My first library trip of 2023

I had a number of books tio return to the library a number I hadn’t got to so I decided to just pick novellas this time and hopefully I will be able to get to them they have such a great selection at our library, in fact, I think the last couple of years there selection of books in translation has grown which is handy for this blogger and for the readers of Derbyshire. so I will go through the books I have picked.

First up is Stella by Takis Würger this is a novel inspired by a haunting beauty called Stella (a real person) and a man that in the middle of world war two has come to Switzerland and is captivated by her.

Concerning my Daughter by Kim Hye-Jin is the tale of a daughter coming home in her 30s to live with her mother and the struggle with her mother’s view of how her life should be and her life. A Korean LGBT novel i love clashes of family old values against new values and ways we live so looking forward to this.

These are two novellas by the Dutch writer Gerald Reve he was a writer I had lonbg wanted to read but when I read the evenings I just don’t think that book and me connected I had read it twice and still hadn’t connect with it I had so wanted to love it. So maybe another book by him may work and I’ll go back for a third time to the evenings. I really want to like this writer.

I wanted another Japanese book to read and this Picnic in the storm by Yukiko Motoya sounds surreal collection of stories with the first about a female bodybuilder just sounded different to me.

I’ve heard a lot of Booktubers talk about reading Ferrante and I am reading days of abandonment at the moment and felt well this is short It may its time I try and read the rest of her books.I m late to the party but i got there in the end for Ferrante.

A middle-aged man on a trip to Montevideo falls for a woman he sees whilst out on a day tribe in the city just looked like it could be a fresh take on an aged old story of a older guy and younger woman.

Then is those chance books I saw this was from Dalkey archive and strangely is due out in a Faber edition next week I knew I had seen the name around it is from the 30s and is partly based on the writer’s own experiences in a mental institution after giving birth and getting psychosis I’m interested to see how different we treat mental illness now to nearly a hundred years ago how have we moved on ?

I think I may have been sent this book I have reviewed two earlier books from the same writer the Maurtius writer Nathacha both are different from the each other I love writers that evolve over their books this is a tale of a sister who steals her mother car to go and find her sister that has disappeared that grabbed me as a reader.

I loved a lot of the books Verso has brought out the last few years this won the Gioncourt prize for a debut novel and is based on an actual events and looks at France’s colonial past.

I’ve been trying to read Balzac for years in fact Balzac and Zola are on my list of writers to read more of so I thought this slim book may kickstart my journey with him. I have a couple of his longer books to read. I need to jump in and get him and Zola on my list of french writers I have read before it hits 200 books from France I have reviewed which isn’t so far off 60 books I think it may be a couple of years til I get there but no more.

Have you been to the library recently ?

Winstonsdads Dozen of 2023

  1. A tomb of sand by Geetanjali Shree
  2. Canzone Di Guerra by Dasa Drndic
  3. Necropolis by Boris Pahor
  4. The book of Mother by Violaine Husiman
  5. Among the Almond trees by Hussein Barghouthi
  6. Goshawk Summer by James Aldred
  7. Thread ripper by Amalie Smith
  8. The critical case of a man called K BY Aziz Mohamed
  9. Something Strange like Hunger by Malika Mostadraf
  10. Pyre by Perumal Murgan
  11. school for girls by Arianne Lessard
  12. Dead Lands by Nuria Bendicho

