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 ?

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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

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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 ?

That was the months that was March April 2017

  1. Cheese by Willem Elssch
  2. Compass by Mathias Enard
  3. Octavio’s journey by Miguel Bonnefoy
  4. The Major Refutation by Pierre Senges
  5. The principle by Jerome Ferrari
  6. Judas by Amos Oz
  7. Fever dream by Samanta Schweblin
  8. Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou
  9. Mirror , Shoulder , Signal by Dorthe Nors
  10. The Santiago Pilgrimage by Jean-Christophe Rufin
  11. Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer
  12. The explosion chronicles by Yan Lianke

 I Missed last month for obvious reasons so this is a round up of the twelve books I managed to review between April and March . One new press Contra Mundun from whom I reviewed The Major Refutation a quirky french novel .Eight countries have been covered by me in the last two months and I have read a number of french novels pushing the blog total to 90 french novels and nearer the goal of 100 for this year . with the twelve here it brings this years total of books reviewed to 38 .

Book of March and April

Compass by Mathias enard

I think this is a masterpiece an ode to a world that has now long gone the syria of many years ago is told over one night and a love story .

None book discovery

Well being Honest this has been a crap couple of months for me . I lost mum in March we had funeral in April and I am now mid way in the process of getting a new job in NHS , so I am rather sad at having to leave a place I have worked for twelve years but with my mum and step mothers passing in the last couple of year I had decided long term I need a job that would see me best in my last twenty odd years of work. But like many folks in time of trouble we seek solace in what we know and for me that has been the last two star wars film which I got on bluray disc the last few months they have given me many an hours break from what has been a hard couple of months.

Looking forward

well we have the shadow shortlist to come out soon . I have a number books I have brought recently and a huge backlog of review books to read. BellaDonna  I hope finish tomorrow is another great book from an old favourite of this blog Dasa Drndic , also the second Peter Owen world series three books from Spain I have read Nona’s room already a stunning collection of short stories .

Feb 2017 that was the month that was

Well it is now two months of round ups this year . Last month I managed to review 13 books the same as January taking total to 26 books under review this year . I also read two new to me press books Noir press  who are bring us Lithuanian lit to English for the first time . Then Belle Vue press an american press that published The attempt . Ten countries covered last month , I managed to read six books for Pushkin press fortnight , I also have one more to review next month . !2 of the 13 books are translation the one non translated work is my first to be for the Burgeess100 celebration of Anthony Burgess .

  1. Breathing into Marble by Laura Sintija Cerniauskaite
  2. The attempt by Magdalena Platzova
  3. His name is David by Jan Vantoortelboom
  4. Echoland by Per Petterson
  5. Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga
  6. The French Father by Alain Elkmann
  7. The Crew by Joseph kessel
  8. Bird in a cage by frederic Dard
  9. Summer before the dark by Volker Wiedermann
  10. Dear reader by Paul Fournel
  11. The mystery of the three orchids by Augusto De Angelis
  12. Trenor of Intent by Anthony Burgess
  13. The buddha’s return by Gaito Gazdanov

Book of the month –

I loved this tale of the last summer before their worlds all change these great writers at various points in the career are caught in the Belgium seaside and my favourite from Pushkin Press fortnight .

Books read –

You can follow what I have been reading on instagram I am a few books ahead as ever of what I am reviewing but with a few long books coming on tbr pile I hope to catch up and be back on par by end of this month .

Non Book discovery

A second new record shop in Chesterfield called Vanishing point I imagine after the film or primal scream track selling second-hand vinyl and CDs . After a year or two with no record shops and from four at one point many year ago it will be nice to have another place to spend time browsing .

How was your month ?

 

 

 

 

Jan 2017 that was the month that was

I am terrible at round ups as all of you may know but every year I try to keep track of what has been read and reviewed this year I am just marking books I have reviewed on the page of my blog not read then reviewed.So I have reviewed 13 books this month . I have gone from Belgium via Quebec, Latin America and Africa and back to europe with books from 13 countries reviewed and 8 new writers to the blog and five with books already on the blog. Three new to the blog publishers as well. Last all Translated of course .

  1. Maigert’s dead man by Geroges Simenon
  2. The old king in his exile by Arno Geiger
  3. Brothers by David Clerson
  4. Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg
  5. Otared by Mohammad rabie
  6. Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
  7. The final bet by Abdelilah Hamdouchi
  8. Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga
  9. The Potato eaters by Manuel Rivas
  10. A horse walks into a bar by David Grossman
  11. The African shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa
  12. 2084 by Boualem Sansal
  13. Havoc by Tom Kristensen

Now book of the month

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For me it is the Danish modernist classic Havoc , simply a classic of its time worthy of Waugh , Joyce or any of the great modernist writers . 600 pages of a man struggle with drinking and falling down that rabbit hole of drinking to much.

Books read

I have read 13 books as well some I have reviewed this other will be reviewed next month. You can follow via my Instagram what I am reading at the moment  as I have been recording my current reads this year over there .

Non book discovery

Each month I want bring some non book related to the month end and this it is a Tv series I have been enjoying over on Netflix it is the series A  series of unfortunate events from the Lemony Snicket ,childrens books. I missed the film with Jim Carey in back when it came out I had by time the film came out had my fill of Mr Carey so came to this not knowing much about the books or film. So for me it was a treat the series style wise reminds me at times of Wes Anderson the same twee world his films live in  the tales of the Baudelaire children as they try to get by after the death of their parents , as the evil relative Count Olaf wonderfully played by Neil Patrick Harris , was he really that loveable kid Doogie Howser MD years ago here as a mad actor and his troop of actors  trying to catch his three relatives for the fortune. What has your month been like ?

