Friday 26 February 2021

American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera
Published by Carina Press in March 2019.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No one ever said big dreams come easy

For Nesto Vasquez, moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck from New York City to the wilds of Upstate New York is a huge gamble. If it works? He’ll be a big fish in a little pond. If it doesn’t? He’ll have to give up the hustle and return to the day job he hates. He’s got six months to make it happen—the last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jude Fuller is proud of the life he’s built on the banks of Cayuga Lake. He has a job he loves and good friends. It’s safe. It’s quiet. And it’s damn lonely. Until he tries Ithaca’s most-talked-about new lunch spot and works up the courage to flirt with the handsome owner. Soon he can’t get enough—of Nesto’s food or of Nesto. For the first time in his life, Jude can finally taste the kind of happiness that’s always been just out of reach.

An opportunity too good to pass up could mean a way to stay together and an incredible future for them both…if Nesto can remember happiness isn’t always measured by business success. And if Jude can overcome his past and trust his man will never let him down.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

I bought American Dreamer on the recommendation of Olivia (at Olivia's Catastrophe) who loved the story for many of the same reasons that also appealed to me so I am glad to have been swayed by her enthusiasm for this series. I don't often pick up romance novels, but American Dreamer's Dominican Republic authorship made it a perfect fit for my WorldReads project and I love that this story focuses on American people of colour simply living their lives. There is tension and angst, but of the romantic variety and a certain character's racism is a subplot, but Nesto and Jude navigating the possibility of a lasting relationship between them is firmly at this novel's heart. Food is also central to American Dreamer and I loved how Herrera explains the cultural significance of certain dishes to people living away from their family homelands. I have experienced this in a small way myself so could empathise with Carmen's joy on her first visit to the OuNYe food truck.

American Dreamer evoked similar reading vibes for me as Adiba Jaigirdar's The Henna Wars (although I must say that American Dreamer is intended for an older audience and does have a few sex scenes). The narrative is fairly light compared to my usual literary reads, but it never felt shallow. I already knew we were heading for a Happy Ever After, but Herrera's authentic portrayals of multicultural friendships and a gay relationship mean the whole book is filled with positive representation which was a joy to read. I've already got the next book in this series added to my wishlist!

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Adriana Herrera / Romance fiction / Books from Dominican Republic

Friday 19 February 2021

The Savior by Abdellatif Radja

The Savior by Abdellatif Radja
Self published in November 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three years after the tragic death of baby Sarah, Emily decides to have a child again. She hires a doula and tries to settle into a semblance of normalcy.

On a cold autumn morning, husband David wakes up to find a note from Emily on the refrigerator door: Goodbye Forever.

David wonders why Emily left him just a few days before her due date. Well, their marriage isn't the most perfect in the world, but he did everything he could to save it, or at least that's what he thought.

Under mounting pressure from the police, David decides to take matters into his own hands. With the few secrets he learned from the doula about his wife, he begins unearthing more and more shocking secrets.

Did Emily really decide to disappear?

I had quite good hopes for The Savior when I started to read it. Billed as a psychological thriller, its central characters are a wife and husband whose lives were devastated by her severe post partum depression after the birth of their first child. I sympathised with the character of Emily, despite the terrible thing she had done, and was intrigued by the way her husband, David, had organised his domestic life during Emily's enforced absence. A manipulative, chauvinistic man, there is lots not to like about David and I frequently found myself wondering what on earth had attracted Emily to him in the first place!

I was confused by Abdellatif Radja's failure to set The Savior in a definite location and felt this negatively affected my ability to believe in all the characters and their motivations. I guess, by their names - Emily, David, Patricia, Samantha, Hannah - and some scenarios that the novel is targeted towards a mainstream white American audience, but the overall settings felt too flimsy and generic for my tastes. The dialogue is often strange too, but I did actually quite like the poetic style of Radja's prose.