Here is my dozen books I have picked books I reviewed on the blog I managed to read 122 books well that is as I write this on the 29th.My books of the year start in India with the Man booker international winner about an older woman getting over her husband’s passing and suddenly aspiring in her life all that wonderful use of language that had been brought Wonderfull to life into English. Then we are in the Balkans and Canada as we see how we cope with being an immigrant and trying to keep alive our own identity and heritage this book goes back to the war and has so much more by the late Dasa a writer that should be better known. Then we are still in the Balkans and Pahors account of his life in the concentration camps as he helped a doctor and saw the horrors a testament to surviving the horrors of the camps, Then a daughter tells of her chaotic childhood with her mother that had mental health issues as some that have struggled this year with stress and my mental health books around mental health are important. Then a man returns home to Palenstine and his past and present mixes as he wanders his childhood haunts as he faces death a powerful book. Then I read lots of nature books but Goshawk summer was the best as it captured that moment when the lockdown was there and nature crept back as the world felt silent and the world slowed for a short time. Then a gem of a book that has interlink stories thread ripper is one of those books that has a loose theme of computers women and computers and tapestry it is just a book that lingers long after you have finished the book. Then we meet a man undergoing Cancer treatment in Saudi Arabia this book nods to Kafka as our lead character gets lost in the world of medicine and what his family expects. Then we have the stories of a feminist Moroccan writer that died too soon this collection captures Morocco at the time from the female point of view but also what it was like living there from a woman chatting on the internet to being on a bus. Then we shoot in India and a story about castes set in a village as a son brings a wife back from the wrong cast what will happen especially when he has to go back to the city where they first meet.It is that class of cultures a son returns after seeing the city and its world back to the small minds of the village. Then a chorus of girls from a school in the middle of the country tell their tale and that of their teachers this is a creepy collection of voices. Then lastly is my book of the year Dead lands the story of a son that has been killed and shot in the back in his small Catalan village. The book takes the form of 13 stories from family members and those involved with the death of a priest to a carer, later on, caring for one of his siblings this is a Faulkneresque style but has a strong voice that captures that world of a small village and the secrets that lie under neither.So that is my dozen for this year. I will be back in the new year.

2023 Plans Waugh ,clubs, backlist and just being me

I’ve been thinking about what to do reading-wise next year. I am not a planner as u might have gathered and I always view my reading as adrift on the sea of books but for me this last year I have read more but reviewed less I am on the verge of completing the 120 total I had set myself this year so I will add five on next year. But the main plan for next year firstly is to try and read through all of Evelyn Waugh’s novels I have most if not all of them I couldn’t find my Brideshead when I took this pic. So I am not setting an order or reading them in chronological order but more as I feel and have time. Then I want to read more from my TBR pile,  my huge backlist pile of books I am always buying but never quite getting to I love the backlist podcast and Simon and Karen club years and feel I have so many great lost books on my shelves that need to be put out there I often get to caught up in the riptide of new books don’t we all well its time to move that tiler of my reading boat.I am still toying with Vlogging a little bit. Hopefully, I will build up the nerve. Another idea I’m wanting to try and knock a few longer books off the shelf. As ever the focus will be translated literature with a few nature books chucked in for good measure.I just need to get back to regular reviewing that said so far this year is the 3rd most words I have written in a year the most words per post. I always find the turn of the year brings a spurt to my blogging its like the New Year is a gust of wind in my sail. So what are your plans for the next year where is it going to take you reading wise?

That was the month that was June 2022

  1. To sir, with love by E R Braithwaite
  2. Among the Almond trees by Hussein Barghouthi
  3. Angel Station by Jachym Topol
  4. The blue bedspread by Raj Karmal Jha
  5. A cage in search of a Bird by Florence Noiville
  6. The young pretender by Michael Arditti
  7. The rabbit factor by Anti Tuomainen
  8. Ninth building by Zou Jingzhi
  9. Cinema stories by Alexander Kluge
  10. Copsford by Walter J. C. Murray
  11. The Military Orchid by Jocelyn Brooke 
  12. Goshawk summer by James Aldred

This month has been a good month for me reading as I have reviewed 12 books which is a total I haven’t hit for a while. The journey starts With being an immigrant in London post-war. Then return home after a lifetime away as a man dies and sees the ghosts of his past. Then 90s Prague and the flotsam and jetsam around a station lives are revealed. Then a woman meets a woman who starts to take over her life. Then a young actor and victim of grooming tries to review his career and escape his past. Then a brother inherits a fun fair and falls in love add to that a mafia angle in a great Finnish crime novel. Then growing up in Mao’s Beijing then being sent into exile to the hinterlands of China. Then Kluge wrote a number of stories about cinema and his world of films. Then a man drops out and collects herb in the first of three great nature books, then a man is obsessed with an Orchid he read about then spends his life hunting orchids and the holy grail of the Military Orchid. Then we have summer during lockdown watching goshawk nest and having a family of chicks in the New Forest. So a month that has seen me here there and everywhere. What has your path been this month through the books you have read?

