan empire).

Pali Literature:

I know I’m commiting a veritable crime by omitting the important works, but the Jataka Tales is the most fun part of Pali literature. They have been translated extensively and tells tall tales of Buddha and his different lives.

There are several Buddhist works written in Pali, for those interested in Buddhist philosophy.

Tamil Literature:

Okay, Tamil Literature has so many amazing pieces I don’t know what to pick. The Thirukural is a collection of couplets on ethics, virtue, politics and love. I love the Thirukural the best out the entirity of Tamil literature and if you could read Tamil, please pick a copy (Nope, it doesn’t translate well to English). Its dating is unclear and range from 300BCE to 400CE, so I’m assuming it’s somewhere in between.

Well, other than that, every piece of Sangam literature is fun. They’re mostly love stories and stories of of war and the likes. Very little religious themes are seen and the stories are basically fun. Other than Sangam literature (which were written over 2000 years ago- the first sangam period is dated 4400 years ago), there is the Ponniyin Selvan which is a historical fiction that is all the rage now.

I don’t think good translations of the Sangam literature (if at all) exist, which is a shame. These stories are as fun as any Greek tragedy and it is sad that the majority of the world will never read them.

Other Indian Literature:

The Panchatantra: This book is kind of like the Arabian Nights and is often dated back to 200BCE. It is a fun to read book, with short humourous stories.

The Gitanjali: This a collection of poems from Tagore and they contain translations of Bengali poems and poems from one of his dramas.

The Charyapadas are buddhist songs composed 12th-13th century.

There are so many other works to be found in Bengali, Gujarati, Kannadam and Telugu (among other languages), but I don’t think I could do justice to them here.

(I have left out modern Indian Literature because they are so easily found).

Russia:

The Entire Collection of Dostoevsky: I’m not even joking. Dostoevsky is so good at writing and all of his books are cool. My personal favourite is the short Notes From Underground. The Idiot is also really nice. The larger works, Crime and Punishment and The Brothers K are wonderful, if you can ignore the religious bits.

Tolstoy‘s works: Do I even have to work at persuading anyone to read Tolstoy? Almost all of his works are wonderful. My personal favourites are The Death Of Ivan Ilych and War and Peace.

Master and Margerita: This is a book set in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and was actually banned for a while. I haven’t read it yet but according to goodreads, it is “humourous and has philosophical depth”. Well, what more could you ask?

Eugene Onegin : Pushkin’s works are always amazing. It again contains lots of philosophical musings. If that’s your kind of thing, you will love it.

There are so many other Russian classics that deserve to be on here, but I’m going to leave them out. If anyone is interested, please do check the goodreads list. It contains all the important works. The works of Turgenev and Nikoloi Gogol (Dead Souls) are especially wonderful.

China:

Like India, China has a really old literary tradition and it is nearly impossible to assort everything. But..

The Four Great Classical Novels: This includes

  1. Water Margin/ Outlaws of the Marsh
  2. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms
  3. Journey to the West
  4. Dream of the Red Chamber / The Story of the Stone

I have only read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and it is so good. I have had the Jorney to the West on my tbr shelf for too long and will probably have to force myself to complete it soon.

Philosophy: Since I have a newly found love for philosophy, I literally can’t leave these out.

  1. Analects of Confucius
  2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  3. Tao Te Ching
  4. Texts of Mohism

There’s so much in chinese philosophy and I don’t think it is humanly possible to read it all. But if anyone is interested, there are introductary books to chinese philosophy that cover a bit of everything.

Modern: A Madman’s Diary by Lu Xun

Pakistan:

I’m just going to go ahead and list them now,

  1. I am Malala by Malala Yousafai
  2. My Feudal Lord by Tehmina Durrani
  3. The Blind Man’s Garden by Nadeem Aslam

I think these books offer an insight into life in Pakistan. I’m sure there are other books from this pretty country that are worth reading. Please leave a comment below if you if think there are other books that deserve to be on here.

Afghanistan:

Again, just going to list them.

  1. The Kite Runner
  2. The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashmi.
  3. A Curse on Dostoevsky by Atiq Rahimi
  4. Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi

Indonesia:

  1. Buru Quartet by Pramoedya Ananta Toer 
  2. Beauty is a Wound and Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan
  3. Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata

Iran

Of the ancient poems, Shahnameh written in the medieval era is one of the longest poems in the world. It’s written in Persian and tells the history of the Persian empire. If anyone is interested, it has been translated to English.

Then, here we go with the list:

  1. The Gulistan and Bustan
  2. Masnavi Ma’navi/ Rumi
  3. Five treasures by Nizami Ganjavi
  4. Sammak-e-Ayyar by Faramarz bin-Abdullah al-Katib al-Rajani

I’m sure you could find more if you just dig more.

Iraq:

The Epic Of Gilgamesh is one of those long classics, written in the Akkadian language and is considered the Mesopotemian Oddessey.

France

  1. Candide by Voltaire (and other works)
  2. Le Petit Prince
  3. Everything by Albert Camus (especially Le Mythe de Sisyphe and L’Etranger
  4. Victor Hugo (Just read everything)
  5. Sartre (I mean, if we’re going to existentialism with Camus, why not Satre?)