As the story progressed, I thought it was going to explore the realities of a woman living in the shadow of post partum depression. Having recently read Elisabeth Horan's powerful poetry collection, Just To The Right Of The Stove, on just this subject, I felt it a brave direction especially for a male author to take, but unfortunately this was not to be the case. After Radja sets us up for various psychological aspects in the first half of the book, he then sadly veers abruptly into implausible thriller fare for the second half with lots of gun waving, two-dimensional cameo characters, and half explored plotlines that fizzle out. Rapid scenes get increasingly more violent and less and less believable, and the whole mental health aspect, which initially drew me in, ultimately ends up with a shallow, stereotyped portrayal of 'crazy woman'. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Abdellatif Radja / Thrillers / Books from Algeria

Thursday 18 February 2021

Kololo Hill by Neema Shah

Kololo Hill by Neema Shah
Published by Picador today, the 18th February 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you’re left with nothing but your secrets, how do you start again?

Uganda 1972

A devastating decree is issued: all Ugandan Asians must leave the country in ninety days. They must take only what they can carry, give up their money and never return.

For Asha and Pran, married a matter of months, it means abandoning the family business that Pran has worked so hard to save. For his mother, Jaya, it means saying goodbye to the house that has been her home for decades. But violence is escalating in Kampala, and people are disappearing. Will they all make it to safety in Britain and will they be given refuge if they do?

And all the while, a terrible secret about the expulsion hangs over them, threatening to tear the family apart. 

From the green hilltops of Kampala, to the terraced houses of London, Neema Shah’s extraordinarily moving debut Kololo Hill explores what it means to leave your home behind, what it takes to start again, and the lengths some will go to protect their loved ones.

Kololo Hill focuses on Idi Amin's expulsion of Asian families from Uganda in the early 1970s. It's set around the same time as The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumba and shows a very different side of Ugandan life. We see how an Indian family have their lives turned upside-down by Amin's decree. He does not consider them to be Ugandans even though Jaya and her husband, Motichand, have lived and worked in the country for decades. Not even their eldest son, Pran, born there and in possession of a Ugandan passport, escapes the ruling. Shah tells the family's story through three characters: elderly Jaya, Jaya's daughter-in-law, Asha, and Jaya's younger son, Vijay. I was particularly fascinated by the relationship between Jaya and Asha which illustrates not only a wide generation gap but also shows how far Ugandan Indians have diverged from their parents' culture. Jaya has always followed a traditional way of life for Indian women of her class and caste, keeping herself in her husband's shadow, whereas as Asha, brought up in Uganda culture, expects the right to speak and that her opinions should be acknowledged. Neither woman is equipped for the situation in which they find themselves, but I loved how Shah plays them off each other as they struggle through.

Asha's husband, Pran, provides much of the story's drive which is a little strange because, as readers, we don't get to hear his voice directly. As he and Asha are newly married, she often doesn't understand this secretive man either so their lack of connection often causes more problems. Kololo Hill is as much about this family's interpersonal relationships as it is about the outside situation in Uganda and I felt the almost claustrophobic sense of them being trapped together worked very well to add atmosphere to the story. It's even more effective once some of the family arrive in England, others having been lost along the way.

I remember seeing old newsreel footage of dozens of expelled Ugandans arriving at one of the London airports, obviously bewildered and certainly not dressed warmly enough for the weather. Shah managed to put me right into the middle of that moment, and into the months that follow as these refugees attempt to rebuild their lives from scratch having had to leave practically all their possessions behind. Kololo Hill really brought home to me just how traumatic such an upheaval was, and still is for the people going through similar experiences today.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Neema Shah / Historical fiction / Books from England

Saturday 13 February 2021

Fieldwork In Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko

Fieldwork In Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko
First published in Ukrainian in 1996. English language translation by Halyna Hryn published by AmazonCrossing in June 2011.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Called “the most influential Ukrainian book for the 15 years of independence,” Oksana Zabuzhko’s Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex became an international phenomenon when it shot to number one on the Ukrainian bestseller list and remained there throughout the 1990s. The novel is narrated in first-person streams of thought by a sharp-tongued poet with an irreverently honest voice. She is visiting professor of Slavic studies at Harvard and her exposure to American values and behaviors conspires with her yearning to break free from Ukrainian conventions. In her despair over a recently ended affair, she turns her attention to the details of her lover’s abusive behavior. In detailing the power her Ukrainian lover wielded over her, and in admitting the underlying reasons for her attraction to him, she begins to see the chains that have defined her as a Ukrainian woman – and in doing so, exposes and calls into question her country’s culture of fear and repression at the very time that it wrestled its way toward independence.

