Stu’s year of Books winstonsdad best of 2021

I am late to the mark here with my best-of list basically I’ve been reading other Blog and Vlogs best-of list for the last year and completely missed that I had not done my own hitting the ground review and reading-wise it isn’t till now I have decided to go back over the last year and pick those books that have stuck with me. Now this may be a different set of books from highlights I have pick of the months of last year as I feel books change after we read them some grow some just stay others just wilt away. So I am not a huge stats person to now I am moving forward using Goodreads a lot more as a way to track my reading and also gain some end of year stats. I reviewed 91 books from 30 countries. I had want to read more African books last year I had read a few more but there is room for a couple more this year. I read books from North and south America, Africa , Europe and Asia but missed books from Oceania and the Pacific which I need to fix this year.any way here are my books of the year I am doing them in the order I read them in the year.

At night all blood is black by David Diop

This tale of two African soldiers in the trenches a story that hasn’t been talked about a lot it follows what happens when your best friend is shot and the enemy is there and you have to get revenge.

30th April 1945 by Alexangder Kluge

Anyone that has followed this blog in the last couple of years will know a writer I am championing and absolutely love is Alexander Kluge here with have vignettes fact and fiction that circle the world on the day that is near the end of world war two.  His books are rabbitholes for the mind it is hard not to pick the other book by him I read but I will resist anyway go out pick him up !!

Tower by Bae Myung- Hoon

I read a hell of a lot more Korean books this year than I have previously and this was one that really stuck with me a futuristic tower building a dystopic world of interlinking stories that in place are funny.

A musical Offering by Luis Sagasti

I’m seeing a theme her of interlinking stories in the book here is another collection that has music at its heart and a diving board for the tales with like Kluge a mix of fact and fiction I loved his previous book I think he is my favourite Latin American writer at the moment

In memory of memory by Maria Steponova

Oh well, another book that drifts as she goes through her grand flat she looks back on her own families history and her homelands at the same time a book that is in that grey area between fiction and non-fiction in a way.

Elegy for Joseph Cornell by Maria Negroni

Oh another collection here of prose and poetry piece that area a bio and tribute to the artist Joesph Cornell a lost gem from Dalkey a man that like to wander his home city of New york

The cheap eaters by Thomas Bernhard

A new translation of one of his lesser-known books a man is drawn onto a group of men that eat the cheapest meals every day in a government-run restaurant in Vienna. I am a long time Bernhard fan and it is always great to add another title to the list of books I have reviewed by him.

The return of Caravels by Antonio Lobo Antunes

Like Bernhard Antunes is a writer I love and this a bok that mix the past and those seafarers returning to Modern Lisbon much to there horror a writer that always deals with his own countries past so well and openly.

To see out the night by David Clerson

A writer whose novel I loved returns with a collection of short stories, I said in the review I am not a short story fan well going through this years choice I think I am a bigger fan than I think anyway QC have been brought use some great books from Quebec her we have people turning to great apes and secret cities under cities.

Special Needs by Lada Vukic

As many of you may know I work on a ward caring and helping get better people with Learning disabilities that are in crisis so I was wary of this book as it is hard to capture that voice of someone with learning disabilities without it seeming wrong but for me this is the best such voice I have read it is such a voice of someone with Autisms view of the world.

 

3 Minutes and 53 Seconds by Branko Prlja

A series of vignettes form a bildungsroman using the writers love of music and the songs for each year I like this as a lot of the songs I knew some I loved other I didn’t but it was a great way to show the upheaval in the  Balkans in his teen years having to move to a new city and his use of music to convey that another underrated gem from Dalkey

Three Bedrooms in Manhatten by Georges Simenon

I have been working through the Penguin books as they have brought out a lot of his books in New translations here is a book from his time in the US capturing those dark post-war years before the shining fifties to lost souls in a big city.

Well there they are my twelve books of the year as ever I feel I am on my own journey in books I love books that have interlink stories of vignettes around themes and also champing small presses and writers I have loved for a long time. What were your books of the year where did your journey take you last year did our paths cross?

