Triple Choice Tuesday: Miasto Ksiazek (The City of Books)

Triple-Choice-TuesdayWelcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.

Today’s guest is Paulina Surniak from the Polish book blog Miasto Ksiazek (The City of Books).

Paulina teaches the history of English literature and is working on her PhD on eighteenth century women writers. She travels a lot, especially to Asia, and loves reading travel books. But her blog, which is one of the oldest book blogs in Poland, covers all kinds of literature, including fiction. It also has a similar series to Triple Choice Tuesday, but runs on a Monday!

Paulina believes her love for books is genetic: her parent’s first date was in a second-hand bookshop.

Without further ado, here’s Paulina’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:

Penguin-1399-zf_Durrell_My_Family_&_Other_Animals A favourite book: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

If a favourite book is the one that we often return to when we’re feeling down, than the trophy must go to Gerald Durrell and his My Family and Other Animals. I love all his books: they are so light-hearted, warm and funny, but My Family is special.

A British family escapes the dreary English weather and moves to the Greek island of Corfu, where little Gerard idles his time away, adopting all the strange animals that inhabit the island. The family is eccentric, and one of them is Larry, later Lawrence Durrell, the famous writer. They are all unbelievably tolerant and good-natured, and their tolerance does them no good, as they are constantly exposed to different stinging, biting, crawling and flying creatures collected by little Gerald.

The author is a true comedian, his perfect timing makes us laugh out loud, which makes this book an unfortunate choice for the train ride. The sense of humour combined with the delightful, idyllic atmosphere of Corfu make this a perfect, pastoral read.

Out of africa A book that changed my world: Out of Africa by Karen Blixen aka Isak Dinesen

There are a few books that have changed my world, but the first that comes to my mind is Out of Africa. I love travelling and I think that I owe a lot to Karen Blixen –- her book made me more tolerant and open-minded.

A Danish baroness who lived in Kenya for 18 years in the first half of the 20th century, Karen wrote the most compassionate and tender book about the clash of cultures. At the beginning of her stay she desperately tried to preserve her own identity, but gradually she opened up her heart to Africa and its people. She learns with passion, and regains the abilities that most Europeans had lost long ago: the ability to see, to hear and to tell stories. And her story, told long after she was forced to return to Denmark, is simple but powerful. It teaches us to appreciate people who are different, to learn from them and from nature. And it opens in a most beautiful way with a memorable sentence: “I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong hills.”

Romance of private life A book that deserves a wider audience: anything by Sarah Harriet Burney

Sarah Harriet Burney is a truly unknown authoress. One of the books that I would like to recommend is not even available in print now. Still, with all the craze about Jane Austen, why not read one of her contemporaries, whose books are also vivid and full of humour?

Sarah Harriet Burney, the younger sister of a better known writer Fanny Burney, was unappreciated even by her own family. She’s been rediscovered recently and one of her books, The Romance of Private Life, was recently published by Pickering and Chatto. One of the two novels in this volume is The Hermitage, a psychological thriller with a shade of Gothic.

I would also recommend Country Neighbours, one of the novels found in the volume entitled Tales of Fancy, a charming Austen-like tale about two neighbouring families. It contains balls, engagements and affairs, there’s a mystery of birth, a wicked male character, a naive and innocent maiden, hatred and passion. This charming tale needs to be reissued in hard copy, but can be easily found in the form of a free ebook, for example, on Google books.

Thanks, Paulina, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!

I’ve not read any of them, although I’m very much aware of Durrell and Blixen. But really nice to hear about Sarah Harriet Burney, an author I’ve never even heard of before.

What do you think of Paulina’s choices? Have you read any of these books?

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9 thoughts on “Triple Choice Tuesday: Miasto Ksiazek (The City of Books)

  1. Thanks for the list. The only one of those that I have read is My Family and Other Animals. Unfortunately we read it at school when I was about 12 or 13 and consequently I loathed it. I ought to revisit it because it wasn’t the book’s fault, just that I preferred reading alone and discovering a book’s meaning for myself rather than taking turns to read it out in class and picking over the meaning there.
    I’ll look out for Sarah Harriet Burney. I like the sound of The Hermitage.

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  2. Great choices! I’ve only read Out of Africa because my parents lived in Kenya and we visited the town of Karen (where Blixen’s house is now a museum). It’s a beautiful and evocative place. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the other two titles, especially Burney:)

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  3. Does anyone know how to translate the Polish into English. There’s usually a flag to click on.

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  4. Thanks for this, Kim. My blog gets a fair number of Polish hits and Paulina is the reason — I did not know anything about her and this has been a very good explanation.

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  5. Thanks for the invitation, Kim! It’s really nice to be here, especially that I’ve been a faithful reader of Reading Matters for a few years now. I’m afraid that neither google translate nor any other engine is a very efficient way of translating a blog, I wonder what you may get from it;) I’m thinking of running the English version, too, but I’m afraid it would be too time-consuming… But it’s a tempting thought, to become part of this global blogosphere:)
    Kevin – I’ve been recommending your blog many times, and I’ve linked to it many times, too, I’m glad that people follow that links:) I believe a few Canadian titles found their way to Poland thanks to your blog:)

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  6. My wife has just read Out of Africa in her reading group. We managed to buy a beautiful illustrated edition on ebay with many period photographs which added to the enjoyment. Its undoubtedly a fine book if a little dated in its style.

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  7. I havent read either of the two books which have been featured on here and nor have I heard of the last author so lots for me to hunt down and have a look at on this Triple Choice Tuesday from a new to me blogger who I am going to be investigating thanks to the translation link (I always forget you can do that!). Thanks to both of you!

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  8. I’d read Out of Africa a while back and enjoyed that. I’d be curious to know what Polish books Paulina would choose into those categories. I really should visit her blog and start reading it!

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