Trio of the month

Among the Almond trees by Hussein Barghouthi

Hussein’s last days spent in the area of Ramallah where he grew up left and has returned to after a lifetime away he is haunted by his death and the ghost of his past. Very poetic and touching work there is another book from him coming out later this year I can’t wait for that book as this is one of the most touching books I have ever read.

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen

A brother inherits the mess his brother has left in an amusement park full of odd characters that work there. He also falls for someone that is the polar opposite of the uptight account he is in a crime novel. But is so much more it has comedy romance and a bunch of odd characters and a damaged giant plastic rabbit.

Copsford by Walter J C Murray

A man moves to a derelict cottage and tries to live on the land as he tries to escape the life in London as he learns how to reap the herbs around Copsford. A great book about what has happened in the last few years.

Other events this month-

I  finally got to watch for the second time the series The story of Film an Odyssey. I had been given it as a present at Christmas and hadn’t got to it yet but this last month I watch the first two-discs of Mark Cousin history of cinema that encompass all of the worlds he just makes you just want to watch so many books. I watch the new series of Obi-wan on Disney which was a great series as it fills in some timeline gaps in the Star Wars story and I rewatched Only Murders in the Building ready for the second series of the comedy series is a tongue-in-cheek look at the world of true-crime podcast. I also went to the extra record store day middle of the month which had two records which I had to want but were delayed. The two I had on cd but wanted Beth Orton’s two LPs on Vinyl Central reservation and Trailer park her lo-fi acoustic sound is a great summer night sound I will love listening to them this summer.

The month ahead I am reading a little less translation for the foreseeable future I say this then go down a rabbit hole and see this and that book here I think the passion is there just a Little less over summer but it is the 10th Spanish and Portuguese lit month I will be reading the two books I had mentioned for the month plus a few extra. Plus work my way through the Wainwright longlist which I have all but three books now from the library. Amanda and I are off on Monday for a short break in Northumberland again we can’t wait as it means a visit to the wonderful Barter books which means a pile of books from our Holiday and some pictures of our trip.

What have you done last month or planned next month ?

Reading Doldrums, reading rotation a new Horizons

I sat the last few days and tried to think why My reading has felt flat for a good while. I have at times acted passionate about books but in my heart of hearts, the passion isn’t there as it once was. I  have talked about reading for me is like my own yacht (well boat) and I have for many years sailed the translated sea of books but maybe I have reached the Doldrums as a reader that part where wind and currents have dropped and you are just there as a reader adrift and that has been me. I first felt it earlier in the year I had an idea for a project for the forthcoming translation of Solenoid but never really got started with it, not sure why I tried to read another Cartaescu book already out and this was just about the time I went of work with stress so I never finished it and then with this year shadow booker I was going through the motions the passion I had felt for doing this had gone and that was sad as it was a jolly good longlist the best for a long time. But I have sat and tried to kick start my reading of translation but then I have come to the conclusion I need a reading rotations and to broaden my scope of reading my reading is a fallow field overworked on the same crop of translation for year and years. This has also come as I have discovered book tube and the tubers I like people like Lonesome reader, Bob the bookerer tend to read a wider breadth of books. I then start to think about crop rotation and then compared this to my reading I always say, I’d  Like to try other books and for years haven’t I tried new projects but all with a hint book in translation or world lit and I am someone that isn’t great at following plans I just get too distracted by other things. I mentioned I want to read some more nature writing so I have looked at books on the Wainwright prize lists the big prize for nature writing and have ordered some of them from the library just to try and kickstart some joy in books. I have read a lot of books this year but for me, I read a lot it is like a reflex to just read but I have missed feeling passionate and I am someone that loves buzz books, books I connect with and maybe I have had a run this year of books that I haven’t connected that have made me buzz as a reader I can think of the books I have reviewed on here that there is maybe five of the forty-plus books that I have read I have really connected with and rather than carry on I need to rota my reading. I will be reading fewer books in translation for the time being this means I may only slightly contribute to Spanish and Portuguese. this year I feel I will broaden my reading for the rest of the year nature writing, English classic, historical fiction, some new fiction from the Uk and America, memoir and biographies. I love taking apart myself as a reader I am like a clockmaker my reading clock has been overwound I have sent it to the mender he has loses the spring cleaned the working and polished the reading clock. So hang on I am just about to do some night shifts and won’t be back to Weds or Thurs next week with a review. Do you look out for yourself as a reader ? have you burnt a genre out.I started the post with a picture of Oldway which I brought a while ago in hindsight this was maybe me starting to think of other books to read and then from the library today after I had paid my fine I am always bring books back late so bad at renewing or getting back so fine paid and I picked these three books up

That was the month that was May 2022

  1. The people opposite by Georges Simeon
  2. Canzone Di Guerra by Daša Drndić
  3. Cigarette by Per Hagman
  4. Solo Dance by Li Kokomi
  5. Standing Heavy By GauZ

Well I had returned to work and had a week off with Amanda this month so it was going be a short trip of the books IO read we started with a Early Simeon that is his most political work that came after a visit to the Soviet Union at the time. Then a woman tries to trace her father past and the past of Croatia and those that left from her home in Canada. Then a slice of being young and living your life to the max. Then a Taiwan office workers life as she tries to balance her past and her present and hiding her sexuality at work. Then those guards we see but never think about in a debut novel from a writer for Ivory Coast his first of many I hope. A slow month. Elsewhere we announced the Shadow winner of the Booker International and I decided it is time to move on after ten year I will be bring a new spin to it all myself with a new idea. I am trying to be more open to what I read and much keener on trying books I have missed.

Book of the Month

It was a hard month I read five books and they are all great books but I love Dasa work and this is another gem from the late great Writer that tackles the years from the end of the world war tow the Tito year and the Yugoslavian war the knock on effect of trying too escape and form a new life in Canada but also what were the traditions and past of your own personal history.

Other things

Well I visited York, Cheshire, and the cotswolds this month when we had time off together so did lots of small trips. Elsewhere I am nearing the end of watching all the Grantchester series which I’ve slowly been working through for a few month a bit of comfort tv which is good as  I returned to work end of last month,  so I’ve been taking things slow after 10 weeks off I am nervous about returning it is slowly lifting but this is third week of being back to normal shifts. So I now feel settled back somewhat and hope to get to normal with work.

Next month

Although my reviewing has been slow this last couple of months I have actually read 54 books this year so I have 18 books to review so I will be ramping up my reviewing this month I have seen how the blogger Simon at the blog  stuck in a book has done a book a day all this month on his blog. Now I Don’t think I can do that but I am inspired to try and up the amount of reviews next month . I will be reading a mix of  old and new books as I Tend to more these day in my reading. As this approach will suit the  couple of challenges I have set myself  not to complete just to add a few books on the edge of what I would normally read like crime like some older books and those modern classics I never got too back in the day. Reading is such a wonderful journey we are like yachts tacking as the wind fills are sails and then sometime drops and we have change the sail so it is with my reading ring the high seas of world literature!!

What are your plans next month ?

50 up and where now?


