Four things for a sunday

I ve seen this Meme on thomas at my porch and Amy reads so had a think and have  choosen my choices –

Four jobs I ve had in my life –

  1. Barman – worked in a busy pub when I was 18 ,great fun at the time .
  2. packing person – I work in a german factory packing things ,it was boring but great fun as co workers mainly students and refugees so wonderful banter .
  3. bike repair man – this also in germany in a charity workshop ,learnt how to fix a bicycle .
  4. support worker – current job I love it ,great to see what good we can do for the people we support .

Four books I would read over and over –

  1. Ring of Saturn W G Sebald – A book that gives every time you read it .
  2. Ulysses by James Joyce – I feel I could read this a hundred times and still not get fully !
  3. The complete Holmes – I read a bit of him every few week a short story here and there ,I watch the films all time ,just love Holmes .
  4. Don Quixote by Cervantes – a book for sure I m going to reread over the years .

Four places I ve lived –

1.Poyton where I grew up til early teens a small village on edge of peak district

2.Alnwick – famous for its castle featured in Harry potter films and its home to barter books one of the UK largest secondhand bookshops which opened whilst I lived there .My flat was just behind the castle on the non pretty side .

3.Kleve – home of anne of Cleves and the german artist Joseph Beuys ,a pretty town centre and great market .

4.Chesterfield where I live now is a wonderful market town and living two mins walk from work is wonderful .

Four books I would recommend –

1.Underworld by  Don DeLillo  – a wonderful insight into 20th century america .

2.Suitable boy by Vikram Seth – like underworld but about india and four families there .

3.Fado by Andrzej Stasiuk – A journey round eastern europe post communism .

4.The plague by Albert Camus – The full spectrum of human life in this book .

Four places I ve been –

1.Donegal – I stayed in a thatched cottage with family ,my dad goes back every year or two. A peaceful place with great cliffs and wonderful beaches .

2.Torquay – spent my honeymoon with the lovely Amanda here .

3.Elie – spent my youth here on beaches ,walking playing sport with my younger brother at our grans

4.portugal – I love the place been once want go again !

Four favourite foods –

1.hand made pasta in a simple tomato sauce – mmm

2.soda bread – toast with cheese on .

3.wheaten bread with jam .

4.salmon with a nice salsa .

Four favourite drinks – – dark with out milk ,most of all double espresso with a good creme on top .

2.Jaipur IPA – a local brewed beer to me ,easy tasting but very strong .

3.ravenswood lodi – a mid price red wine from old vines ,wonderful flavours .

4.colheita -Andresen is brand I ve drunk in past ,a gift from my younger brother .

Four places I d rather be right now –

1- nowhere at home with Amanda at moment best place to be .

2. Elie – A place full of happy memories for me .

3.Torquay – same as Elie our honeymoon . a bookshop .

Four thing special in my life –

1. Amanda – most important thing in my life .

2. Family – got some great family .

3 . Winston  – he is a one-off and may be naughty some times but love him all the same .

4. My job – every day we help people we support ,help them achieve the best they can.

5 . Books – a fifth thing they are important but family is more so !

Thanks what would you choose 


The rest is silence by Carla Guelfenbein

Source – review copy from portobello

Carla escaped the Pinochet regime and lived in england as an exile with her parents from the mid seventies til late eighties ,on her return to Santiago she worked in advertising end up on ELLE magazine as the art director and editor ,she has written three novels ,this is her first to be translated to english .She is considered in her native Chile one of the most important writers of the 21st century .

Now before I start ,I want to say something ,If you like or loved extremely loud and incredibly close well ,this is the book for you ,I m always saying for every book in english there is an equal or more interesting book in translation .the similarities to ELIC  are this Tommy the main character in this book has lost a parent ,and has also not been told the full story of what happened ,like ELIC  this book is littered with photos and drawings relating to the story,it differs that this is a personal disaster where as ELIC was the aftermath of 9/11 .So book starts when young tommy a 12-year-old records a conversation at a family wedding ,listening back on his MP3 he discovers his mother committed suicide and didn’t die of a sickness as he thought ,he is shocked by this news and decides to find out what happened to her ,meanwhile his father Juan’s current marriage is falling apart ,his stepmother Alma is drawn towards an old flame as she feels Juan is withdrawing into himself for some reason ,so we see all the family drawn in different ways as they stand on the brink of a break up  and Tommy finding out more about what happen to his mother via family and friends  ,also a lot about his father .This is a touching and sad book at times it shows what problems dark secrets can cause in a family .Tommy is a wonderfully written character a typical 12-year-old on the verge of adulthood but still a child in so many ways ,he stumbles at times finding out the full picture of his mother Soledad death .