If Fieldwork In Ukrainian Sex isn't yet classed as a feminist classic everywhere, then it absolutely ought to be! It is far from an easy read, but is a genuine tour de force outpouring of anger and resignation, desire and repression. Zabuzhko tells her story in a mix of first, second and third person narration, each point of view essentially hers, but dissolving into each other as her own points of observation change. She frequently questions her own sanity, attempting to understand how much of what drove her into an abusive relationship was her own free will searching out exciting danger, and how much was a longing for a sense of home that, in this case, was embodied by a man who spoke her language and could instantly understand her cultural references. I empathised with Zabuzhko's identification with her language as her home, rather than a particular spot on the planet. Her Ukrainian, she tells us, is only spoken by few hundred thousand people, yet within its idioms and phrases is the long history of a people emerging from decades of Soviet rule. The sense of a newly independent nation finding its wings runs alongside Zabuzhko's sense of finding herself in the aftermath of her ill-fated love affair.

I enjoyed reading Fieldwork In Ukrainian Sex far more than I thought I would. My expectations had been informed by other, more scholarly, reviews and I thought I would be overwhelmed by this book. Perhaps I wouldn't understand it at all. As it turned out, I quickly got into the flow of Zabuzhko's energetic, visceral prose. Letting her carry me and allowing myself to be led by her words, rather than attempting to understand every sentence, connection and allusion as they occurred, meant I was drawn right in. Stream-of-consciousness writing generally works well for me and this book was no exception. I finished its relatively short length feeling as though I had been through a wringer, and I would love to know how much of Fieldwork In Ukrainian Sex is actually fiction. To me, it felt more of a philosophical memoir, an authentic insight into the mind of a true Ukrainian poet.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Oksana Zabuzhko / Contemporary fiction / Books from Ukraine

Friday 12 February 2021

Just to the Right of the Stove by Elisabeth Horan

Just to the Right of the Stove by Elisabeth Horan
Published by Twist In Time today, the 12th February 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Elisabeth Horan’s new collection Just to the Right of the Stove opens by the fridge, a cold beginning perhaps to counter the heated conversations that will unfold from our two protagonists, one already doomed and the other trying to decide. The first poem is voiced by both Sylvia Plath and our own Elisabeth, wondering if the only way to make it on the page is to step away from the flesh. Sylvia promises to help and so the timer is set and on we go...” 

– Damien Donnelly, Poet and Author

Just to the Right of the Stove is an evocatively mundane title for Elisabeth Horan's new poetry collection, conjuring up images of cosy kitchens and domestic bliss when the reality of life, as seen through Horan's poetry, is a series of very different scenarios. The poems are linked by an imagined conversation between Horan herself and the American poet with whom she particularly identifies, Sylvia Plath. Both women suffered intensely from postpartum depression and the ramifications of this for themselves and their families are the focus of Just to the Right of the Stove.

I felt I was not as familiar as I needed to be with Plath's work in order to fully appreciate Horan's overtly experimental poems. I've only read The Bell Jar once, several years ago, and don't recall ever having read her poetry. That said, I appreciated the more accessible works which allowed me disturbing insights into the poet's mind. To see how her self-perception is warped by this mental illness was unsettling to me as a reader, and I can't even begin to imagine how traumatic it must be to be locked into that reality, especially as Horan shows she is only too aware of her irrational behaviour, yet without the means to change it. Just To The Right Of The Stove vividly portrays her life, I thought, in a way that a factual essay could never do.

Thinking back over the emotions this collection provoked in me as I read, I feel that I also gained understanding through the inscrutable poems with which, at the time, I failed to connect. One poem, Keeping Tabs or Dabbing The Corners Of Our Mouths Like Ladies, for example, had me believing that I understood Horan's predicament and, arrogantly, even that I could empathise, but turning a page to then struggle with Not your type of alone, swirling away beyond my comprehension, demonstrated quite the opposite to be true. Just To The Right Of The Stove allowed me to see how much I cannot know.

Meet the Poet

Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature from Vermont advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain - especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness. 

She is Editor in Chief at Animal Heart Press, and Co-Editor at Ice Floe Press. She has several chaps and collections out this year including Bad Mommy / Stay Mommy at Fly on the Wall Press, Odd list Odd house Odd me at Twist It Press, Was It R*pe, from Rhythm and Bones Press, Self-Portrait, at Cephalo Press, and Just to the Right of the Stove, with Hedgehog Poetry Press. 
She is a poetry mentor to many up and coming brilliant poets, and proud momma to Peter and Thomas.

She recently earned her MA from SNHU, and her MFA from Lindenwood University. She is a 2018 Pushcart Nominee and a 2018 and 2019 Best of Net Nominee. 

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Elisabeth Horan / Poetry / Books from America

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Locks: A Story Based on True Events by Ashleigh Nugent

Locks: A Story Based on True Events by Ashleigh Nugent

Published by RiseUp on the 21st September 2020.

How I got this book: Received a review copy via Rachel's Random Resources

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon UK /

News From Nowhere

“1993 was the year that Stephen Lawrence got murdered by racists, and I became an angry Black lad with a ‘chip on his shoulder’.”

Aeon is a mixed-race teenager from an English suburb. He is desperate to understand the Black identity foisted on him by racist police, teachers, and ‘friends’. For want of Black role models, Aeon has immersed himself in gangsta rap, he’s trying to grow dreadlocks, and he’s bought himself some big red boots.

And now he’s in Jamaica. 

Within days of being in Jamaica, Aeon has been mugged and stabbed, arrested and banged up. 

Aeon has to fight for survival, fight for respect, and fight for his big red boots. And he has to fight for his identity because, here, Aeon is the White boy. 

I was drawn to read Locks by its wonderfully detailed cover art, before I knew anything about the novel itself, and the irony of this is not lost on me. Locks explores how much a person's self-identity can be determined by other people's views, and how those views are more often the result of shallow preconceptions rather than actual knowledge. Ashleigh Nugent used his own traumatic teenage visit to Jamaica as the basis for this novel and that authenticity shines through every page. There's a wonderful contrast between Nugent's thoughtful, almost poetic prose, and Aeon's frequently crass teenage mindset. The boy who flies to Jamaica at the beginning of this book is a very different person to the young man at its end so Locks can be read as a coming of age story as well as a fictionalised memoir.

I appreciated the social commentary on everyday Jamaican life and the understanding we get of why non-touristy Jamaica was so deprived. Historical similarities mean I could feel Locks reinforcing what I had witnessed in How The One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones and, although the two books are very different, I felt their stories as equally powerful commentaries on post-colonial neglect.

However, for all its serious themes and frequently grim locations, Locks is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining read. Aeon's behaviour and naivete did raise several chuckles and I loved how Nugent drew me so deeply into his story. In hindsight, I wish I had read this novel slower so it would have lasted me longer.

Meet the author   

Ashleigh Nugent has been published in academic journals, poetry anthologies, and magazines. His latest work, LOCKS, is based on a true story: the time he spent his 17th birthday in a Jamaican detention centre. LOCKS won the 2013 Commonword Memoir Competition and has had excerpts published by Writing on the Wall and in bido lito magazine. Ashleigh’s one-man-show, based on LOCKS, has won support from SLATE / Eclipse Theatre, and won a bursary from Live Theatre, Newcastle. The show has received rave audience reviews following showings in theatres and prisons throughout the UK. Ashleigh is also a director at RiseUp CiC, where he uses his own life experience, writing, and performance to support prisoners and inspire change. 

Author links: 

Search Literary Flits for more:

Books by Ashleigh Nugent / Historical fiction / Books from England

Monday 8 February 2021

The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola by Melissa Muldoon + #Giveaway

Join us for this tour from Feb 1 to Feb 26, 2021!

Book Details:

Book Title: The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola - the most famous woman you've never heard of by Melissa Muldoon
Category Adult Fiction (18+), 345 pages
Genre Historical Fiction, General Fiction
Publisher Matta Press
Release date December 2020
Content Rating: PG-13 + M. includes mature themes (suicide, adultery, sexual relations, murder)
Book Description:

Set in the sixteenth-century, The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola tells the story of a woman’s passion for painting and adventure. In a world where women painters had little to no acknowledgment, she was singled out by Michelangelo and Vasari who recognized and praised her talent. Gaining the Milanese elite’s acclaim, she went on to become court painter to Spanish King Philip II and taught his queen to paint.

One can’t live such an extraordinary life without having stories to tell, and tell them Sofonisba does to Sir Anthony Van Dyke, who comes to visit her toward the end of her life. During their meeting, she agrees to reveal her secrets but first challenges the younger painter to find the one lie hidden in her tale. In a saga filled with intrigue, jealousy, buried treasure, unrequited love, espionage, and murder, Sofonisba’s story is played out against the backdrop of Italy, Spain, and Sicily. Throughout her life, she encounters talented artists, authoritative dukes, mad princes, religious kings, spying queens, vivacious viscounts, and dashing sea captains—even a Barbary pirate. But of all the people who fell in love with Sofonisba, only one captured her heart. The painter may have many secrets but the truth of her life is crystal clear from the beginning.

Always a strong, passionate woman with a dream, she was an intelligent artist who knew her self-worth and in the end, as Michelangelo had done for her, Sofonisba passed her brush to a new generation.

 Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&NBookshop 
Autographed from Author
Add to Goodreads

You might also enjoy

I love discovering forgotten historical women, especially through reading fictionalised accounts of their lives. For some reason facts imparted through reading historical fiction seem to stick in my mind better than those from nonfiction books. Perhaps it is because I identify better with the emotional aspect of fictional writing which is often absent from straight biographies? In any case, I don't think I had heard of Sofonisba Anguissola prior to spotting Melissa Muldoon's new novel, even though the events described within this book are from the same era - and even involve many of the same people - as Francis I by Leonie Frieda and The Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone.

Sofonisba benefited from having an unusually (for the times) supportive father who, once he discovered her precocious artistic talents, did everything within his power to create and further a career for her. Muldoon begins by introducing readers to an elderly Sofonisba who, in telling her life story to a young visitor, also tells us. I was a bit disconcerted at the switch from first to third person point of view, but soon got back into the tale. Muldoon writes in an engaging style with authentic historical details to deepen the atmosphere. Her characters felt genuine, especially the eternally bickering sisters, but I also loved that the man who captures Sofonisba's heart has a wisp of magical realism about him. The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola is an entertaining portrait of a remarkable woman and I am grateful to Melissa Muldoon for bringing her out of obscurity so modern women such as myself can learn about her life and appreciate her surviving work.

Meet the Author:

Melissa Muldoon is the author of four novels set in Italy: Dreaming Sophia, Waking Isabella, Eternally Artemisia, and The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola. All four books tell the stories of women and their journeys of self-discovery to find love, uncover hidden truths, and follow their destinies to shape a better future for themselves.

Melissa is also the author of the Studentessa Matta website, where she promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog written in Italian and English ( Studentessa Matta means the “crazy linguist” and has grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per l’Italiano and the Studentessa Matta, YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram feed. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Programs, which she co-leads with Italian schools in Italy to learn Italian in Italy.

Through her website, she also offers the opportunities to live and study in Italy through Homestay programs. Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history, and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence. She is an artist, designer, and illustrated the cover art for all four of her books. Melissa is the managing director of Matta Press

Connect with the author:
  Website Facebook ~ Twitter ~Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

Tour Schedule:

Feb 1 - The Pen and Muse Book Reviews - spotlight of all 3 books / giveaway
Feb 1 - Sefina Hawke's Books - spotlight of all 3 books
Feb 2 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 2 - Books for Books - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 3 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Isabella / giveaway
Feb 3 - Books for Books - review of Isabella
​Feb 4 - I'm All About Books - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 5 - History from a Woman’s Perspective - review of Sofonisba 
Feb 8 - Olio by Marilyn - review of Sofonisba / author interview / giveaway
Feb 8 - Literary Flits - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 9 - History from a Woman’s Perspective - review of Artemisia
Feb 10 - Sadie's Spotlight - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 10 - Gwendalyn’s Books - review of Sofonisba / author interview / giveaway
Feb 11 - History from a Woman’s Perspective - review of Isabella
Feb 11 - Books for Books - review of Artemisia
Feb 12 - Book Corner News and Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 12 - Stephanie Jane - spotlight of all 3 books / giveaway
Feb 15 - Elizabeth McKenna - Author Blog - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 16 - Deborah-Zenha Adams - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 16 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Sofonisba / guest post / giveaway
Feb 17 - Gwendalyn’s Books - review of Isabella
Feb 17 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 17 - Splashes of Joy - spotlight of all 3 books / author interview / giveaway
Feb 18 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Isabella / giveaway
Feb 18 - Books and Zebras @jypsylynn - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 19 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Artemisia / giveaway
Feb 19 - 30-something Travel - review of Sofonisba / guest post / giveaway
Feb 19 - Books Lattes & Tiaras - review of Sofonisba
Feb 22 - Books Lattes & Tiaras - review of Isabella
Feb 22 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Isabella / giveaway
Feb 23 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Artemisia / giveaway
Feb 23 - Jazzy Book Reviews - spotlight of all 3 books / giveaway
Feb 24 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 25 - Olio by Marilyn - review of Artemisia / giveaway
Feb 26 - High Society Book Club & Reviews - review of Sofonisba + spotlight previous books / guest post / giveaway
Feb 26 - 30-something Travel - review of Isabella / giveaway
Feb 26 - Books Lattes & Tiaras - review of Artemisia

Enter the Giveaway:

Win a print or an audio copy of The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola. (3 winners). Open to the USA only until the 5th March.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Melissa Muldoon / Historical fiction / Books from America

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Nietzsche by Stefan Zweig

Nietzsche by Stefan Zweig
First published in German as one of a trilogy, Der Kampf mit dem Dämon: Hölderlin, Kleist, Nietzsche, in 1925. English language translation by Will Stone published by Pushkin Press in September 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this vivid biography, Zweig eschews traditional academic discussion and focuses on Nietzsche’s habits, passions and obsessions. Concentrating on the man rather than the work, on the tragedy of his existence and his apartness from the world in which he moved in enforced isolation, Zweig draws the reader inexorably into Nietzsche’s tragic life.

This edition is illustrated with numerous photographs relating to Nietzsche and his European locations, in a superb translation by Will Stone.

I think it's a safe bet to say that Stefan Zweig was quite the fan of Nietzsche! This novella-length work is less a biography in the accepted sense, although I did get to find out some of the facts of Nietzsche's life, and more an extended rapturous essay which frequently tips over into giddy fanboying. I hadn't got that idea of Zweig as an author from the previous book of his I read, a traditionally styled biography of Marie Antoinette, so I was entertained by it this time around. Zweig does have a flowery turn of phrase and loves showing off his vocabulary - 'dithyramb', anyone? I had to look it up! - and I loved the contrast of this obviously learned scholar being so effusive. Admittedly, it works better in this shorter format. I was starting to feel that the book had outstayed its welcome shortly before I came to the end.

Zweig focuses on Nietzsche in the incarnation of a tortured artist, rather than as a philosopher. He demonstrates how the great thinker differed from his contemporaries and predecessors within the German philosophy field - being bitchily dismissive of several famous names. I finished reading feeling that I hadn't really gained any particular insights into what Nietzsche thought, but I had a far greater understanding of how he did so and the physical malaises which drove him. I could also empathise with his minimalist peripatetic existence. I'm delighted to have discovered this unusual biography and hope Pushkin have published others in the series in equally as accessible English translations. 