I turned 50 earlier this month I think for the last 12 months it had been building in my head as mountain of well I don’t know what but the main thing is maybe a feel of where the next years are going go it is a changing of guard so to speak exiting one decade to the next but this felt as though the seesaw of life had tipped towards the later part. But it is also a feeling of being lost in myself and it isn’t to these last few days I am finally thinking straight I have been of work for a number of weeks with a lot of stress and other things but this is starting to ease. Anyway drifting here and there the fact is my blog means a lot to me and part of my drifting the last few years have been feeling lost as a blogger and also on things like twitter sometimes I wish I could turn back and go back to the early days of the blog when I read more on a whim and also felt less on a hamster wheel of life. Lizzy siddal has moved on to a new blog but I don’t think I need to do that I still have space on this blog for content. I am read more than I ever had but not blogging as many reviews, now this for years has stressed me out for years (Why the hell, I do a job that most people couldn’t do Amanda says I overthink thinks and being my fathers son my dad is engineer and has an engineer mind which I have inherited although I am not engineer I over analysis my whole life anyway this is one of the things I am working on) So hell I don’t review every book I read this is due to my reviews being longer than they used to be twice the length they were 5 years ago and I don’t have more time so double the length of review only half the reviews I aimed for 100 this year but I think if I review 80 plus books I am doing well. From tomorrow onwards I’m taking a more relaxed approach to my blogging also be accepting less review copies I get contact less these days so that isn’t a hardship and will get me off the hamster wheel of feeling I have to review books and also I feel I want read more from my TBR. The other changes is to vlog a little I’m still not sure what this content will be but I am getting a new camera which I want to record Amanda and I travels it also the pics for the blog will be from the camera make them more eyecatching. Anyway this turning 50 wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be I am now looking forward to the decade ahead and also hopefully another ten years of winstonsdad. I think I will do more chatty post like this like the booker diaries series I have start for this years booker readings. I just buzz about books and often feel I have lost my voice just as I have found it in writing how often I said just the bare minimum about a book on twitter then gone I wish I said more  if its not bookish twitter its podcast I listen to I love lots. But this also at times draws on my reading time it was listen to the daily stoic the other day when he was talking with Thomas Chatteron Williams about the rabbit hole that is social media also they hit nail on the head about how it can make you feel so I feel I’ll maybe retweet less chat a bit more and generally spend less time on twitter. How did turning 50 or 40 or 30 or whatever milestone effect you do you view it as a changing point do you often feel lost in this world of social media losing your own voice sometimes then just taking time and remember what is important to you and that is Amanda and my family , my job and then books and reading it is a large part of my as a person. I think Mookse and the gripes hit on the head my big problem is I haven’t got anyway much to chat to in the real world about books I have a couple friends that are bookish but as any one that has meet me at times I can be very passionate about books translation and reading. But then I feel I lost my online voice as well this is just me overthink which I am doing less off. Anyway outside this we made a small step towards our first home last week as we hope to get our first home thanks to family a new build next year with all luck so we are busy looking at a few new bits for the house I will have a bigger room for may books. I hope to return to work soon as I love my job but had just needed a break. I will also now be taking a few days off from here I will return Tues so for the ramble just want say I am looking for to my 50s and talking about books more and more

That was the month that was Feburary 2022

  1. Geography of an Adultery by Agnes Riva
  2. The End of Eddy bt Edouard Louis
  3. Jealousy by Alain Robbe-Grillet
  4. The Voice imatator by Thomas Bernhard
  5. Marzhan ,mon Amour by Katja Oskamp
  6. One in Me I never Loved by Carla GuelfenBein
  7. Necropolis by Boris Pahor

I am on too 16 books reviewed on the blog which is just under my target of 100 reviews for the year I have currently read 26 book this year so am on target to read over a 100 books. I started my reading this month in France with three french novels two about aultery one real and told with a sparce use of emotions a more clinical nature to the affair in Riva’s Geography of an Adultery. Then in Jealousy we saw what could have been imagined affair in Robbe-Grillet novel that sees a husband glimpse on his wife and fill in the gaps. Then my other french book saw a hard childhood described from a son that is different to his family. Then we have Thomas Bernhard his flash fiction culled from news headlines remind me of ALexander Kluge somewhat, Then In Berlin we meet a podiatrist a writer retrains and sees a community through there feet. Then a divorce and an affair from two different eras are told in One I never loved. Then we ended the month with a powerful description of s[lovenian writer Boris Pahor and his time in c=various concentration camps as a prisoner then as a  medical orderly.My reading has slowed this month as it usually does I always race through books in the new year and then hit the wall. I have written a lot more words than this time last year as my reviews are slowly growing. How has your month been ?

Book of the month-

Necropolis is a powerful telling of the horrors of the Holocaust from the perspective of being a slovenian and the various camps he went to during the war. As I said it is a book everyone should read.

Non book event this month

It has been a very quiet month for me I am off work at the moment  so have been at home a lot we have had our usual walk in the peaks and trips to Bakewell and town for coffees. I have listen to a lot of comfort music mostly shoegazing which is a genre I love and bands like the cure and REM the sort of musical equivalent of comfort reading there is something reassuring in these bands also I drift away with the likes of Slowdive and My bloody valentine. I  also went for comfort tv things like new tricks also been indulging in youtube videos I like book tube but also vanlife, cottage core, productivity and  pen and stationary vlogs it is a rabbit hole that I hadn’t watch a lot til this last few months. Do you have comfort music ?

Next month-

Well it is Man booker  longlist time in March. I have read a few books  I think may be there that I have to review yet as I usually do in the weeks before. As we have 10 days to wait and see what will make this years list it is always a highlight of my year the longlist coming out and seeing what the Judges have chosen there is so many books out there it will be a hard call to chose just 12 or 13 books from the selection that is out there  I imagine. I am doing the shadow Jury  again. Which I will be doing again this year it is always a highlight for me as a reader and last year the chance to chat with everyone on line was amazing. As  for  the  blog Til the list is out it will be a mix of what I am reading  at moment and what \I have read including Grey bees by Andrei Kurkov which has been on my tbr since I was sent it last year and now seems the right time to read it I am also in the middle of The morning star I also would love to get a couple of Arab books in this month as it has been a while since I have reviewed any. I had tried to stop reading multiple books but I needed to read grey bees so made an exemption. from the 10th it will be what ever I haven’t read of the longlist and can get when the list is released I know in recent years there have been books not available when the list comes out which is annoying especially when I can’t get them. I hope to review a few more books this month. What are your plans for next month ?


Stu’s library loot

I returned the two books I had read from the library and I had a look on the online catalogue at what may be on the Booker longlist that I didn’t own and was on the shelves at my local branch which is the main one in town I found two books and then when I was there three other books grabbed my eye. Anyway let’s go through my loot this time I may get to these I may not but I am getting better at renewing books I must have funded a couple of booker list worth of books over the years in fines but with my productivity drive for 2022 in full swing, I need something at the moment as a sidetrack and books are that a way to release some stress.

First up is a book the first in a trilogy from the Finnish writer Antti Tuomainen his first series and had been brought to be made into a film from Amazon it follows the life of a straight-laced Henri Koskinen his job as a mathematician is calculated insurance and this seems to go over to his own life so when life throws him a curveball of ending up losing his job and when his brother dies he gets an adventure park which he meets Laura and finds love and this is something he can’t work out.I must admit I was in love with the cover of this a while ago as Karen from the publisher had retweeted it and its reviews a lot when it came out.

This was one of the two books I went for as I had seen it on a list another blogger had done of potential booker longlist books and it is one I had seen when it came out just the cover I remember seeing it around Twitter. The book follows a woman that sees an Okapi in her dreams as a foretelling of a death in the village she lives in as you all know I am a sucker for books set in villages as they tend to be their own micro-world alongside life and death.I also want to find some new german writers to read in the future the ones I love have all died and I do have a couple I like still as I said yesterday I read more french fiction than I do German fiction.

I had the first book from him sent to me and never got to it and then also like the sound of his second book this is the problem with me sometimes as a reader I am a magpie I like the next sparkly thing and what happens when you are in the middle of an affair and that moment happens when you reach the point of trust and open up and unload secrets to the other person and then a few days later you split. This is what has happened to Pietro and now Teresa knows something about his past I may finally read a book by him. Starnone may be Ferrante’s husband his wife is one of the names near the top of the list of writers who could be Elena Ferrante.

Then I happened to just see this near the Leky on the shelf it was one of the European writer series that penguin had been bringing out the last few years I had reviewed a couple of the titles. I knew this was a book I will be reading as I can finish it in an afternoon it follows an old woman that wakes one day finds an old fox fur scarf and this seems to spur her into a new playful invented word it all sounds a bit odd and maybe captures those moments when we haven’t a lot and make the best and invent the world around us. Have anyone read any others in the series they could point me too ?

I had been avoiding knausgaard after getting through all six of the My struggle series it isn’t that I don’t like him as a writer it is the opposite I actually enjoy his writing. I just wanted a break but when I read up on this that follows a group of nine different characters in two towns as a huge star appears in the sky but as is usual with him it is all in the detail of those lives he looks into. I had brought one of his season’s books that he brought out after my struggle series. I am intending to get all four before reading them so I will probably read this as I am now wanting to know more and I hope it is on the booker which is a bonus if it does as it is a 600-page novel. Has anyone read this book ?

Any other booker tips welcome and what have you brought back from any recent trips to the Library ?

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?


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March 2023


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