100,000 hits passed

Early this morning the stats on the bloog passed 100,000 views ,this is a huge goal post I remember when I first started blogging and seeing Rob of rob around books mention his blog passing a 100,000 and think that will never happen to me if it does it will be a long time well here it is passed unfortunately I ve not a bobble head Poe like Rob ,but sure winston will be a great replacement as it is the blog named after him .Also on stats ,I lll hit 500 posts ,5000 comments and 200 reviews in the next few months so I ll tell you rather than more posts .

Many thanks from Stu and Winston for visiting winstonsdad 

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Winstons books

Been a while since I posted some books that have arrived at Winston towers ,well last week I had five books arrive ,although to be truthful two had been at post office for a number of days but postman hadn’t let me know luckily Simon from the post office three door down from me manage to grab me and tell me they’d been left there .so here are the books –

The books are –

The milk man in the night by Andrey Kurkov – this is the latest offering from th Ukrainian writer ,a satire a man keeps disappearing every night so hires some one to follow him and report back ,with shocking results .I loved death and the penguin by him and have read 50 pages so far and loving it .

The manual of darkness by Enrique De HÉriz  – this is one of Frank Wynne’s latest translations .We follow Victor Losa a magician he is in the middle of an act when he loses his vision ,this sends him on a journey into the past and discovering more about Peter Grouse a famous pickpocket who challenge the famous Victorian magicians to see who was best among them .I m looking forward to this another great Spanish writer by the look of it .

River of shadows by Valerio Varesi – I was sent the paperback by Machlehose books ,but had reviewed the hardback last year here is my review ,if you ,like  you crime tinged with the past this is the book for you .

Killed at the whim of a hat by Colin Cotterill – we follow Jimm Jureee a crime reporter as he tries to find  who killed two skeletons that have been discovered they ve been dead for thirty years and one of them is wearing a hat .I must admit I may have put this to one side as it isn’t a translation but  I like the cover and the story sounds great as well .

 

ANd last but no means least

Maybe this time by Alois Hotschnig – now the arrival of a new Peirene is alway a treat and here it is number six from the nymph and her girls ,a collection of short stories this time from one of the most well-known writers in Austria ,stories include a man lured into a house where he finds a doll that looks like him .His works have been compared to the late great Thomas Bernhard which is praise indeed .

Which of these books would you enjoy ?

Tintin the movie I cant wait

Well its not really book related but many people forget Tintin is actually Belgium  .But I ve been watching this for a couple of weeks the trailer for the new live action film from Steven Speilberg and produced by Peter Jackson .

I also found this one using same words but the old cartoon verison of Tintin

just wanted to share it with every one .Any one else a Tintin fan ?

Half blood blues by Esi Edugyan

half blood blues

Source – review copy from Serpents tail

Esi Edugyan is a Canadian writer she grew up in Calgary ,she studied at university of victoria and John Hopkins her short stories have been in a number of anthologies over the last few years  .This is her second novel .The book has been on Book at bedtime in uk and was just named on the Man Booker long list for 2011 .

I ll ask you a question you ever wondered what happened to the jazz musicians you see in cabaret or read about in the Isherwood Berlin novels ? .Well if you have this is the book for you ,it follows a group of jazz musicians in pre war berlin then in Paris as the german army heads to there .so we meet Hieronymus Falk a Black German jazz musician ,Sid,chip and Delilah  his band mates ,the story has two strands the first the story in the late thirties and forties firstly in berlin then in Paris as the band try to escape the Germany army .The second strand of the story   is Sid and Chip returning to German well Berlin actually  and then Poland in the nineties to try to find out about the old band mate Hiero  ,he was the one that was left behind as he was arrested just as  the others from the band got visa’s and managed to escape the clutches of the German army .We see the tensions with in this group of friends as the all have different ways of copying with fear of getting caught by the German army as they descend on the french capital .In the nineties Sid and Chip relive the past and what happened in the first place ,this leads to old wounds being opened and in the end a wonderful twist in the tale .If you like WW2 stories or Jazz music this book will appeal to you .

It  was the four of us living here.Delilah , Hieronymus , Chip and me .Couple months before we’d spent the day nailing black sheets across the flat’s window ,but damm if that grim sun didn’t flood through anyway .The rooms felt to stale to sober up in . We needed to sweat it out in the fresh air get our heads about us .Ain’t been no breeze in weeks .