 

Looking forward to 2022 and good riddance 2021

I am looking forward to seeing the back of 2021 in fact I am awaiting the spring and the downturn in Covid Number personally just the worry over Amanda, My Aunt and Dad health and well being all of whom have health issues is weighting Heavy on me as the figures go up every day I’m well worried more and more. Hence last few weeks are slow in terms of blogging I’m not a winter person but I have been awaiting the new year for the blog mainly as I knew I’d miss the 100 review total early in December and I then decided to read and await reviews to next year so I know have 5 books to review in the new year and a further three books part read. I am looking forward to starting the new year with a bang and trying and matching last January total of 13 reviews and then trying and carrying it on for more than the first month of the year. Then I hope to carry it on I have a good 2022 and finally, I hope to break that 100 review point. I am also looking forward to events as ever January in Japan, Man Booker International shadow duty, Spanish lit month, German lit month al of which I enjoy. I hope in the summer to get to London it’s been to long since I have been there, I hope to make my Vlog debut soon, I am also hoping to neaten the blog slowly over time. I’m not a list keeper but hope to keep a better track on things like GoodReads and I have just signed up to story graph as well also increase my Twitter presence again I still try every week to look in and retweet Translated Thursday tweets but I hope to be about more this is something I have been slowly doing the last few months. I hope to also watch films from the world cinema Genre I have Mubi and BFi so have lots to watch I need be less Eurocentric, the same could be same for the books on the blog I feel I have become safer the last few years I used to review more African fiction but also need review more Asian, Arabic and Latin American fiction also a lot of Russian lit has passed me by in the last couple of years. I try to cover as much but maybe felt the last few years I pick safer books in translation if that makes sense I need to be more adventurous at times. I am the everyman of world lit but I need be promoting the smaller places less translated even a few European countries need more highlighting. So I am yes worried but I take care of myself and the rest of the family takes care of themselves and are careful when out and about that is the best we can all do in these strange times. I m very excited for the new year in the blog as I am feeling more motivated than I have been in years and am actually reading more this last couple of months than I have in the last two years. What are all your plans for the coming year I can’t wait to hear and what books are you looking forward too especially those from outside Europe in translation?  What films have you enjoyed around the world this year any blogs you could point me in the direction of in regards to world cinema? I also include my diary for this year I have this radical from verso and a small one from the British museum to try and keep up with reviews etc

That was the month that was November 2021

  1. Dispatches from Moments of Calm by Alexander kluge and Gerhard Richter
  2. ONe day a year by Christa Wolf
  3. Child of All Nations by Irmgard Keun
  4. All the Land By Jo Lendle
  5. Home reading service by Fabio Morabito
  6. The High rise diver by Julia Von Lucadou
  7. Down and out in England and Italy by Alberto Prunetti

 

Well, I managed 7 books this month with a strong German feel to the list this month. We started with Alexander Kluge’s reaction to the pictures Gerhard Richter had used in Die welt to replace the actual news photos that day what came out of that is this book with Kluge’s usual clever vignettes attach and using the pics as a springboard to stories. Then we had the latter art of Christa wolf’s decade long project that saw her write a full diary entry for the same day for decades a view of a great writer ageing and seeing the post 9/11 changes. Then we meet a cheeky teen just as the war is on the horizon in the late thirties as we see her families efforts to escape the Nazis and the darkening clouds. Then we meet the Arctic explorer and scientist Alfred Wenger as he is caught in the middle of the icefield as the winter has trapped his camp and he looks back on his life as an explorer but also as a family man the struggles of the life he wants and what he achieved. Then I had a change of location as we headed to Mexico and the story of a middle-aged man sentenced to read to the elderly and disabled of his home town a task he does with pout jumping into the books he is reading mostly classic til a poet and a connection to his father sparks his interest into his fathers past and this poet. Then a dystopian world of a sports star trying to break free of the world that follows her every move and the person hired to try and bring her back in line? My last stop this month was back to England and Italian finding work in takeaways hotel cleaner and handyman.

Book of the month

I am becoming a huge Kuge fan he is a hidden gem of German literature. He has a lit of what appealed the first time I read Sebald but he is so much more than Sebald his works go here there and everywhere and fire my berain as a reader every time I read it. Have you read his works ?

Non book events

Well, I have started watching an old police series on Talking pictures tv dial 999 follows an Us detective as he works in sixties London only half an hour-long they aren’t in death stories but have a great nostalgic look at the city that has mostly gone places like the docks and certain nightlife places another world that has gone. Then the new version of P D James Daglish was very well made set in the timeframe she wrote them the seventies we got three of the stories with more to come I believe.  Now I don’t often do gift idea I thing this is the first time but a recent look for gift ideas on youtube gave me two ideas which I got one to send to people the other a personal gift.

 

First, instead of a Christmas card, I found this small collection of Christmas theme poems and prose around Christmas movies there are other titles available from candlestick press , I brought and gave Amanda the selection called Christmas together instead of a card. I love the cover of this one and the idea of this instead of cards.

The second I brought for myself is this small box that has six letters that fold into envelopes from pigeon post a way to keep letter writing alive with these bright designs from Angela Harding. I don’t write many letters but will try to write a few more now I have these. Music-wise I got the new Richard Dawson cd a collaboration with the Finnish metal band Circle with a collection of songs with plants as the title of songs but the diverse subject matters those songs the lead track Lily was the story of his own mother a Nurse in Newcastle his home town.

Next month

The sand of time in 2021 is running out it is that time of year for the end of year list I feel I will do both a book and music ones again this year I will be reviewing the last couple of German lit books I had planned to read last month I did write a more post last month than any month this year but left reviews I had hoped to get that 100 books reviewed mark this year but that has passed me by but I have already reviewed two more books than 2020 so that is an improvement and have written the most words for five years already. I have two epic books to try and read before the end of the year I always like a big book at the end of the year. What are your plans for the last month of 2021 ?

 

 

Nobel winner 2021 Abdulrazak Gurnah

It is that time of year again when the Nobel literature prize is announced it just has and this year’s winner is Abdulrazak Gurnah a writer that is not known to me so he is  a leftfield choice I have just ordered two of his books I see that Lisa has read him at Anzlitlovers  .  He has been on the booker list twice in 1994 and 2001. If you have read him what would you recommend ?

Some recent arrivals and xmas gifts

Well, here we have the fist of a few new arrivals. I haven’t read lullaby yet but when I saw this copy of Adele the follow-up book to come out in English was unread in the local Oxfam and I haven’t read the Raymond Carver collection which was the first collection that came out by him as a writer. He was the master of the short story.

Then I have a gift from my darling wife the second Murakami diary to come out it is a hardback whereas the first one that came out a few years ago was a smaller pocket type diary it has all the publication dates of Murakami’s works, Cycle of the moon, and Japanese holiday. She also got me the recent Gregor Von Rezzori novel to be published, Abel and Cain. An episodic work that covers the post-world war years through the second world war to the sixties. I have had my eye on a while so when Amanda got it me for Christmas I was really happy it will be one for German lit month this year,

Then another find in the flea market a copy of Boswell’s London Journals. where discovered for the first time in 1920 and published in 1950. where among the earliest of his writing to be published. I have been a fan of his writing for a while since I was young and hadn’t read this but had his life of Johnson years ago so I have been buying a few other works he wrote and this is the latest to the collection of his works.

Last, is Tyll by Daniel Kelhlmann Who I thought I reviewed but turns out I didn’t I did read F by him but think I was in such a rush with the iffp reading when it was longlist that year as I struggled to get the books it missed a review anyway this is meant to be his best book and use a fable-like quality to tell a story that is historic but with echoes of the modern world?

 

 

Winstonsdads Dozen books of the year 2020

Well it is the 2nd January and I am revealing my books of the year in no order these twelve are the ones that at the end of they year I felt had touched me most over the last twelve months.

1. Now, Now louison by Jean Fremon 

The French gallerist Jean Fremon tries to get into in the life of the renowned artist Louise Bourgeois with this miz of inner monologue, personal history, and antidotes another gem from Les fugitives.

2. Aviaries by Zuzana Brabcova 

I now move onto the last night novel by a Czech writer. That captures a darker underbelly of a fragmented Prague of bums homeless people and Chavs

No photo description available.

3. The years by Anne Ernaux 

Just brilliant this should have won the booker but it is a Fineline between fiction and memoir as she looks back on her life and how she dealt with those ups and downs we all have in our own lifetimes.

4. Termin by Henrik Nor-Hansen 

A look at the out fall of an attack on a normal everyday man and what happens when you have a severe brain injury.a short gem and another from a very small publisher.

 

Termin front cover.png

 

5. When death takes something from you give it back Carl’s book By Naja Marie Aidt

This touching memoir of her son who lost his life in shocking circumstances. Carl deals with a mother getting over the loss of her son at such a young age.

6. The train was on time by Heinrich  Böll

A long-overdue reissue of the debut work of Heinrich Boll on a train to the front there is a man daydreaming and remembering the war at the same time,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Doppelganger byDaša Drndić

Two novellas from the late Croat writer Daša Drndić her we see that love can be found in older age but we all have that baggage we carry and this is the case in these two getting together.

