Big Book Festival 2015

On 12-14 June there was an annual Big Book Festival in Warsaw. It started in 2013 (when I was still in Indonesia), but I’ve been taking part in the festival since 2014. As a volunteer. Being a volunteer is great, you get to know great people – other volunteers. 😉 Surprisingly, or not, mostly women.

This festival was different from the previous one – which was held in various places (single-themed) around the Warsaw (and even beyond). This time the festival was held in one place – in the city centre at Hoża 51. There was former cheese factory, but now it’s a good place for spending free time – either in cafe, on a boulder wall, in a gym or art gallery… or cooking.

Outdoor gallery at BBF 2015.
Big Book Festival 2015: Outdoor gallery of writers & their dogs photos.

The motto of the festival was: Człowiek nie pies i czytać musi (A human is not a dog and [thus] must read). The festival was international, there were writers from various countries (mostly European) and some of the meetings were held in Polish & English (simultaneous translation).

Among the writers were: Zadie Smith, Sofi Oksanen, Jeet Thayil, Elias Khoury and Danny Wattin. I could only enjoy the meetings with Sofi Oksanen and Danny Wattin.

Continue reading Big Book Festival 2015

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Sofi Oksanen

 “I strongly noticed that people my age have no knowledge or information about the Soviet era, no connection,” said Oksanen, who studied literature at the universities of Jyvaskyla and Helsinki, and drama at the Finnish Theatre Academy. “They are not interested in Soviets but are very interested in eating disorders, anxiety, sex trafficking and sex.

“In a way, my work forces remembrance that, like it or not, political discourse affects the life of the world, and we carry that weight for generations,” Oksanen said. “Everyone is scarred by the communists and Nazis — everyone, whether they know or acknowledge it.”

 Quoted from the Washington Post article (2011).
I’m currently reading Sofi Oksanen’s The Purge (Polish version titled Oczyszczenie). The author is coming soon for Big Book Festival (12-14.06) in Warsaw. I love the book. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it. At the end of April 2015, we got her second book in Polish – When the Doves Disappeared. I’m sure I’ll read it too.
Have you read a book by Sofi Oksanen? What is your opinion?

Worldly Literature in 2015: summary so far

Here will be a summary of books (sorted by author’s countries) that I read so far in 2015 and some that I have in my current pile. Feel free to comment, if you have some suggestions for books for me.

I have made two challenges: one is more Poland oriented (but nobody said you can’t read books/comics from other countries), one is about reading literature from across the world (Around the World: A to Z 2015).

I only read 19 books so far this year, so far (not counting comics) from 9 countries. Six more countries on my list. I owned only 2 books (e-books), the rest was borrowed from libraries. Continue reading to see the list and my short opinion on each book.

Continue reading Worldly Literature in 2015: summary so far

Eurovision 2014 2nd semi-final

On Thursday, 8th May 2014 there was a second semi-final of the Eurovision contest. 15 contestants, 10 went on to the Saturday’s final.

On Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 7 of the songs I counted on went to the final. On Thursday, 6 of my chosen songs went to the final. Including the song that I voted on.

My 6 songs in final

Malta

Firelight – Coming Home

Austria

Conchita Wurst – Rise Like a Phoenix

Finland

Softengine – Something Better

Switzerland

Sebalter – Hunter of Stars

I voted for them!

Slovenia

Tinkara Kovač – Round and round

Romania

Paula Seling & OVI – Miracle

The other 4

Israel

Mei Finegold – Same Heart

Georgia

The Shin and Mariko – Three Minutes to Earth

Lithuania

Vilija Matačiūnaitė – Attention

Ireland

Can-Linn (ft. Kasey Smith) – Heartbeat

All the rest

Polish song  of Donatan & Cleo – My Słowianie – We Are Slavic got to the final. I’m Polish, I should be happy, right? I’m not… see a video.

However they’re trying to explain “it’s just a joke” and “it’s a laugh on stereotypes of Polish” I can’t just accept that. They are rather further spreading the stereotypes. I wouldn’t vote for them even if I could. What do you think about this song and music video?

The others that got to the Saturday final: Norway, Greece and Belarus.

The unmentioned yet: Macedonia. Definitely the worst song (singer) in this semi-final.

 

Did the song you vote for got to the Saturday final? Who did you vote for? Do you have your Saturday favourite or not yet?