The Age of Orphans. Laleh Khadivi. Bloomsbury, 2009.
A nine-year-old Kurdish boy plays in his village in the Persian mountains and gazes over the land of his fathers and forefathers. When messengers from the hills bring whispers of war and rumours that the Shah’s army is on the march, he must stand alongside his villagers and fight for their land. Years later, he can only faintly recall the brutal murder of his father and cousins. Orphaned on the battlefield, conscripted and given a new name, Reza is now married and has risen up the ranks to become Captain. But there are stirrings within his heart. He will soon be sent west to Kermanshah, to rule as the Shah’s servant in the land of his birth.
On Obligations. Cicero. Oxford University Press, reissued 2008.
On Obligations (De officiis) was written by Cicero in late 44 BC, after the assassination of Julius Caesar, to provide principles of behaviour to aspiring politicians. It explores the apparent tensions between honourable conduct and expediency in public life, and the right and wrong ways of attaining political leadership. The principles of honourable behaviour are based on the Stoic virtues of wisdom, justice, magnanimity, and propriety; in Cicero's view, the intrinsically useful is always equal with the honourable.
Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom. Tricia Hedge. Oxford University Press, 2000.
This book is a part of series designed to provide a source of reference for both language teachers and teacher trainers, serving as a basis for courses and seminars and as a long-term reference text for the teacher’s bookshelf. It is divided into four parts: A Framework for Teaching and Learning; Teaching the Language System; Developing Language Skills; and Planning for Learning. All of the chapters have an initial task which raises issues which lie at the heart of that chapter. The text then explores and synthesises insights from research studies, experience and reflection as well as action research by teachers in their own classrooms.
Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert. Bloomsbury, re-issued 2010.
Elizabeth Gilbert is in her thirties, settled in a large house with a husband who wants to start a family – but she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a rebound fling later, Elizabeth emerges battered yet determined to find what she’s been missing. So begins her quest. In Rome, she indulges herself and gains nearly two stone in weight. In India, she finds enlightenment through scrubbing temple floors. Finally, in Bali, a toothless medicine man reveals a new path to peace, leaving her ready to love again. The funny and at the same time wise book became a bestseller shortly after it was first published and recently as a successful movie of the same name starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem.
Chance. Joseph Conrad. Oxford World’s Classics, re-issued 2008.
As the first novel to bring Conrad popular success, it holds a unique place among his works. It tells the story of Flora de Barral, a vulnerable and abandoned young girl who is “like a beggar without a right to anything but compassion”. After her bankrupt father is imprisoned, she learns the harsh fact that a woman in her position “has no resources but in herself. Her only means of action is to be what she is”. Flora’s long struggle to achieve some dignity and happiness makes her Conrad’s most moving female character. Chance also marks the final appearance of Marlow, Conrad’s most effective and wise narrator. This revised edition uses the English first edition text and has a new chronology and bibliography.
This column is a selection by The Slovak Spectator of English-language books recently released in Slovakia; it does not represent an endorsement of any of the books selected. The column is prepared in cooperation with the Oxford Bookshop Bratislava, located at Laurinská 9.
29. Nov 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff