That was the month that was April 2020

  1. Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann
  2. Memoirs of a Woman Doctor by Nawal El Saadawi
  3. lets give it up for Gimme Lao by Sebastian Sim
  4. The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting
  5. I.city by Pavel Brycz

I only managed to review five books last month which I think is the lowest in the time I have blogged well. I managed one new country with a book from Singapore and the publisher of that book Epigram. MY journey started in medieval Germany with a jester taking center stage. Then one woman’s journey to being a doctor in post-war Egypt her struggle to get there based somewhat on the Nawal El Saadawi own life experience.   Then the story of post-independence Singapore from one family point of view. Then a new priest ruffles feathers in a small town by trying to take the Stave church and modernize the church and village. Then the story of one town in the Czech republic that in small parts they tell the story of the town of Most that have seen its heart torn out when it was torn down for mining. I edge closer to the 1000 book reviews which I am now 3 reviews short of this total. Which has become my Everest I think once I don this I will return to normal blog-wise. If that makes sense.

Book of the month –

I city by Pavel Byrcz

I have always enjoyed the books from Twisted spoon and this is great example of what they do a book that has a different form a town tells its story and that is one of loss and a heart of a city now gone but still carrying on .

The month ahead

I plan to finish reviewing the booker international books I also have one new country with a book from Thailand and that 1000 review book which I am currently reading. I’ve been of this week and am feeling refreshed maybe not read a lot but I have spent time with Amanda so I feel in the mood to read which the last few months I haven’t.

Non book-related matters-

I have brought three CDs from Martin Stephenson that I have had my eye in for a while he is a singer who in the late eighties and early nineties I enjoyed his albums with the Daintees having first heard him on John Peel. Well, I decide to buy a live a re-recording of his debut as an acoustic set and a recent album. So they shall be on in the car as I head to work next month. I have also been listening and downloading The BBC show Stereo Underground which is a local radio show that plays old school indie, punk, and alternative music. I think every show I have to listen to I have had old favorites and a couple that I hadn’t heard since the day. Times are hard here I worked with covioid on the ward I work at and Amanda at home classed as highly vulnerable this has worried me but I love my job and wife which meant I just did my job and took real care. I wish everyone well in these strange times.

That was the month that was Feb 2020

  1. Snow, Dog, Foot by Claudio Morandini
  2. The siege of Troy by Theodor Kallifatides
  3. The Happening by Annie Ernaux
  4. A perfect Hoax by Italo Svevo
  5. The Salt of the Earth by Jozef Wittlin
  6. The roar of Morning by Tip Marugg
  7. The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez
  8. This Tilting World by Collette Fellous

This month I read 8 books to take the total to 16 for the year. I read books from 6 countries. One new country Curacao with the book the roar of the morning there was no new publishers but I started in the Italian Alps with a hermit a long-dead foot and a talking dog. Then a greek island during world war two and a teacher retelling a greek classic tho her pupils. Then a woman remembering the horror of a backstreet abortion. A writer is lead astray by a con man and a simple man goes to war but really would rather be on the trains. As a man contemplates his life in those wee hours of the morning when the world is silent and the mind wanders. The matriarch of a family starts having falls the family gets m,ore fragile and cracks appear. Then a lost world of Jews in Tunisia.

Book of the month

Its been a tough month as there wasn’t a weak read but this book had a great flow to it and there was a real sense of a man weighing up his life at the Roar of the morning when the day comes he has drinks in his hands as he looks back on the major events of his life.

Non- book events

Amanda and I are doing a charity swim for the next few weeks. we are trying to do 22 miles the distance of the channel. we are one week in and over 2 miles swam. I also have been listening to Gregg Dulli from the Afghan Whigs solo debut album.

Next month

I am on the three of the books from the Booker longlist. Which has seen me read about two people with the same name in the same town? A man trying to write about his past. Then a ghost talks about her family move to a small village. I have just finished Three night this morning so will be posting reviews I  have eight books left to read which I think will take up this month although I have a couple of other books I need read.

 

That was the month that was October 2019

  1. Agnes by Peter Stamm
  2. Under pressure by Faruk Šehić
  3. The jeweler by Caryl Lewis
  4. Faces on the tip of my tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano
  5. Bellevue by Ivana Dobrakovoa
  6. Vile bodies by Evelyn waugh
  7. The Rebels by Sándor Márai
  8. Murder at the vicarage by Agatha christie
  9. The Funeral Party by Ludmilla Ulitskaya
  10. The night circus by Uršuľa Kovalyk
  11. Falstaff: Apotheosis by Pierre Senges

I managed to read eleven books this month and I have got back on course to read 100 books this year. I read books from eight countries and I had books from three new publishers to the blog I start off with a german Novel set in the US a story of a unit in the Balkan conflict. A jeweler that connects with the people who owned the jewels the quirky french countryside a Slovenia girl goes to Southern France for a Job in care. Then it was to the swinging thirties in London then a group of Hungarian schoolkids and back to a small English Village and a Murder in the Vicarage. Then back to the Us and a Russian Emigre dies another set of quirky stories this time from Slovenia and then to finish of a reworking of Shakespears Falstaff’s life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book of the month

I joined the Kickstarter for this book I had read his first book to be translated into English. The book is an interlinking collection of short stories that tell one unit’s time in the Balkan conflict, Faruk himself lead a similar unit so this is a wart and all account of the Balkan conflicts. A great pleasure to see how Kickstarters are able to bring us books in translation maybe a few more publishers should try for those unusual or that second book from a writer.

