Wednesday, 5 December 2018

#WorldReads - Five Books From Switzerland

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post as well as finding out how to join in the challenge.

Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages. Or click the bookshop names to buy your own copy. (Bookshop links are affiliate links so I would earn a small commission from your purchase.)

This month we are going to Switzerland!
Enjoy!


Wasp Days by Erhard von Buren

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

"Summertime. While his wife and daughters are away on holiday, the husband – a librarian by profession – back home at work in the stultifying heat of a provincial Swiss town, indulges in reminiscence. With light amusement he recalls old love affairs. Memories come back of student days in Zurich and academic research in Paris, of starting family life, of trifling matters and crucial turning-points. But again and again the narrator also returns to the present; he describes his work at the library, life in his small town, acquaintances old and new and finally, in the autumn, a journey with his wife to China.
The author's ironic but amiable look at life in all its diversity, the combination of laconic recounting and academic recollection, day-dreaming sequences and conscious remembering make for an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating read."


Sweet Days Of Discipline by Fleur Jaeggy

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Set in postwar Switzerland, Fleur Jaeggy's eerily beautiful novel begins simply and innocently enough: "At fourteen I was a boarder in a school in the Appenzell". But there is nothing truly simple or innocent here. With the off-handed knowingness of a remorseless young Eve, the narrator describes life as a captive of the school and her designs to win the affections of the seemingly perfect new girl, Frederique. As she broods over her schemes as well as on the nature of control and madness, the novel gathers a suspended, unsettling energy.


Cow by Beat Sterchi

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Cow is the story of a Spanish agricultural labourer, Ambrosio, who goes to Switzerland as a Gastarbeiter. He is bound for Innenwald, a village in the Swiss highlands, and the novel begins as he is about to spend a summer working for Farmer Knuchel. It ends in the abattoir of the neighbouring city, at the end of the seven hard years of labour that have destroyed him. There he sees Blosch, the once magnificent lead cow on Knuchel's farm, now a sad, condemned creature in the abattoir.

Cow was acclaimed as a contemporary classic on its first 1980s publication. Now more than ever it must be read as a book of archaic power about man, his work and his food and, most importantly, as a damning indictment of the relationship between man and the animal world.


The Art Of Travel by Alain De Botton

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Few activities seem to promise is as much happiness as going travelling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel to, we seldom ask why we go and how we might become more fulfilled by doing so.

With the help of a selection of writers, artists and thinkers - including Flaubert, Edward Hopper, Wordsworth and Van Gogh - Alain de Botton's bestselling The Art of Travel provides invaluable insights into everything from holiday romance to hotel minibars, airports to sightseeing.

The perfect antidote to those guides that tell us what to do when we get there, The Art of Travel tries to explain why we really went in the first place - and helpfully suggest how we might be happier on our journeys.


Heidi by Johanna Spyri

The Book Depository
Wordery
   Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

A young girl's idyllic mountain life in the Swiss Alps Heidi is only five when she goes to live with her grandfather in his hut in the Swiss Alps. Up in the high pastures, she befriends the goatherd Peter and delights in the company of the gentle goats. Everyone is sad when Heidi is taken away to live with a family in Frankfurt. But Heidi's courage and good spirit charm all who meet her. Soon she is able to return to her beloved mountains, sharing her happiness, health and home with all her new-found friends. Heidi was first published in 1881. A classic tale of childhood joys and friendships, it has delighted and inspired generations of children.


That's it for December's WorldReads from Switzerland. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Swiss-authored books! If you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!




Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited' America, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

In January I will be highlighting five books by Argentine authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

11 comments:

  1. Most of the books I read seem to be set in the US, some in the UK and a handful in maybe New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada. I get a lot of expedition books which are more exotic locations! Next year I'll look at trying to find more in my genres in different locations and maybe join in with this!

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    1. Just to add, I'm working on my first post and will join you in January!

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    2. Oooh, brilliant news! I look forward to finding out which country you've chosen!

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  2. I remember Heidi! I had that book when I was a kid. I haven’t read any of the others. I guess Switzerland isn’t a place that shows up in my reading very often.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. My sister lent me the copy I recently read. We had it as part of a classics boxset when we were kids. I don't remember it being a particular favourite of mine back then, but I was probably in my pony stories phase!

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  3. All new books to me. A couple of them look interesting.

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    1. The Art of Travel really spoke to me and I liked De Botton's philosophy presentations. Cow is heartbreaking and is one that should be widely read I think. A real eye-opener

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  4. Oh, Heidi took me right back to my childhood! I really want to reread it now! This is a great list!

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    1. It's such a lovely story - although Heidi herself is an unbelievably Good child!

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  5. This is an awesome feature- I would love to read more about/ from Switzerland. It's a country I hope to visit someday. The Art of Travel sounds like a good read. :)

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    1. Art Of Travel was an interesting and eye-opening read. It got me thinking about my travels in a different light!

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