The Old Literature: The Song of Roland and the Arthurian romances were originally written in French.

England:

Dear Ol’ England has lots to offer. Here we go:

  1. Shakespeare
  2.  Dickens
  3. John Keats 
  4. George Orwell
  5. The Hobbit 
  6. The Lord Of The Rings
  7. Sherlock Holmes 

Okay, I think I should stop. There are so many prolific writers in British literature that it would take an entire book to write about them. You get the point, this post is becoming too long.

Denmark:

Søren Kierkegaard is regarded the best in Denmark’s literary tradition because he is awesome at words. So, all of his philosophy and Diary of a Seducer (a mini novel).

And Hans Christen Anderson’s fairy tales, ofcourse.

Greece:

Okay, I think you know where this is going.

  1. Homer. Read both the Iliad and the Oddessey now. They’re amazing.
  2. The Lysistrata by Aristophanes 
  3. Aesychlus – Oresteia
  4. Euripides – Medea, The Bacchae
  5. Sophocles – Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone

Scandinavia

I’m only going to mention those old norse books,

  1. Poetic Edda
  2. Prose Edda

These are both the only sources of norse mythology I can think of the top of my head. Both of them are really nice and the Poetic Edda, especially the Oxford translation, was excellent.

But Sophie’s World , was written by a norwegian author and I loved it. It’s a primer of sorts for philosophy and you need to read it.

Italy:

I’m going to use this to throw latin classics at you,

The Latin Classics:

  1. Metamorphoses of Ovid
  2. Descartes Meditationes de Prima Philosophia 
  3. Spinozoa’s Ethics
  4. Julius Caesar’s own writtings
  5. De Brevitate Vitae by Seneca

Italian:

  1. The Divine Comedy
  2. The Name of the Rose
  3. Zeno’s Conscience
  4. Inferno

And I think I should I end it. I have left out several countries and even more literary pieces because I don’t know enough about the countries themselves and nor have I read their literature, so I didn’t think it would be fair to write them down. But if anyone knows of any titles that deserve mentioning, and from countries not mentioned above, please comment down below.

Yours truly,

Me.

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The Gravity of Us

Title: The Gravity Of Us

Author: Brittainy C. Cherry

Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Summary:

Ok, not the best of covers

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground. 

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Pride and Prejudice- Discussion


P&P is widely regarded as a romance novel done good (and I mean goooood) and that is not without good reasons.

“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”



This quote sums up why everyone loves Mr Darcy. It’s the way he listens to Elisa and changes himself without expecting her to love him for it. Can we have more Mr Darcy-s in this world please?

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To Beguile A Beast- Book Review

Tame

Title: To Beguile A Beast

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Genre: Historical Romance

Theme: Beauty and the Beast

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Summary:

CAN A WOUNDED BEAST . . .

Reclusive Sir Alistair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he’s kept suppressed for years begin to awaken.

TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST . . .

Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxury of the ton to a crumbling Scottish castle . . . and a job as a housekeeper. Yet Helen is determined to start a new life and she won’t let dust-or a beast of a man-scare her away.

TO TAME HIS MOST SECRET DESIRES?

Beneath Helen’s beautiful façade, Alistair finds a courageous and sensual woman. A woman who doesn’t back away from his surliness-or his scars. But just as he begins to believe in true love, Helen’s secret past threatens to tear them apart. Now both Beast and Beauty must fight for the one thing neither believed they could ever find-a happy ever after. 

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Sophie’s World-Book Review

Title: Sophie’s World

Author:  Jostein Gaarder

Translator: Paulette Møller

Genre: Fiction

Theme: Philosophy

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Summary:

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learning—but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.

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Warcross by Marie Lu- Book Review

Title: Warcross

Genre: YA

Theme: Science Fiction

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Summary:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

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Heartless by Marissa Mayer- Book Review

Title: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: YA

Theme: Re-telling (Queen of Hearts)

Pretttyyyy

Summary:

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

(Summary from Goodreads)

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Book Review- The Iron King

Title: The Iron King

Series: The Iron Fey #1

Author: Julie Kagawa

Genre: YA

Theme: Faery

Meh

Summary:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart

Book Details from Goodreads

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Sweet dreams ( Colorado Mountain #2) by Kristen Ashley- Book Review

Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2)Title: Sweet Dreams

Author: Kristen Ashley

Genre: Romance

                             Theme: Biker-ish

                              Rating:

Summary:

She’s ready for the ride of her life . . .

Lauren Grahame is looking to reinvent herself. After leaving her cheating husband, Lauren moves to Carnal, Colorado, and gets a job as a waitress in a biker bar called Bubba’s. It’s a nothing job in a nowhere joint . . . until Tatum Jackson walks in. Lauren has never seen a man with such good looks, muscles, and attitude. But when he insults her, Lauren doesn’t want anything to do with him. Too bad for Lauren he’s also the bar’s part owner and bartender.

When the rough-around-the-edges Tate meets the high-class Lauren, he thinks she won’t fit in at Bubba’s. Yet there’s more to Lauren than meets the eye, and Tate soon sets his mind on claiming her as his own. Before long, the desire burning between them is heating up the cold mountain air. But when violence strikes the town, Tate must reveal a dark secret to Lauren-one that may put an end to their sweet dreams.

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