Sid talking about the gang living in berlin .

I enjoyed this book ,I like little corners of  World war two ,like this one and until I read it I never really thought about the musicians you read about in the Isherwood’s  Berlin novels in them they were just mention Esi has focused on them ,another thing I rather daftly didn’t think about was there were black German citizens in the thirties in Germany .I enjoyed the interaction of the three main characters ,the book slowly build the tension of  the german army arriving ,and the later story shows how when time has passed we are willing to open up .So is this a book worthy of the book list ,well in my humble opinion yes it is in some ways it has classic traits of a booker book so I can see this hopefully making the shortlist .

Have you read this book ?

Winstons coffee and Muffins

So as I said with Winston’s covers as this week’s chaos descended in the UK,every night watchingthe news and seeing  the youth of this country go on the rampage I turned to a book first Dart by Alice Oswald and then after reading about a river ,I wanted to read a book about being on a river  and grab my vintage classic copy of Jerome K Jerome’s Three men in a boat ,so I read about a peaceful english life of drift don the Thames on a boat with two  friends and a slightly mad dog (sure Winston would love to go on a boat ,saying that he loves the water ).A different world of simple joys ,the book is very pretty as well as it has illustrations by the british comedian Vic Reeves.

I found this an escape from our current situation .So this is the question

what do you do in times of trouble ?

have you a place in books you feel safe ?

 

 

The New Moscow Philosophy by Vyacheslav Pyetsukh

Source- Review copy

Translator – Krystyna Anna Steiger

Vyacheslav Pyetsuka is a Russian writer ,he is a trained historian ,he taught  russian and world history until the avant grade nature of his fiction lead to him losing his job ,he has since published numerous books in Russia ,and has had a number of his short stories translated ,notably in the new russian writing collection from Penguin .This book came out in Russia in 1989 and is new from Twisted spoon the czech based publisher .

The novel is set over course of a weekend and we follow it from friday to monday as the members of a collective household in Moscow gather and discuss what happened to the old women that had a flat in the building and who will get the space that is now free she isn’t there any more this book has echo’s of crime and punishment by Dostoyevsky ,like that book there is a large cast of people involved in the story telling process fourteen in all .The book is like a russian doll it becomes more and more as we move along we find out that the disappearance of  Alexandra Sergeyevena Pumpianskaya (don’t you just love that name ) may have more too it than first thought ,hence the echo to C&P was this a murder ,well we never know this isn’t a crime book it is a book about russian life ,art and philosophy as the tenants talk we see the previous hundred year of russian life and art mention in snippets .

Though it may seem speculative at first if not futile, investigating the relationship between life and what we call literature would be useful at this point .The relationship in question is extremely abtrusive undertaking, but is tempting  to try nonetheless .First it’s tempting to ascertain to what degree literature is a game and to what a book of fates , a textbook of life .

The opening of the second part “saturday”

Now this book is a must for any Russian lit fan ,as follows of this blog know I m russian lit light my self  but slowly working on this ,so I found this a book that sent me rushing to google at times to find out about this and that as I went a long ,so it gave me more of a passion to discover more russian Literature old and new and any book that makes you do that is always worth picking up .I think the other echo with C&P is the time when C&P was written Russia was a land of uncertain futures and this book in 1989 is the same this is just the time the new age of russia was happening .We also see how important space and station can be in a large city as the people in the building argue over this vacant space .all this and a lengthy discourse between two of them on the nature of what is evil .I must say the translator Krystyna Anna Steiger ,has manage to keep together what is a complex and mutlilayered book ,still hugely readable in English .

Have you a favourite new russian writer ?