8. And the wind sees all by  Guðmundur Andri Thorsson

Here we see a mere moment caught from the whole of a village. The local choirmistress Kata is a stunning red dress head to choir practice . As we look behind the curtains in the small fishing villages we see the inner lives of those there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. 10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world by Elif Shafak

It is a shock that two books from the Booker shortlist have made my best of year. This glimpses the life os a prostitute through those she knew in her brother and her life before her time in the brothel what drove her there in a series of smells and tastes that she had known throughout her life.

10. Ducks Newburyport by Lucy Elman 

I am one that tends to avoid hype but this 1000 page novel is the inner monologue of a midwest housewife living in the trump era rying to work out in a way how they got there where they are. A long journey but worth taking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Falstaff: Apotheosis by Pierre Senges

A reworking of the Falstaff character and his place in literature by the underappreciated French writer Pierre Senges someone we should all try I think.

12.The Trap by Ludovic Bruckstein 

Romanian fiction to round off this years best-of list and a look at a bygone world of villages that were full of Jewish life a lament of a world that has gone by. This is a lost gem of Mittel European writing brought to us from the great Istros books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well if there is a theme in these books it is to do with narrative om a whole they all challenge what is narrative for us the reader. I think this is what draws me so much to translated fiction and small press. Her is a huge thanks to those who have support this blog over the last twelve months.

my reading goals for 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been busy most of Christmas I was lucky to have three days off Xmas Eve to Boxing day. It has given me time with Family my in-laws and there two latest foster kids came Christmas day and Boxing day I traveled to spend it with my dad which was a long day with a hold upon the drive back. I then did two long days work and time has caught up with me I return for two twelve hours shifts tomorrow and new years day. So I will be posting my books of the year after the new year and my first new review in the new year. Anyway, I have never been one for reading goals but as for a second year, I have just missed the 100 reviews in a year I need some motivation.

My first goal is to get to a 1000 reviews on the blog that will be 30 books time I have given myself a deadline of my birthday in the middle of march to get there. I feel this total has loomed in fact in a way that has made me worry about getting there. I felt it would be a let down after that this goal had been reached.

100 reviews in a year this has been my goal for the last few years I have reviewed more than a hundred in other years but since I changed job I struggle to get a good blogging routine in place. I have let my routine slip this last few months after doing thirty posts in a month which I got a routine in place doing the post in advance. I need to be more of a planner in regards to the blog.

I saw that Tony messenger is doing this and it grabbed me as an on running idea and the is reading books from 1980 as it is 40 years since then. I feel this is one I could run with for the next ten years and those early years of me reading novels. There is a couple great books turning 40 years Midnight’s children and in the name of the rose to name two I hope to get half dozen through the year.

Booker international Bingo I hope I get lost of people to join in on this fun twist on shadow jury by getting more bing lines and calls for reading more books. I had planned to read this year’s longlist like last year and wonder what will make the list.

Hopes I hope to add a few more Arabic and African books this year than the last few years.

It has been fun 2019 and I have read a lot of exciting books many thanks for following me over the last year. I hope to bring you more reviews and fun ideas in the coming year. What are your reading plans for the coming year?

The first Shadow The Booker international prize Bingo 2020

I was asked last week By Tony Malone if I wanted to carry on the shadow jury I initially said no. But I had second thoughts but I wanted to give it a spin on previous years as it returns to the original Booker prize name next year under a new sponsorship deal. I had decided to do a Bingo card when the longlist comes out which will have a number for each book on the longlist as the chance to do a vertical line of three books, the four corners for four a horizontal line for five books. I will design badges for each level and combination of levels which means badges for reading 3 books, 4 books, 5 books, 7 books, 9 books, and the full dozen. I am nervous that the Italian Novel Catholic school by Edoardo Albinati that is 1200 plus pages may make the longlist. I am trying to read it over Christmas. I welcome everyone and all I ask is you rank the books you read so we can work a shortlist out on whatever level you take part in will be welcome bloggers old and new also Goodreads instgram bookfolks etc. I have thought of a hashtag #BookerBingo . Here are the Judges for this years prize.

