Thursday 23 June 2016

Blog Tour: Following Evan by Elida May

I am excited to welcome Elida May to the blog - her first novel Following Evan was released on the 16th June.

Top Bookish Inspirations

I grew up in Communist-ruled Albania, where access to books was restricted. This, of course, was all the encouragement I needed to read as much as I could get my hands on. Publications that did not idolize the communist regime were blacklisted and penalties for possessing them were severe. But that didn't stop us. As soon as a copy of a new book arrived in the country we rapidly read it and passed it around our friends. Thank you to our dictator for that! I can recall reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Many books were translated into Albanian and written down by hand, as there was no public access to printers or photocopiers.
Having a busy imagination, I found comfort in escaping into the fantasy of books. I read all genres that passed under my nose. Some of the books that left a mark on me when I was young include Three Comrades by the German author, Erich Maria Remarque. It's a remarkable story about friendship and love. I never wanted the story to end, and I recall being angry with the author for choosing death for one of the protagonists of the story. The characters of the book became my friends and I talked to them in my head. The novel, Spark of Life, was written by the same author. I can vividly recall the first scene of the book, which involves the prisoner 509 - a living corpse who has been imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp for a decade. After reading it I had trouble sleeping for days. I just couldn't get over how cruel and bizarre the human race can be.
I would also like to mention Filumena Marturano, by the Italian writer and actor Eduardo De Filippo. When I was studying drama, I chose one of Filumena's monologues for an assignment. The image of her in a very depressed state, while holding her baby and expressing the love for her children made tears fall down my cheeks.
More recently, I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I loved the story and avidly followed its twists and turns from beginning to end. Even now, when I travel by train, scenes from the book appear in my head and I look out of the window just in case I see something unusual. Because I am such a book lover, every book I read changes my perspective on life a little. 

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