Winstons covers – dart by alice oswald

 

A  new feature ,in which I feature a pretty book cover or a book that is linked in some way to something that is happening in the world .I ve loads of books so never short of a cover to take a picture of one.This collection I love it is ilustrated by Jonathan Gibbs

So I start here with Dart from Alice Oswald I won this as a set of six poetry first books from Faber from Nonsuch books last year ,as the riots we raging on the tv the other night I decided to find solace in some nature poetry and choose this to read at 48 pages long it took less than two hours to read .It won the T S Eliot award in 2002 .Oswald spent a number of months on the river talking to people who use the river dart which the poem is about .

woodman working into twilight

you should se me in the moonlight

comb my cataract of hair,

at work all night on my desire 

Oh I could sing Hylas,

how the water wooed him senseless,

I could sing the welded kiss

continuous of Salmacis 

Alice Oswald 

Vox by Nicholson Baker

Vox by nicholson baker

source – review copy

I was very lucky to get sent the four new reissues from Granta of Bakers work which is good as I ve only read a couple of his book .Nicholson Baker is an american writer he writes both fiction and non fiction and is known for stream of consciousness writing and his voyeuristic style at times ,he got a ba in philosophy from Haverford college .

Vox was Nicholson’s fourth book and was published in 1991 ,the book is a shortish novel at only 167 pages long .the book focuses on two characters that are on the telephone on a telephone chat line ,they decide to go to a private room to chat one to one ,the book is that one to one chat ,things start slowly then as the two open up the conversation and subjects get sexier and sexier ,as they talk about their encounters and dreams .This is  not a story if you turn red at steamy scenes on tv as it goes into close details of what they want to do in the bedroom ,so as we find out what Jim and Abbey like we feel a bit like a voyeur or an old stasis agent listening into something private that maybe we shouldn’t be listen to but can’t hang up and in a way its the same for Abbey and Jim as they’re paying a lot for doing this as it is a charging chat line there on .

“what are you wearing ?” he asked.

she said “I m wearing a white shirt with little stars,green and black stars ,on it ,black pants ,and socks the colour of the green stars ,and a pair of black sneakers I got for nine dollars .”

“what are you doing ?”

“I m lying on my bed ,which is made .That’s unusual thing .I made my bed this morning .A  few months ago my mother gave me a chenille bedspread,exactly the kind we used to have ,and I felt bad that it was still folded up unused and this morning I finally made the bed with it ”

The opening of the book and you jump in the middle of the conversation

As you can see Baker’s style is a little different to many writers you don’t get any intro ,no here you jump straight in .So what did I think I loved it ,ok at times the sex scenes described are very sexy and made me go red but it is a book you just want to keep reading like being on the bus and sat behind people as there having a juicy conversation about people you don’t know but you just want to sit there and catch it even if you miss your stop .The book is also more famous for supposedly being the book a Monica gave a very famous Bill ,now if that story is true I had no doubt Bill knew what was on Monica’s mind after reading this book it wouldn’t be a book you’d give to the other sex without expecting a reaction  from the person you had given the book too .the book has a wonderful new cover from Village green design that have done the four new covers for these books .

400,000 likes for I hate reading on facebook

how unbelievable there is that many people who don’t want to find the joy of books and reading absolutely shocking ,this comes from a face book page title I hate reading ,how sad that is ! .there are 400,00 plus people out there that miss out on the joy of book .There is a move into using text speak and shorten words by a section of the public out there ,that seem to have not interest or joy in the spoken or written words instead opting for some slang language that will keep them from  moving on in life .What is even sadder is the pages for I love reading has 97,000 likes 😦 .How do we pass the joy of books on?

thanks to Joe the publicist for pointing this out yesterday on twitter

BBAW 2011

Well I am a funny soul only last week ,I said I didn’t want to do much with book blogger appreciation weeK on twitter ,but must say who ever runs bbaw twitter needs to reply to people numerous mentions and no reply !! that does annoy  but as they say a week is a long time in politics in my mind its a lifetime now I want to take full part I may not want to be a part of a certain type of blogging but want meet new bloggers and learn about blogging more and BBAW can help with that  .so if you like my little blog nominate me if not don’t lol .I hope to maybe find some new blogs and also get some fresh ideas for the blog of late I ve seem to have got stuck in the mud in my head I need something to spark the blog of again so maybe BBAW will help me get some spark back in the blog .That and the return of my favourite blogger rob of robaround books should see the old dog rise again .I ve nominated already I ve told people I’ve nominate already .

so have fun and as a publicist said on twitter today #ilovereading  and I do

good luck all and hi to any new people I meet ,

stu and Winston the dog .

 

 

 

 

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