I cannot tell you how it was;
But this I know: it came to pass
Upon a bright and breezy day
When May was young; ah, pleasant May!
– from May by Christina Rossetti
Água Viva by Clarice Lispector
Translator: Stefan Tobler
Summary: In Água Viva Clarice Lispector aims to ‘capture the present’. Her direct, confessional and unfiltered meditations on everything from life and time to perfume and sleep are strange and hypnotic in their emotional power and have been a huge influence on many artists and writers, including one Brazilian musician who read it one hundred and eleven times. Despite its apparent spontaneity, this is a masterly work of art, which rearranges language and plays in the gaps between reality and fiction.
London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew
Summary: An extraordinary work of investigative journalism, literature, and sociology, London Labour and the London Poor originated in a series of articles for a local newspaper and grew into a massive record of the daily life of Victorian London’s underclass. By turns alarming, touching, and funny, the pages of London Labour and the London Poor exposed a previously hidden world. Henry Mayhew conducted hundreds of interviews that provided a first-hand account of costermongers and street-sellers, of sewer-scavengers and chimney-sweeps, creating an intimate and detailed portrait that offered unprecedented insight into their day-to-day struggle for survival. Combined with Mayhew’s comprehensive data gathering, these stories have an immediacy that owes much to his sympathetic understanding and effective literary style.
Today is my birthday and I’m celebrating it by putting two books on my monthly TBR! I’ll also be celebrating it with Studio Ghibli films and McDonald’s fries.
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