The elephant is quiet for a second ,then says “Soledad didn’t die of an illness .She committed suicide .”

“Didn’t she have an aneurysm ?”

“That’s what they told everyone to avoid scandal ,but Soledad committed suicide .I know it for a fact ”

I feel a pain in my chest the recorder slips out of my hand and bangs on the ground .Mama got sick when I was three  .she got sick all of a sudden ,they told me ,and the she was gone .

Tommy find out what happened to his mother Soledad .

This shows what happens when a son is left out ,a father thinks more of himself and a step mother has her eye drawn to an old admirer .Katherine Silver has tackled this book with real subtle touches a book like this with extra bits apart from the text is a hard work to translated and she has done this well .May I also say I love the cover from Portobello a very tactile and pretty cover befitting the book .

Do you like books with a child as the main narrator ?

What is your favourite Chilean novel ? 

The anatomy of a moment by Javier Cercas

Source – library

Javier Cercas is probably the best writer in Spain at the moment he has had a number of great novels translated to english his most well-known been soldiers of Salamis a former IFFP prize winner for him and the translator Anne Maclean ,he lived in america teaching spanish literature in 80’s and 90’s and now teaches in Girona at the university .

I choose the video as that is what the book is about ,the 23 February 1981 ,Antonio Terjero burst into the spanish parliament building (Cortes).Firing shots in the air with his fellow coup members .all but three deputies fell to the ground three men bravely stood and faced him off .Javier has taken this event the last coup in  mainland western europe and written well not sure to call it a docu novel or a narrative non fiction ,but whatever this book is so well researched and absorbing I for one didn’t know a lot about 23F (as the spanish now call it ) ,I remember the world cup the year after but can’t remember this being mentioned during that .So I was gripped find out about the characters in the coup how post Franco things had been smoothed over but underneath a plot was simmering amongst the old hardliners ,about the three brave men the stood General Mellado ,he was a former Francoist ,but had taken part in post Franco reforms ,the out going president Adolfo Suarez he was an interim man after his resignation the job passing to a more left leaning leader and this Cortes was here for a handover of power .Santiago Carnilla the communist leader who sat and calmly light a cigarette a man who had lived in exile in Francos time .

with the exception of the 23 february coup – of which it was actually a basic ingredient – no event in recent spanish history had unleashed as much speculation as Adolfo Suarez resignation ;however , of all the enigmas of 23 February this maybe the least enigmatic might be Adolfo suarez\ resignation .although its impossible to exhaust the reasons that triggered it ,

Suarez resignation on the 25th january had help the coup in a way .

This book is gripping and eye-opening ,as someone with a vague knowledge of spanish politics and the fact that it had struggled post franco until PSOE goverment  and how Spain had coped post Franco in its change to democracy ,we are told about Suarez who won in 1979 and started the ball of reforms rolling ,but like everything change is a hard pill for some people to swallow and thus two years later the storming of the Cortes and over events unfold around spain .The Kings role in this event is shown to be vital who will he support ? I remember being Amazed at PSOE (spanish socialists )celebrations when in spain as a kid during the elections cars and trucks with people shouting hooting horns and airhorns ,but now as it was only a few years after this that clear joy of people became clear in my mind .Cercas has help open a crucial event in Spain history to the everyman like myself ,the book reads like a novel but a glance at the bibliography and notes show the research he put into this book .Anne Maclean is outstanding in her translation as ever she is .



April round up

Another month flown by here ,been very busy on other things had ball for work also a funeral which was a upsetting event .On a happier note had family visit ,well what did I read ?

  1. Kamachatka by Marcelo Figureas .
  2. I curse the river by Per Peterson
  3. The sickness by Alberto Barrera Tyszka.
  4. The museum of innocecne by Orhan Pamuk.
  5. The secret history of Costaguana by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
  6. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad.
  7. The anatomy of a moment by Javier Cercas .
  8. Tiger wife by Tea Obreht .
  9. the rest is silence by Carla Golfenbein .
  10. Kye by Lukas Tomin.

I spent lot time in latin america last month with 5 books of the ten connected to latin america ,My favourite was Kamatchatka .

as for year totals

books read in 2011 -41 books – little behind last year but not that worried had lot on this month .

Plans for may –

I ve a number of library books that are near renewal end so need to read them ,also a couple more from iffp shortlist to read .

What plans have you got for may reading wise ?

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