September 2022 Wrap-Up

How Green Was My Valley [1939] by Richard Llewellyn – ★★★★

Beautiful were the days that are gone, and O, for them to be back. The mountain was green, and proud with a good covering of oak and ash, and washing his feet in a streaming river clear as the eyes of God” [Richard Llewellyn, Penguin Books, 1939/2001: 153].

This absorbing story is told through the perspective of a small boy and then a young man living in a close-knit mining community in Wales during the reign of Queen Victoria. Huw Morgan grows up in changing times and in a family of many other children and plenty of role models. The Morgan family experiences both good and bad times, enduring their daily struggles with their coal employers and the rise of labour unions, but still finds happiness of living so united, peacefully abiding by the laws of the Church and being surrounded by the primordial beauty of nature. Huw makes enemies and friends, both in school and in a wider community, and finds out about friendship, duty, shame, guilt and justice, as well as, later, the value of honest work, and torments and confusion of first love. Permeated with much emotion and with that quiet, poetic and resolute conviction, How Green Was My Value is a heart-felt, bitter-sweet and nostalgic literary masterpiece, a one-of-kind homage to innocence lost and to Wales that is no more.

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10 Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To

#TopTenTuesday meme is run by That Artsy Reader Girl (the original creator is The Broke and The Bookish) and I also saw it at What Cathy Read Next and Stuck in a Book. This “10 Authors” topic was actually the theme of the last week’s blogging event and, hopefully, I will be forgiven for giving it a go this week (this week’s topic is “Bookish Merchandise I’d Love to Own”).

I. Molière

I would like to explore the worlds of French playwrights and I am going to start with Molière. The Misanthrope, The Hypochondriac and Le Médecin malgré lui (“the doctor in spite of himself”), a satire on the 17th century French medicine, all sound like great (tragi)comedies.

II. Hiroko Oyamada

I cannot believe I am still to read any Oyamada because I have wanted to read her books for so long. I am excited to read both The Factory [2013] and The Hole [2014]. Oyamada’s writings have been compared to Franz Kafka and so her books are likely to be right up my alley.

III. Julio Cortazar

I already ranted elsewhere how badly I want to read Julio Cortázar’s masterpiece Hopscotch [1963], but its size and complexity do put me off. I am also curious about this Argentine-French writer’s short stories and he had left plenty.

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