Non-book events

I have been swimming for the last few months and am now starting to feel the benefit of it and although I am not losing weight I am feeling fitter and healthier. I have also been a fan of a new band last while the band Warmduscher has a wicked single midnight dipper very catchy song. How was your month ?

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.

 

That was the month that was August 2019

  1. A nail and a rose by Madeleine Bourdouxhe
  2. Doppelganger by Dasa Drndric
  3. And the wind sees by Guðmundur Andri Thorsson 
  4. Scar by Sara Mesa
  5. The last days of el Comandante by Alberto Barrera Tyszka
  6. Transfer window by Maria Gerhardt
  7. Shadows on the tundra by Dalia Grinkevičiūtė
  8. One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Mrquez

Book of the month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any ont that has read the blog the last few years won’t be surprised that I have chosen this collection of two short stories by the late great Dasa Drndic. A writer I was lucky to meet and admire more after meeting her and seeing her view of the world which was similar to mine. I still have her last novel, for now, to hope we see more of her earlier books in English.

Last month

I managed to review eight books on the blog from eight countries from seven publishers a mix for Women in translation month and Spanish lit month. I also did thirty covers from women in translation from all around the world past and present. My reading took me from Belgian housewife in the inter-war years, two stories with mirroring themes one a doomer love affair between an older couple. Then two stories one capturing a second in Iceland as a woman in dotty dress cycles by and then a warped internet love affair. Then death from the last years of the late Venezuelan l,eader Hugo Chavez after that I had a story from a woman in the futuristic hospice than the last two books a lost tale of a woman’s Gulag years and a family saga set in Macondo in the Jungle in Columbia.  An interesting month

Non-book events well I have been listening to the debut album by the punk band Black midi another new band for this year my end of year record review for this year will be interesting as caught many new bands this year

 

That was the month thart was the half way point june 2019

  1. The train was on time by Heinrich Boll
  2. Prague by Maude Veilleux
  3. Selfies by Sylvie Weil
  4. Jalaleddin by Raffi
  5. Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain
  6. Red dog Willem Anker
  7. A gun for sale by Graham Greene

I managed just seven reviews last month and got to 45 books reviewed so far this year. I read books from six countries one new press Sophene which is a new press that are publishing works from Armenia.I still feel I will get to hundred books reviewed this year I just need pick the pace up with an extra book a month plus I always blog more in the winter months and have Spanish and Portuguese lit month next month.

Book of the month

Selfies.jpg

I loved this collection of interlink short stories all themed around a piece of art and other things that reminded Sylvie Weil of events in her own life a clever framing device and some more interesting autofiction from France also another great title from Les Fugitives that is publishing the best of female french writing.

Non book events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, it has been a quiet month, on the whole, I have just had a lovely day in the sun as we had the warmest day of the year, as you see I have come over all summery. In the last week, I have found a number of Joseph Conrad books second hand I have brought them as he seems to be a writer that isn’t as well regard as he was when I was younger. I know his works maybe aren’t as PC as other but he was still an influential writer and I am looking forward to trying some of his less known works.

Looking forward

I am just about to finish my first book for Spanish lit month and then have a 600-page Spanish novel called Homeland by Fernando Aramburu that has been called a new war and peace. I also have a couple of Portuguese books lined up for the month!

that was the month that was Sept 2018

books read –

  1. in every wave by Charles Quimper
  2. Endless blue sky by Lee Hyoseok
  3. Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava
  4. Drive your Plow over the bones of the dead by Olga Tokarczuk
  5. Explosions by Mathieu Poulin
  6. Eleven Prague Corpses by Krill Kobrin
  7. Everyday life by Lydie Salvayre
  8. The dog by Kerstin Ekman

I managed to review a number of books from seven countries and from all around the world. I traveled from a man struggling with the passing of his daughter then to Korea and  Manchuria in the pre-war years. A dazzling novel of modern America and two people at different ends of modern America. People turn up dead in a valley in a distant area of Poland. Then we imagined that Michael Bay is actually a visionary and challenging filmmaker with themes behind his films. Then an expat Russian in Prague solves a number of deaths in the city. A city he isn’t a fan of either. Then a secretary sees a new arrival as her enemy or is it more than that is she losing her mind !! Then a feral dog grows from a pup to an adult away from man but is slowly drawn back by one man and his old grey dog.No new publishers but a real selection of styles of writing and types of fiction from short Borges stories through Poetic prose of suffering and then the chaos of modern America caught on the page through various forms of writing.