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Stefan Zweig / Biography and memoir / Books from Austria

Monday 1 February 2021

Dying To Belong by Diane Mullins + #Giveaway


Join us for this tour from Jan 13 to Feb 2, 2021!

Book Details:

Book Title: Dying to Belong: How I Accidentally Found Myself by Diane Mullins
Category Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 178 pages
Genre Memoir
Publisher Funshine Publishing
Release date March 2020
Content Rating: PG-13 due to a few cuss words

Book Description:

As a very shy, meek, and insecure little girl, Diane Mullins grew up the youngest of seven children in an abusive family. Never shown or taught how to love or be loved, Diane grew up with no self-confidence or self-esteem. Who knew that it would take a near-fatal accident to help her find her way to self-love and spiritual freedom? In Dying to Belong, Diane shares her story that begins at the scene of a body- and spirit-crushing ATV accident. Forced to ride out of the wilderness area herself, she arrived at the hospital to discover broken bones, ruptured organs, and a punctured lung. She was literally on the doorstep of death. During the excruciating process of physical healing, Diane began exploring a spiritual journey that led to loving, accepting, and respecting herself. Diane learned the empowering lesson that by changing her thoughts and feelings, she has been able to live a life of freedom from negativity and pain.

Buy the Book:

Add to Goodreads

Dying To Belong is Diane Mullins motivational story of how she managed to completely turn around her life view and mental attitudes in the weeks following an almost fatal accident. When the ATV (all terrain vehicle) Diane was riding on crashed in pretty much the middle of nowhere, Diane and her husband, who was also injured, had to get themselves to miles a hospital which, they later learned, they only just managed to do in time to save Diane's life. Bedridden and incapacitated, this formerly very active businesswoman and sportswoman was forced to not only reassess her future life, but also to come to terms with her grief for the lifestyle she had lost.

What really came through to me from this memoir was Diane's honesty about her struggle and her sheer enthusiasm for the new path she has found. Sometimes I felt she let that enthusiasm run away with her as the book does jump about between subjects, occasionally becoming a little jumbled, but there is never any doubting Diane's joy at having this second chance at life and knowing exactly what she wants to use the rest of her years to do. Dying To Belong is as much about her new-found personal philosophy as about the accident which prompted it. I appreciated the references to thought-provoking books and other resources that are included, and that we also get an epilogue written some years later which shows the longevity of her ideas. Dying To Belong is written in an engaging, chatty style which helps to counter the awfulness of Diane's injuries. I enjoyed this opportunity to share in her journey back to health and to learn about the philosophy underpinning her efforts.

Meet the Author:

Diane Mullins has a master's degree in psychology from Grand Canyon University where she learned how to manage, inspire, and motivate people. She has spent most of her life working in private dental offices as a dental hygienist. Diane is a certified health/life coach, which has allowed her to help others with weight loss, setting goals, and motivation. Now as an author she tells her own story of a tragic accident that taught her things crucial to her own wellbeing and the possibility of helping others in a whole new way.

connect with the author:   website ~  facebook ~  instagram
Tour Schedule:

Jan 13 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 14 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 15 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 18 – I'm Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 19 – Westveil Publishing – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 20 – Cheryl's Book Nook – book review / giveaway
Jan 21 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
Jan 22 – Sadie's Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 25 – Splashes of Joy – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 26 – the bibliophilic world – book spotlight / guest post
Jan 26 - A Mama's Corner of the World – book review / giveaway
Jan 27 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 27 - Pine Enshrined Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 28 – Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 28 - Lisa Everyday Reads - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 29 – Laura's Interests – book review / giveaway
Feb 1 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Feb 2 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview
Feb 2 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:

Win an Autographed copy of DYING TO BELONG Plus $25 Amazon Gift Card (USA only) (1 winner) (ends Feb 9)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Diane Mullins / Biography and memoir / Books from America