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December reads

This month after I finished Kofi Annan’s Interventions (of which I still owe you a review) I read a great and long novel by my favorite Hungarian author, one of the works of my favorite Hungarian feminist sociologists – although not a study this time, but a romance, another Hungarian book I read in only an afternoon (yes, Hungarian Christmas candies were involved…), an English novel throughout a journey back from the countryside (and back from Christmas to weekdays), a wonderful women’s guidance book I got for Christmas and a tale everyone needs to read once in a while. 🙂

Debts of Honor is a wonderful work of Mór Jókai, famous Hungarian novelist of the late 19th century. Jókai (sometimes mentioned as Maurus Jokai or – quite oddly – as Mer Jekai in English) is one of my all time favorite writers. Most of his novels are set in the Hungarian Reform Era in regions of then Austria-Hungary. The Reform Era is also my favorite era of Hungarian history, so just the atmosphere and vibe of these stories are astonishing for me.

One thing that just gets me in Jókai novels is the immeasurable honesty of his heroes – the type of characters you could hardly find anymore, ones who are true to their word sometimes at their own expense, sometimes even to death. As you can deduce from its title, this novel is a great example of that! Debts of Honor is a captivating story of two brothers – a story of love, alternation of joy and sorrow and the shadow of a family tragedy.

If you are not familiar with the works of Jókai yet, start with this one, and you will definitely want more! Should you need further title recommendations, feel free to use my ask box! 🙂

I packed Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader for a three hour train ride from Nagykálló to Budapest. Unfortunately the book only lasted for two and a half hours, and since all my other books were packed in the bottom of my baggage, I spent the rest of the journey cleaning the memory of my phone. 250+ messages reduced to 24 – I’d say it was not a wasted half an hour after all… 🙂

After being warned that The Uncommon Reader is not the kind of book I would enjoy, it proved to be a pleasant surprise! I found the whole thing interesting, and totally could imagine Queen Elizabeth II as the main character. I would be very interested though what Her Majesty thought about the novel, as I am sure she read it and had an opinion too. Especially that Mr. Bennett makes her resign in the end… Also, I imagine Her Majesty being a great reader all her life and not just in her latest years. But I thought the book was enjoyable nevertheless.

Angyalműhely – a Christmas gift I could not have been happier about! I don’t want to bore you with that, if any Hungarian girls here might be interested, just drop me a note and we’ll discuss. All I can say is that it gives you everything a really inspiring women’s magazine does and it is so much more than that, and lasts so much longer! I love it!

And The Little Prince – I can only repeat myself: it’s one of the tales everyone should read once in a while so we don’t forget all the timeless truths in them!

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