Book of the month- In every wave by Charles Quimper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This short but powerful book has a man trying to capture what happened when his daughter drowned. His marriage then falls apart and he only feels at home and near her on his sailboat as he tries to relive that day to see if it could have ended differently.This is one of the most touching books of recent years.

Discovery of the month-

My non-book discovery is the Sky arts series treasures of the British Library where a number of Stars four so far have visited the library. They get to choose six items that relate or have inspired them from people they admire or events they what to visit and the library have found piece connect to them. Like Nicola Benedetti when she gets to touch Beethovens tuning fork an item that has been touch by many great figures in classical music.A series that show the power of Libraries and preserving the past.

Next month-

I  am struggling with life at the moment so have found reading hard the last week or so but I am planning to read a couple of NYRB books for Lizzy Siddal’s  NYRB book fortnight. Then a couple for German Lit month. I have the Latest Javier Marias on order from the Library and have a few old Dalkey books to read. I just want to get my general Mojo back and my reading back to normal.

 

That was the month that was August 2018

  1. Zero by Gine Cornelia Pedersen
  2. The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa
  3. One hundred twenty one days by Michele Audin
  4. A cat, a man and two women by Junichiro Tanizaki
  5. The tree of the Toraja by Philippe Claudel

I only managed to review five books last month as I had a long break no new countries and no new publishers. Three new writers to the blog including Tanizaki which is a writer I wanted to feature on the blog for a while. I also feature another from the Nordisk books which has brought a few gems out so far.

Book of the month

 

I was touched by this book. I am finding books that deal with death and grieving have come more important to me. This is the latest by Philippe Claudel which is a writer I had featured a few times on the blog. For me this is his best book and one will be recommending to people in the future. 
The month ahead
I had read a few other books last month so some catch-up reviews. Which will give me a number of days at the start of this month to read The end the last volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s autobiographical novel. I started it earlier today and am drawn in already 100 pages in of the eleven hundred pages. I then have a few review copies to read and to start prepping for german lit month with a few German novels.

That was the month that was july 2018

  1. Skylight by José Saramago
  2. The shape of the ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
  3. The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato
  4. Op Oloop by Juan Filloy
  5. The Taker by Rubem Fonseca
  6. Sergeant Getulio by Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro
  7. They won’t take me alive by Claribel Alegria
  8. A map drawn by a spy Guillermo Cabrera Infante

I Managed eight books last month all for Spanish and Portuguese lit months. Which I have been running with Richard for a number of years . My month took me around Latin america mainly with two books from Argentina and Brazil. No new countries. One new piublisher Womans press published the Alegria book and it is the first from this press I have read. It means I have read 57 books this year well down on recent years.

Book of the month

Op Olloop by Juan Filloy An older novel from Argentina about a man obsessed with time and routines who’s engagement day goes horribly wrong when his schedules go awry. A witty and unusual book and a perfect example of why I read translated fiction.

Non book discovery

I not featured a film for a while and this Amanda and I watched the other day is about a man that haunts a house till it goes then tries to  end it only to get before the house was built and live it all again little dialogue clever use of music and lingering shots add to an air of a lost soul.

 

That was the month that was May 2018

Books read –

  1. Scenes from a childhood by Jon Fosse
  2. The Blind spot by Javier Cercas
  3. The moon and the bonfire by Cesare Pavese
  4. Money to Burn by Ricardo Piglia
  5. This too shall pass by Milena Busquets
  6. Alma Mahler by Sasho Dimoski
  7. Document 1 by François Blais
I have chosen The Blind spot. I find the more I have read over the years the more books and essays about books especially collections like this one lead me further down the path of discovering writers but also think about books in different ways. Hear the point Cercas makes about blind spots in books made me think of many books afterward from the English patient to Belladonna and there blind spots. Maybe I am like Ahab hunting that book to end all books my endless battle with lit in translation is like the cruise to take on Moby dick.
Non-book discovery-
Well not a really non-book discovery this month, but more non-book as in not reading but Imagine the Uk show that is broadcast a few times a had a new episode and it was about the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. Well in the UK I think it is still on Iplayer (Also the double episode with Philip Roth is available at mo as well) I am a Pamuk fan but what really caught me was his notebooks he showed of paintings and writing. I was struck I used to do small watercolors in my youth, not anything that artistic but something I enjoyed so I decided I would start a notebook of memories of my mum using words and pictures as I try to remember my mum and also create something at the same time.
Next month
I am nearly done with a clever Japanese crime novel and then have the two latest Istros books and also  a Taiwanese collection to read and mostly start feeling less numb and down.

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