The Judges

September 2019 that was the month

  1. Welcome to America by Linda Bostorm Knaugard
  2. Years like Brief days by Fabian Dobles
  3. 10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world by Elif Shafak
  4. Milena, Milena,Ecstatic by Bae Suah
  5. The Marquise of O by Heinrich Von Kleist
  6. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
  7. Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

Book of the month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first time, I have picked a none translated book as my book of the month but this is one of those rare books that is undefinable it is a monster of a read but the rhythm in those lists where she jumps from here to there in them. My reading journey this month saw me head from a chaotic family in America through Costa Rican village, then a dead prostitute in Istanbul relives her life in the last ten mins of her life. Then a Korean filmmaker meets a strange woman. Then a german classic in a new translation as a marquise tries to find the father of her child. Then I finished it off with a Reworking of Don Quixote by Salman Rushdie. I am still behind on the books read this year on 68 books reviewed want to get to 100 this year I will need to pull my socks up a bit but with german lit month soon I feel I can get there hopefully.

Next month

I have a number of novellas to read from around Europe I can’t see me reading the other booker titles they are just too long especially as I have a 900 pages modern german masterpiece and an even longer Italian novel to read before the end of the year.

Non-book events

I had some time off work and visited the Holocaust museum in Nottinghamshire it is very small but touching it has two exhibits one is about the Holocaust and the other follows one ten-year-old boy’s journey through the Kindertransport in recreations of his home school the boat that brought him here. We also went to see Major Oak the 1200-year-old Oak tree that is in Sherwood forest held up it is huge tree. In my nostalgia tv corner, I have been watching the father Downing mysteries which featured Tom Bosley is best known for playing  The father on Happy days he was also a sheriff in Murder she wrote this series sees him as a vicar investigating crime a fan of Sherlock Holmes with his sidekick a streetwise Nun.

 

Top 50 books in translation since 2000

Well everyone has seen or heard about the rather translation light Guardian 100 books since 2000 wel I m doing a list of books from 2000 most I have reviewed since the blog but others I read before the blog.This is a personal list in reply to the Guardian list and reflects my own tastes in translated fiction.

  1. Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
  2. Compass by Mathias Enard
  3. parallel stories by Peter Nadas
  4. Stones in a landslide by Maria Barbal
  5. The coming by Andrej Nikoladis
  6. Trieste by Dasa Drndric
  7. Rings of Saturn by W G Sebald
  8. Satantango by Laszlo Krasznarhorkai
  9. Traveller of the century by Andres Neumann
  10. By night the mountains burn by Juan Tomas Avila Laurel
  11. The anatomy of a moment by Javier Cercas
  12. The briefcase by Hiromi Kawakami
  13. A death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  14. Panorama by Dustan Sarotar
  15. The tower by Uwe Tellkamp
  16. Heaven and Hell by Jon kalman Stefansson
  17. Revulsion in San Salvador by Horacio Castellanos Moya
  18. Beside the sea by Veronique Olmi
  19. Colourless Tsukuru Tazakiand his years of pilgimage by Haruki Murkami
  20. Bilbao – New york – Bilbao by Kirmen Uribe
  21. River by Esther Kinsky
  22. The carpenter pencil by Manuel Rivas
  23. The book of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agulusa
  24. The mirror of Beauty by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi
  25. Where tigers are at home by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
  26. Dublinesque by Enrique Vila matas
  27. Martutene by Ramon Saizarbitoria
  28. Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
  29. The whispering Muse by Sjon
  30. White book by Han Kang
  31. Windows on the world by Frederic Beigbeder
  32. The sermon on the fall of Rome by jerome Ferrari
  33. Azazeel By Youssef Ziedan
  34. Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer
  35. Resistance by Julian Fuks
  36. Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
  37.  Harraga by Boualem Sansal
  38. Shtetl love song by Grigory kanovich
  39. Kamchatka by Marcelo Figureas
  40. The dirty dust by Máirtín Ó Cadhain
  41. Mrs Sartrois by Elke Schmitter
  42. Goodbye, bird by Aram Pachyan
  43. New Finnish Grammar by Diego marani
  44. Fireflies by Luis Sagasti
  45. The corpse washer by Sinan Antoon
  46. Love/war by  Ebba Witt-Brattström
  47. The Years by Anne Ernaux
  48. To the end of the land by David Grossman
  49. Blindly by Claudio Magris
  50. I will mention a few of huge books Zibaldone by Giacomo Leopardi,  Bottoms dream by Arno schmidt and Stalingrad by Vasily Grossmann

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