Since Sándor Márai, many great authors have been born in Košice. In fact, you could say that most have been born here relative to population size in Slovakia. Let’s take a look at a selection of ten books, which we highly recommend reading in April.
1. Daniel Liška – Jakoby – Retrospective
(Artforum Košice, 2020)
What is more tied to Košice than Július Jakoby? So we start with the book Retrospective, which is the publishing debut of Košice’s Artforum and was compiled by Daniel Liška. The book is full of reproductions of paintings and interviews with the legendary painter. In addition to its excellent visual side, it is a pleasure to read interviews with the artist, who always walks through Alžbetina Street, similarly to his statute. As you read it, you will feel like Gyula Bácsi has invited you for coffee at his atelier, and you are talking to him about his rich life. No wonder the book won the most prestigious literary award, the Dominika Tatarka Award.
The publication Jakoby – Retrospektive should not be missing in the library of any lover of fine arts and, in fact, no Košice citizen.
2. Jana Bodnárová – Skin
One of the most prominent personalities of Slovak literature and a fashion icon of our city tells a delicate but at times raw story about adolescence, femininity, savagery, and art. The story of the fictional K. coincides with the biography of the painter Paula Backer. So the book is not only a novel but also a unique time travel experience, in which we can follow the fates of these two kindred spirits. The book reveals a lot to us about the mind, emotions, and corporeality of a maturing woman, a maturing artist, and a maturing interwar Europe full of new ways of thinking. The story of the mysterious K. paired together with excellent photographs by Pavlína Fichta Čierna can be appreciated not only by fans of women’s literature.
3. Marek Vadas – Bad Neighborhood
(KK Bagala, 2018)
In the midst of bad weather and pandemic, we probably miss traveling and warm temperatures the most. The Bad Neighborhood by Marek Vadas brings a bit of the African sun to our daily lives. You can read a book full of short stories inspired by the style of African storytelling right where you opened it, and it will bring you a little sun, humor, Cameroonian sarcasm, and exoticism while you continue to wait for the restrictions to be released.
The book is ideal for everyone interested in other cultures and likes to travel, even if only with their finger on the map.
4. Daniel Pastirčák, Rudolf Prekop – Forbidden Exhibition 77
(Modrý Peter, 2020)
There has been an infinite amount written about Havel, Patoček, Mirek Vodrážek and the Placák brothers. These Chartists, who brought freedom when it seemed impossible, certainly deserve our respect, but we must not forget the dissents in our country. The Forbidden Exhibition 77 is a book as if teleported from one of the turning points of our history. Photographs, memories, samizdat texts or images – all of this will take you to a time when it was a crime to express your opinion, even through a poem or picture, and we will meet a great group of people who have done it despite it all.
If police bothered you under that regime, buy this book to remember the sweet taste of freedom. If you haven’t experienced that regime, buy it out of respect for it…
5. Nile – Introduction
I have a friend who fell so in love with the poems of the author of this book that she wished to meet him for her birthday. Erik Jakub Groch is a real poet, and his small collection of poems called Introduction is the essence of poetry. You can take it with you to a tram, train, put it in your shirt pocket, and read a poem or verse from it whenever you want to dream a little. We highly recommend it to all young poets and students who have been fascinated by literature, but they don’t have money to spend. The Introduction booklet is a bit of light you can carry in your pockets.
6. Alexandra Pavelková – Four Muscateers
If you are looking for an original and beautiful book for your preschool children, the Four Muscateers is a perfect choice. The book about four naughty cats is fun, informative, and unique because the author was inspired to write it by her cats. As the only book on this list, it was not written by Košice’s resident, but it was illustrated by the great designer Ľudka Žoldáková, and its pictures are what brings the stories of cats to life. The visual side of the book is as playful as its literary content, and the kids will enjoy a lot of fun drawing cats or just looking at pictures. The adventures of muscateers can be an excellent excuse for getting children to bed to find out what will happen next …
7. John Milton – Lost Paradise
(Modrý Peter, 2020)
(Modrý Peter, 2020)The Lost Paradise is an English national epic and a classic work of world literature, which we managed to translate into Slovak only after three hundred and fifty-two years. An endless poem tells the story of the war in heaven, original sin, good and bad. The glory of the poem was brought, among other things, by the figure of Satan, who reveals his bitterness, motives, and determination to bring more and more evil, sin, and death into the world. Prof. Marián Andričík, the Vice-dean for Scientific Research and Doctoral Studies at the Faculty of Arts at Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, perfectly translated the work. In addition to extensive remarks, he also added a verbatim that will help us better understand Milton’s personality and situation. Illustrations by William Blake that complement the book are a true gem. Every educated person will surely fall in love with Lost Paradise or anyone interested in the topic of good and evil and the Christian polemic.
8. Arpád Šoltés – Meat
Back then in the east is the subtitle of the novel by Arpád Šoltés wrapped at first glance in a newspaper paper. The author moves on the border between fact and fiction and describes how it worked here in the late 1990s. The book is not just an Eastern version of English is Easy, Csaba is Dead or Rivers of Babylon. It is a statement about our recent past and the world we have hopefully outgrown as a society. Meat is truly meat, and it is not for the faint of heart. But if you are a fan of expressive language, chills, and mafia themes, you can’t choose better.
9. Author collective – Košice Legends and Myths
Milan Kolcun is undoubtedly known to our readers. Košice Legends and Myths were also published as part of his wandering publications. In the small book, you will find nineteen legends that may change your view of our city. Each person author from the Czech-Slovak-Hungarian collective brings a different perspective, atmosphere, and story about Košice. The diversity of topics and moods only confirms the character of Košice as a multicultural city. Read unknown stories about famous streets and wander through the city of Košice as if you didn’t know it. For walking through time and fantasy world.
Andrea Petrovčinová – Invisible Stories
The book Invisible Stories subtitled 73 people who make the east of Slovakia a better place to live is a set of interviews with exceptional people from different spheres who stayed in eastern Slovakia and got it on the world map. Each interview is accompanied by several photos so that you can meet the 73 heroes of our region almost in person. The book is proof that there is something in the East! It can serve as a great motivation and inspiration or just as a platform to get to know exceptional people you may not have even known about.
We thank Artforum in Košice for providing us with space and lending books.