That was August on winstonsdad

innocence by Heda Margolius Kovaly

I can’t remember the last time I felt I had blogged enough to be worthy of doing a round-up of my months blogging .Last month was Woman in translation month and through this blog we took a journey around the world . We started in Mexico with The story of my teeth by Valeria Luiselli , the tale of a man selling his teeth as thou they were famous teeth .We then head north to Sweden and a woman falling in love with an artist in a story about how we view love Wilful disregard by Lean Andresson .Then we head to France and a dead bar owner and his customers tell the story of his life and his death in Bar Balto by Faiza Guene .Then a u turn and back up north to Finland and The second book by Sofi Oksanen , when doves disappeared the story of two men during and after the war in Estonia .Then I did a post about my lack of Ferrante fever , I d try to read book one again but be honest still not getting it !!But this next one was a small victory in the type of books I read the exchange of princesses by Chantal Thomas was a great historic novel about a young princesses in France and Spain .Then onto Crime in post war Czechoslovakia and Innocence or murder on the steep street by Heda Margolius Kovaly best known for her memoir she took a slip of American hardboiled crime style and made it her own in Czech style crime in this novel .I then pulled five old reviews from Winstonsdads 500 plus books in translation reviewed .Then we head back on our Journey and to Brazil The passion according to GH by Clarice Lispector is one woman story of how she killed a cockroach the day before in a white room , stunning and the final push I need for the complete  stories which I got this weekend by her .Then I lament the lack of female nobel winners . The I was Asia bound with one of the books of the year The vegetarian by Han Kang the story of one woman after she turned vegetarian in Korea told from three views .The back to France for a third book and Heloise is bald by Emile De Turckheim the story of one girl growing with an older man the apple of her eye .Then back to Korea and another fable tale with the Hen who dreamed she could fly by Sun – Mi Hwang a hen escapes her home and discovers the wider world .Then a non fiction book by a Croatian writer Thank you for not reading By Dubravka Ugresic , a witty and serious look at the world of books from the trivia of western publishing and the reverence of the soviet years of being a writer .Then a slice of great Danish fiction with this should be written in the present tense by Helle Helle , one girls waste years of being at university and not going there but elsewhere .Not bad 12 reviews from woman in Translation .The find of the month was Innocence or murder on a steep street a real gem a slice of american in europe that thankfully missed the censors shredder .

I look forward to this month tomorrow I intend to review a nobel hopeful from Ukraine , then I am doing a classic book from Nigeria , that will start a number of reviews of African based or related books . How is your month looking ?

That was the month that was February 2014

Well after a bright start in January to my blogging year my blog went of the rails slightly last month ,but I had Amanda in hospital thankfully she is ok now and near the end of the month I have used the last of my holidays for 2013/4 so have actually just done not a lot and recharged my batteries but now start to wind back up with the Iffp longlist out in a little under a week I need to review and catch up on books I may have to read for that .but last month I managed to read 11 books and reviewed 8 books also had Pushkin press fortnight which I loved the fact so many people joined in celebrating a publisher I love .I also had a great interview with Hélène Gestern q& a .Also added the Blogging meet up in June in Sheffield 

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Polychrome by Joanna Jodełka poland
Oliver VII by Antal Szarb
Every promise by Andrea Bajani Italy
Journey into the past by Stefan Zweig austria
the break by Pietro Grossi Italy
Amok and other stories by Stefan Zweig Austria
Death in Pont-Aven by Jean-Luc Bannalec france
The late Monsieur Gallet by Georges Simenon Belgium
A french novel by Frederic Beigbeder france
Pigs foot by Carlos Acosta Cuba
Dead star by Alavro Bisama Chile

I ve already read two great books in march and am looking forward to reading the new Andres Neuman novel and doing Shadow Iffp post .What are your plans for March ?

That was the month that was Jan 2014

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Well I got 2014 off with a bang I managed to review 19 books on the blog which is the most I have acheived for a couple of years  and I  have read 16 books also my best ever start for a year .So I decide it is about time I brought back the month end round up posts  .A great start here is what I read in January –

  1. the art and craft of approaching your head of department to submit a request for a raise by Georges Perec france
  2. The confusion of young Törless by Robert Musil Austria
  3. Naomi by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki Japan
  4. Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon Belgian
  5. Miruna ,a tale by  Bogdan Suceavă Romanian
  6. The restaurant of love regained by Ito Ogawa Japan
  7. Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop – Phane france (review in march )
  8. The people in the photo by Helene Gestern france (review in feb)
  9. The lonely hearts club by Raul Nunez argentina
  10. The last day of a condemned man by Victor Hugo France
  11. Botchan by Natsume Soseki Japan
  12. The space between us by Zoya Pipzad Iran
  13. The infatuations  by Javier Marias spain
  14. The castle of whispers by Carole Martinez France
  15. The front seat passenger by Pascal Garnier france
  16. Crumbs by Miha Mazzini  Slovenia

As you see a real mix but with French novels and Japanese to the fore .I think the real gem of the month is Zenith Hotel a book that comes out in march but one that I read and instantly called the best book I had read for a long time .I enjoyed taking part in Tony’s January in Japan event again .

Books read 2014 to date – 16

Countries read from – 9

Next month – Well Pushkin press fortnight is at the end of the month I have a couple I read last year to review for that and also halfway through a couple on my kindle .I’ve a new French crime series to start .

What were your highlights for January ?

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