Frank Wynne interviews winstonsdad B.B.A.W SWAP

I wanted to do something different for interview swap so I decided to get the prize-winning translator Frank “terrible man ” Wynne to interview me as I felt he would ask questions to give a deeper insight into me and the blog than a straight forward swap with another blog
1.What is the first book you can remember being profoundly moved by?
oh a tough one as a kid I loved Abel’s island by William Steig a mouse stuck on an island and Charlotte’s web they showed me how powerful emotion can be in books .I remember as a young teen trying Camus and going this is different to everything  else I ve read that maybe was first time I was moved by literature in  translation it was The plague I just found it opened a world of literature where there maybe isn’t a happy ending and yes life is very tough at times as I found out by reading this book .2 What was the last book that frustrated you enough to hurl it at the wall (swearing under your breath at the author will do at a push)?

Oh this is very easy Jonathan Littell the kindly ones I m not a huge novel fan but have tried to read more  large novels over recent years but this one I just couldn’t get on with I felt it was printed in to small a font that was also a little light on the eye that made it hard to read in first place but the main problem was the research He had researched it to well I felt the narrative just got bogged down in acronyms ,ranks and German army terms from the second world war I didn’t throw it but after 300 pages and little progress in two weeks I decide to call it a day and pull up stumps to a sunny day and more time so it has sat on my shelf for last two years  .3 You are a great champion of literature in translation; what draws you to writers in translation?

I always find this hard to sum up I feel I like other places I spent my 20’s reading uk/us literature with a few translations but as years gone by I just feel more drawn to world literature a sense of adventure as an armchair traveler ,but also the different  tones of grammar ,narrative  and description ,A french african novel is so different from a book from  Latin america but in some ways similar ,I like lines of literature how book a knocked on to make book b etc and I like seeing this as a global effect how Cervantes ,Borges, Tolstoy  and say Calvino have had knock on effect in different countries .
4 What language/book/author (if any) would you most like to be able to read in the original?
Know a couple of years ago I would say German I lived there and have a base that maybe could have launched into reading German overtime but as of late I have a real desire to maybe learn and read in spanish one day I feel more and more drawn to spanish and latin american literature and would love to read them in the original language ,I hope one day to have the time to do a Spanish course and start on the path to reading in Spanish .
5 Do you ever read aloud to Winston?
I don’t I hate my reading voices ,hence I never vlog on the blog I ve to deep and northern english accent for my liking .I maybe should practice for when I have kids .
6 How do you decide on which books to read/review? 
I do get sent a number of books I try to review the ones that  appeal on time other than that it what ever takes my fancy from local library or my own collection .I tend to be a butterfly read jumping from places to places .I m terrible at sticking to long-term plans ,so over time I ve  blogged  I found this best way to go a book at a time ,rather than have it all planned out .
6 William Phelps once said “I divide all readers into two classes; those who read to remember and those who read to forget”, do you fit into either category? do you think the categories are valid?
I don’t ,I read to discover new places and times also to escape the every day humdrum of my life ,so on whole I disagree although I suppose escapism is also part of forgetting in a way .I call my self a reader that reads to escape and discover ! .7 Do you prefer the smell of freshly printed books or are you excited by the possibilities of eReaders, iBooks and Kindle?
I love new books I love hardbacks most of all nothing feel better in the hand than a nice new hard back ,I did have a e reader til the screen broke in my work bag ,I m hoping to get a kindle for christmas ,the ability to read  classics is what draws me to e readers lesser known writers are available to read via Guttenberg for free which draws me to getting a replacement as I was enjoying dipping in and out of classics which draws me to getting a replacement also less modern works in translation that are starting to be made available like some of your works are .

8 where as many critics seem to enjoy penning vitriolic reviews, revelling in a stinging putdown, book bloggers tend to enjoy sharing  their passion for literature with the world: would you (do you) feel wary or writing a negative review or would you simply ignore a book you disliked?
I tend to trust my own choices in what I read I can also see the positive aspects in a lot of books I read even if others don’t .I struggle to write negative reviews as I m not a very negative person  in real life  ,I maybe should try to bring some negative points in but at moment I enjoy being positive and upbeat about what I read ,because that on the whole is the way I feel about the books I read .I feel that I know the books I d like accross genres so know if I will enjoy a book before I start most of the time .

9  How has blogging about books changed your life, your reading habits, Winston’s walking schedule?

It takes time to blog ,it hasn’t effect Winston we still go out four times a day for his walks like we always have ,I do read a lot more than I use to and I tend to read for longer than I did a few years ago most evening of i divide time between the blog and reading .It’s all about finding balance  in life and feel I ve got it right at moment with posting a few times a week rather than every day .

