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.

 

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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.

That was the month that was February 2018

  1. Slum virgins by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara
  2. Bled dry by Abdelilah Hamdouchi
  3. Love/war by Ebba Witt-Brattstrom
  4. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin
  5. Maryam keeper of stories by Alawiya Sobh
  6. Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sönmez
  7. The Black notebook by Patrick Modiano
  8. So you don’t get lost in the Neighbourhood by Patrick Modiano

I managed to review eight books last month. A quieter month than last year. But I feel every book, I read this month was one I would recommend to any other reader. I managed to read two of the three books for the EBRD LIT prize shortlist. I had to read for the Shadow Jury. I read books from six languages and seven countries. Also Seven publishers. No new publishers to the blog this month.

Book of the month

As I said it was a hard month. To Choose the book of the month.  All the books could have been a book of a month on another month. This is maybe the most important book on the list lit-wise as it is one of the cornerstones of Modernist literature and finally we get a better idea of what Doblin had in mind for his journey through the darker side of Berlin. Michael Hoffman has breathed life into this book.

None book discovery

Well, I am a fan of streaming films tv shows. I found another new service this month. Filmstruck has been in the US for a number of years.  It has a partnership with the Criterion collection the US DVD company, this means it has some gems in the collection. Gems from them on her include Three Colours, which I have the DVD of but not seen in HD. They also have a number of Andrei Tarkovsky’s films including Stalker.I look forward to seeing what else they have to watch.

 

Jan 2018 Winston’s month

  1. To the back of beyond by Peter Stamm
  2. Secret passages in a hillside town by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
  3. Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
  4. A poison Apple by Michel Laub
  5. The red-haired woman by Orhan Pamuk
  6. So the path does not die by Pede Hollist
  7. Confession of a murderer by Joseph Roth
  8. The book of Tbilisi by Comma press
  9. Fireflies by Luis Sagasti

I managed to review 9 books over the month, which given the fact I had six-night shifts in January wasn’t bad.I had one new Press to the blog Charco Press.I read books from nine countries including the first books from Sierra Leone and Georgia. Also books from nine languages.

Book of the month

Image result for fireflies luis

Fireflies is such a unique book style and the way it has stuck with me since I have read it. Another example of why we nee the small presses for those gems like this book that defy genre and pigeonholing. That maybe wouldn’t see the light of day with a Larger publisher. Also, remind me of how much I loved Joesph Beuys artworks .

None book discovery

We don’t often go to the cinema, but Amanda had won employee of the month at work and had two free tickets. So we have different taste be agreed on the new Speilberg Film The Post a film about the leaking of Pentagon papers about the Vietnam war. It is also the first time Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep have been in a film and was wonderfully done with a real feel of early seventies US also left a glint for a follow up in the Watergate affair(Very much apt in Trumps time).

How was your month?

That was the month that was August 2017

  1. The ultimate tragedy by Abdulai Sila
  2. Winter Quarters by Osvaldo Soriano
  3. Inventing love by Jose Ovejero
  4. Seeing red by Lina Meruane
  5. The painter of birds by Lidia Jorge
  6. FAdo Alexandrino by Antonio Lobo Antunes
  7. Mister Blue by Jacques Poulin
  8. An animal called mist by Ledicia Costas
  9. The exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto
  10. The white city by Karolina Ramqvist

I managed to review ten books on the blog last month. From 8 countries, no new publishers this month. But one new country for the blog Guinea Bissau with the first book to be published in English. Bring the total books reviewed this year on the blog to 75 still in the range of getting 100 books reviewed this year on the blog.

Book of the month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fado Alexandrino by Antoino Lobo Antunes

A novel that looked at the disaster that was Portugal at war in Africa a sort of European Vietnam from the point of view of five men that fought at the same time and lives went in different ways after what happened there. Proof if need, why Antunes runs high in Nobel, Lit betting in recent years.

Non-book discovery

Well , I’ve been taken back to my childhood recently with Drama the UK Tv channel starting of the long running UK police series The Bill from the beginning which was in 1984 , it was one of the first shows I was allowed to stay up and watch as a kid so I am enjoying rewatching them 33 years later.

Next month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a number of new books I have brought a couple from the US publisher  Open letter and the latest Javier Cercas one of my favourite writers of all time.

What was your favourite last month ?

