Beginning Again: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

It’s very late tonight, approaching tomorrow actually, and I am luxuriating in the quiet of a house which has been cleaned throughout the day and is now resting. As I am.
How lovely it is to take this book down from the shelf, to find its pages yellowed since I last read it in what? 2006? I can’t remember, but I remembered how much I loved it then, and I shiver to discover how much I am loving it now.
There is something about the narrator which resonates with me. Not that I went to an international school, or that my father was a diplomat, or that I discovered an old book on the top shelf of his library with mysterious personal letters tucked inside.
No, it is the odd little phrase which makes me catch my breath, such as this one: “I preferred solitude anyway; it was the medium in which I had been raised, in which I swam comfortably.” (p. 4)
It is precisely the sort of book I adore, one with an eerie aura and a heroine after my own heart. 
It promises to be a wonderful night ahead.

Reading with The Estella Society from September 1 through October 14.

35 thoughts on “Beginning Again: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova”

  1. I read (or listened to) The Swan Thieves (was that the title), but I've heard so many good things about this book now… I love the idea of your house resting, and you resting with it. 🙂


  2. Col, I can't. Elaine you were able to read some of the actual text from my darkened photograph! Imagine how wonderful it is illuminated while you sit in your favorite chair.

    Thanks for liking the new header. It isn't by Nina Leen, but I do like the black and white of an Italian woman enjoying her afternoon.


  3. I bought The Swan Thieves, in hardcover, after finishing The Historian because I liked Kostova's writing so much. Yet I've not read it, only her first book. I can't recommend The Historian enough, and now is the perfect time to read it with The Estella Society who is hosting a group read from September 1 through October 14.


  4. It's wonderful to find a book like that – one that you can read a second time, only to find that you love it just as much as you did the first time, if not more.

    Also, can I just say that I like your new header?


  5. I have a friend who said she never rereads a book because she has so many as yet unread. But I like the books I like so much that they neve fail to disappoint me the second time around.

    Glad you like the new header!


  6. I have yet to read this novel, but you may have convinced me to ignore the books I have stacked on my nightstand for my fall reading and quickly purchase a copy of the book! Anything you love enough to read twice is surely to be a winner, right?

    I do so love your new header!


  7. This is one of my favourite books. It's been years since I've read this and I gave up my copy when I moved. It looks like I will be trying to find myself my own copy because your snippet reminded me why I loved this book so much. Happy reading!


  8. Clean and quiet houses are the best! The only problem is getting there; I hate giving up my Saturday to cleaning. Which I do every week because I hate dirt worse. 🙂

    This header seems o be a keeper!


  9. I've given away books and then lived to regret it. Perhaps this is one which could stay on our shelves permanently. I'd like it for me Nook, though, as it is a bit cumbersome. There, an excuse to buy another copy!


  10. Wonderful to know that you are enjoying re-reading 'The Historian', Bellezza. I also read it in 2006, I think. I loved it when I read it. For some reason I still remember one scene where the heroine and her father are sitting inside a cafe in Budapest and it is raining heavily outside. I remember liking that scene very much. I would love to re-read this book someday. Happy reading! Will look forward to hearing your thoughts


  11. I've yet to read The Historian but I disliked The Swan Thieves so much that it left a bad taste in my mouth, although the writing was lovely. Not sure I'll ever get around to The Historian but I'm glad you loved it enough to reread! I'm considering a reread of Jane Eyre, soon. Right now, though, I'm doing what you're doing — stepping away from ARCs and reading what I feel like. At the moment, that happens to be a combination of a 1960s thriller (Ice Station Zebra), the history of one of my favorite places in England (Prehistoric Avebury) and a book on word play.

    I must have read your post about changing your hair color from the iPad, since I didn't comment. For days, I've been wondering who it was that said she was going from brunette to blonde, haha. How did it turn out? I need to get my hair highlighted. I'm yucky old dishwater blonde, right now. Blah.


  12. Vishy, I know what you mean about the scene(s) with her father in Eastern Europe. Each one makes me want to sit at their table! I get so lonesome for Europe, for its beauty and history and simplicity. It's really great to reread this book, and I'm glad you know of which I speak.


  13. Hmmm, I wonder if I'll feel the same way about The Swan Thieves. Probably, once I get around to easing it. I can see rereading Jane Eyre. Those classics so rarely disappoint us.

    Hair. Well, mine is only lighter by necessity, not choice. Although I Havel admit as I ageist looks better lighter than darker. I suppose dark only emphasizes shadows. 🙂


  14. Bellezza,

    You make so many books sound wonderful…such perfectly poetic posts…

    I have a friend who makes a point of re-reading Pride and Prejudice every year, at a particular time…I like the idea of that too…

    By the way, I enjoyed reading the last few posts (this one included). You're making me want to read, buy lipstick, and if I wore perfume I'd be buying it after reading one of your previous posts….

    So…now I have another author and book to add to my list! 🙂 Glad to hear you are picking just what you want to do and reading just what you want in your free time….


  15. Thank you for the sweet words in your comment! It is my desire to bring the things that I love to other's attention so that they can enjoy them, too. I've tried just a out every red lipstick known to man, so if you want any input I'm glad to help. 😉 and hopefully,the books I read and review speak for themselves.


  16. I just have to finish my current read and then I can dive once again into The Historian. I truly hope that I have the same experience as you and get to fully enjoy it for the second time. I can't remember much of it at this point so it will almost be like reading it again for the first time (except that I already remember loving it!).


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