10  In “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller”, Italo Calvino gives a wondrous, dizzying list of  “Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn’t Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them…” Of Calvino’s “countless embattled troops”,  three phalanxes haunt me… Can you give personal examples of:
*Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
*Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time To Reread
*Books You’ve Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It’s Time To Sit Down And Really Read
(mine: Riddley Walker, Confederacy of Dunces, Jane Eyre)
I m always curious about the other side of the fence more commercial fiction ,what makes these writers so popular ,I often tempt to try a Grisham or Picoult to see what the fuss is about but never do lol .
I ve been looking at a lord of the rings collection at local books sale I read it years ago and often feel I d like to go on the journey again Tolkien was such a great story-teller and this is such an epic book I felt as I read Don Quixote a click went in my head ,that this must have been a book that influence in a little way lord of the rings .Well like you I maybe admit to reading some Victorian female writers mine be wuthering heights I ve not read it but always feel I have maybe kate Bush summed it up to well or one of the film versions of the book I ve seen made me feel I d already read the book
at some point which I have not .
11   Are there any books you wish you had read when you were younger, or books where you feel you should have waited?
I always feel I maybe tackled Dickens to young as it was at hand ,when I was young due to us have a complete collection its been many years since I read him and I wonder if I would enjoy him more as a middle-aged man ,as for the flip side Don Quixote is a book that entered my life to late II would be further down the path of translation than I am if I’d had read this book years ago as it is so much a part of spanish and Latin American literature it helps you place modern books in context .12  What, for you, is the most satisfying thing about blogging?

I love the blogger I meet via blogging in the virtual world and also in real life ,I love the fact the I spread the word on translation which is the main aim of the blog I m not the biggest blogger and never will be ,nor the most talented but I feel I found my own niche and am happy where winstonsdad is and I feel that is the place for translation and world literature ,there are other bloggers in this field but I think I bring a lot breadth to this field .
Thanks Frank for some great questions ,I hope that gives your more of an insight into me Stu any thing else you want to know feel free to ask me in comments .

33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tony
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 09:57:32

    Absolutely wonderful – a great idea and superbly executed! Well done on your answers Stu, and a big thank you to Frank for his probing questions allowing us an insight into Winston’s Dad’s reading habits 🙂


  2. Mel u
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 10:09:36

    This is a great interview with one of my favorite blogger-at one point I sort of wanted to read The Kindly Ones but I had heard a lot of negative things on it and it was so long and I also simply did not want to buy a book I knew I might not like-

    On Dickens-Feb 12 2012 is his 200th birthday-we must do something cosmic for this day to get the world to see how big our community has become


  3. parrish
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 13:05:01

    A great interview & loving the Calvino question, but I think frank missed a vital point by not asking the question concerning how Winston’s role as chief executive officer has impacted on the editorial content of the blog. Seriously a fantastic interview Stu & may you yourself do many more.


  4. Gavin
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 13:28:29

    It is absolutely wonderful getting to know one of my favorite bloggers through this interview. Thank you to you and Frank Wynne and, like Parrish, I’d love to know more about Winston’s role.


  5. Rob
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 14:31:21

    Stu/Frank. This is awesome. Bravo for coming up with such a good idea, and for executing it so well. You’re a star, Stu!


  6. gaskella
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 14:42:49

    What a fun interview. I’ve been staring at my copy of the Kindly Ones since publication, and feel even less inclined to read it now! I do like *Books You’ve Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It’s Time To Sit Down And Really Read – great question.


  7. Rikki
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 16:41:42

    Very good interview questions. It’s great to get to know more about you.


  8. Willa
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 17:34:08

    Such a great interview and really good to “get to know you better” Stu 🙂


  9. farmlanebooks
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 18:08:16

    I didn’t know that you wanted to throw The Kindly Ones 😦 I loved that book! I didn’t have a clue what all the ranks meant, but I skimmed over the military references (they wouldn’t have interested me even if I knew what they meant!) and beneath that I found a deeply moving story. It is my favourite WWII book so far.

    I also think you should read outside your comfort zone (isn’t that you are always telling us?!) and pick up a Jodi Picoult – the resulting review would at least be amusing.

    Great interview. I think today shows the importance of a good interviewer and not many bloggers manage it.It reminds me why I don’t do author interviews on my blog! You made a good choice in picking Frank.


    • winstonsdad
      Sep 15, 2011 @ 16:02:07

      I think the ranks and such as a male sidelined me as then I d go and google what everything meant lol ,I may take you up on the picoult if I see one about very cheap ,That is why I choose frank I want to give a little depth to my interview ,all the best stu


  10. shelleyrae@ Book'd Out
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 23:27:52

    What fascinating questions and answers! I really enjoyed reading it!



  11. Heather
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 02:16:13

    great interview. thanks Stu and Frank. It might be ages before I get to reading any of the books you have reviewed, but it has opened my eyes to a whole new range of books.. Thank-you.


  12. sugarpeach
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 03:48:39

    Nice interview! It’s unusual in a good way. 🙂


  13. Anbolyn
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 04:36:05

    This was a really lovely interview and a great look at “the man behind the blog”. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on why you read and why you like translated fiction. Spanish is a beautiful language – good luck on learning it and I hope you’ll be able to read it one day!


  14. kimbofo
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 20:10:05

    Terrific questions and answers, Stu! I, too, loved Charlotte’s Web as a kid — thanks so much for reminding me of it.


  15. The Book Whisperer
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 20:50:28

    What a great interview, Stu and what fantastic questions by Frank! Loved reading this.

    Oh, and Frank, yes you absolutely MUST sit down and read Jane Eyre – I insist! 😉


  16. Kinna
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 20:32:32

    Absolutely fantastic Stu and Frank. This is one of the best interviews. Ever.


  17. Sarah
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 22:03:20

    I’m a bit late to this party, and at a loss for anything original to say. But it’s worth repeating. Wonderful idea, wonderful interview. 🙂


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September 2011


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