That was the month was July 2017

  1. The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel
  2. Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima
  3. Nona’s room by Cristina Fernandez Cubas
  4. The hive by Camilo Jose Cela
  5. The Irish Sea by Carlos Maleno
  6. Severina by Rodrigo Rey Rosa
  7. Wolf Moon by Julio Llamazares
  8. The secret of Evil by Roberto Bolano
  9. Ash Wednesday by Miguel-Anxo Murado
  10. Before by Carmen Boullosa

I manage to read books from 6 countries last month. I also read from one new publisher New Vessel a press, I had been wanting to try so was pleased to get a paper edition of one of their books. I started my new job this month and I am now doing three long days a week doing 13 and half hour days which will take some time to get a new blog routine. I fully started last week of the month as I had 19-day training last month. Anyway back to the blog we got off to a good start with Spanish lit month. I managed to read 8 books for that and expanded it out next month to include Portuguese lit into the Spanish lit month.

Book Of July

Image result for the hive camilo jose cela

The Hive was my book of the month the second book by the late Nobel winner Camilo Jose Cela was a book buzzong with life of post civil war Spain an undercurrent of the anger that was just below. It was one of two books about the civil war the second was Wolf moon also following a post civil war that with people on the run and hiding from Franco’s forces.

Non Book discovery

I have to keep harping back on to Mark Kozelek band Sun Kill Moon released a second collaboration with British experimental band Jesu. This like his three most recent records is Mark singing about his life and day to day events around him, he has become in some ways the Thomas Bernhard of alt rock in these recent albums a vent of anger at times and also a world wide view. This is just a singer at the peak of his songwriting.

Here is one of my favourite tracks a one with a number of Lit references in it as he received a book from a fan that is a bit of a beat hipster in the way he looks.

That was the month that was June 2017

 

  1. Maigret and the man on the bench by Georges Simenon
  2. Butterfly wings by Mohamed Salmawy
  3. Eve out of her ruins by Ananda Devi
  4. Our Dead World by Liliana Colanzi
  5. The portrait by Antoine Laurain
  6. Nevada days by Bernardi Atxaga

Now I always Knew it would be a thin month book-wise in June, I left my current job on the 2nd of this month and had a wedding in Croydon for the first weekend and Seven days in Scotland with Amanda, I had hoped to read more but time and sunny weather cut into my reading time. Then on Monday I started my new job for the NHS and had my first of two weeks training .so the total of books read has risen to 55 still on course for the 100 for the year mark.

Book of June

A selection of the Basque writers experience in the US gives us a glimpse at the country from an outsider’s eye, but also a writer looking back on his life and what is to come. This is what we need publishers to do publish the books from writers that aren’t straight fiction.

None book discovery

MY new job has opened my eyes to what I can maybe do in the future it seems an NHS service keen on promoting staff to learn and move forward.I hope to do when I am settled in my new job.

Next month

More training at the new job and starting the new job may slow my reading down, I am reading a French novel from the US press New vessel at the moment and have a couple from Maclehose waiting on my tbr pile . What are you reading this month

That was the month that was May 2017

  1. War and turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
  2. The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen
  3. Traitors Niche by Ismail Kadare
  4. Fish have no feet by Jon kalman Stefansson
  5. Monte Carlo By Peter Terrin
  6. Mourning diary by Roland barthes
  7. Bodies of summer by Martin Felipe Castagnet
  8. Hair everywhere by Tea Tulic
  9. Belladonna by Dasa Drndic
  10. The Children by Carolina Sanin
  11. Listening for Jupiter by Pierre-Luc Landry

Things got back to normal on the blog this month after a couple of lean months review wise. I managed to finish the man booker longlist. I managed to read books from 10 countries .No new Publishers this month but the second book from Notting hill editions the Barthes Diary. So I have reviewed 49 books this year on the blog leaving me on course to read over 100 books this year.

Book of May

Belladonna by Dasa Drndric

It is a tough month as there has been a number of books that have touched me the Barthes is a great book for me at the moment but in the long run Dasa’s book is one that needs to be read Andreas Ban is a anti hero that shows us , what we need to be thinking about.

None book discovery

 

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I am due to leave work tomorrow after 17 years , I am sad but also looking forward to my new job in three weeks. I have just brought a Lomo La sardina Camera for my holiday next month, a retro camera with flash filter should make some memorable photos from our holiday.

Looking forward

 

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I have had a little extra money last few months so have slowly been getting some US translations from publishers like Open letter, Dalkey archive , Deep Vellum and archipelago books . The Castagnet from this month was the first of these books , I have a Magdalena Tulli I am reading at the moment. How was your month and what plans have you to read next month ?

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