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 ?

Crime dagger Translation and the Queens jubilee read projects

I am best when I have an idea or  a project to make me blog.  but sometimes as it has happened with what should off been Archipelago books week which I missed. Anyway I have two personal projects I am keener on my own individual projects so when I got a email for the Crime dagger awards on the short list for the awards. Which features the Award for crime novels in Translation which had two books I had one I had read Bullet train and the other The rabbit factor.

CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER

  • Hotel Cartagena, Simone Buchholz translated by Rachel Ward (Orenda Books)
  • Bullet Train, Kōtarō Isaka translated by Sam Malissa (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)
  • Oxygen, Sacha Naspini translated by Clarissa Botsford (Europa Editions UK Ltd; Europa Editions)
  • People Like Them, Samira Sedira translated by Lara Vergnaud (Bloomsbury Publishing; Raven Books)
  • The Rabbit Factor, Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)

So I order two from the net and one from the library and will read them over the next few weeks. I’m not timetabling myself it features two books from Orenda books who had sent me a lot of books in the past and have always been great promoters of crime in translation. Have you read any of the books on the list.

The complete Big Jubilee Read list

From 1952 to 1961

  • The Palm-Wine Drinkard – Amos Tutuola (1952, Nigeria)
  • The Hills Were Joyful Together – Roger Mais (1953, Jamaica)
  • In the Castle of My Skin – George Lamming (1953, Barbados)
  • My Bones and My Flute – Edgar Mittelholzer (1955, Guyana)
  • The Lonely Londoners – Sam Selvon (1956, Trinidad and Tobago/England)
  • The Guide – RK Narayan (1958, India)
  • To Sir, With Love – ER Braithwaite (1959, Guyana)
  • One Moonlit Night – Caradog Prichard (1961, Wales)
  • A House for Mr Biswas – VS Naipaul (1961, Trinidad and Tobago/England)
  • Sunlight on a Broken Column – Attia Hosain (1961, India)

From 1962 to 1971

  • A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess (1962, England)
  • The Interrogation – JMG Le Clezio (1963, France/Mauritius)
  • The Girls of Slender Means – Muriel Spark (1963, Scotland)
  • Arrow of God – Chinua Achebe (1964, Nigeria)
  • Death of a Naturalist – Seamus Heaney (1966, Northern Ireland)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys (1966, Dominica/Wales)
  • A Grain of Wheat – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1967, Kenya)
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay (1967, Australia)
  • The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah (1968, Ghana)
  • When Rain Clouds Gather – Bessie Head (1968, Botswana/South Africa)

From 1972 to 1981

  • The Nowhere Man – Kamala Markandaya (1972, India)
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – John Le Carre (1974, England)
  • The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough (1977, Australia)
  • The Crow Eaters – Bapsi Sidhwa (1978, Pakistan)
  • The Sea, The Sea – Iris Murdoch (1978, England)
  • Who Do You think You Are? – Alice Munro (1978, Canada)
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (1979, England)
  • Tsotsi – Athol Fugard (1980, South Africa)
  • Clear Light of Day – Anita Desai (1980, India)
  • Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (1981, England/India)
  • Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally (1982, Australia)

  • Beka Lamb – Zee Edgell (1982, Belize)
  • The Bone People – Keri Hulme (1984, New Zealand)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (1985, Canada
  • Summer Lightning – Olive Senior (1986, Jamaica)
  • The Whale Rider – Witi Ihimaera (1987, New Zealand)The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro (1989, England)
  • Omeros – Derek Walcott (1990, Saint Lucia)
  • The Adoption Papers – Jackie Kay (1991, Scotland)
  • Cloudstreet – Tim Winton (1991, Australia)

From 1992 to 2001

  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje (1992, Canada/Sri Lanka)
  • The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields (1993, Canada)
  • Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah (1994, Tanzania/England)
  • A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry (1995, India/Canada)
  • Salt – Earl Lovelace (1996, Trinidad and Tobago)
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy (1997, India)
  • The Blue Bedspread – Raj Kamal Jha (1999, India)
  • Disgrace – J M Coetzee (1999, South Africa/Australia)
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith (2000, England)
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel (2001, Canada)

From 2002 to 2011

  • Small Island – Andrea Levy (2004, England)
  • The Secret River – Kate Grenville (2005, Australia)
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (2005, Australia)
  • Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006, Nigeria)
  • A Golden Age – Tahmima Anam (2007, Bangladesh)
  • The Boat – Nam Le (2008, Australia)
  • Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel (2009, England)
  • The Book of Night Women – Marlon James (2009, Jamaica)
  • The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna (2010, Sierra Leone/Scotland)
  • Chinaman – Shehan Karunatilaka (2010, Sri Lanka)

From 2012 to 2021

  • Our Lady of the Nile – Scholastique Mukasonga (2012, Rwanda)
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton (2013, New Zealand)
  • Behold the Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue (2016, Cameroon)
  • The Bone Readers – Jacob Ross (2016, Grenada)
  • How We Disappeared – Jing-Jing Lee (2019, Singapore)
  • Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo (2019, England)
  • The Night Tiger – Yangsze Choo (2019, Malaysia)
  • Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart (2020, Scotland)
  • A Passage North – Anuk Arudpragasam (2021, Sri Lanka)
  • The Promise – Damon Galgut (2021, South Africa)

Then we have this list which I intend to try and read over the next 12 months it is the Queens Jubilee and this list has come out of a book a year and from around the commonwealth. It has a lot of books  that I have been reader favourites and I may have passed over the years.Now I am keen on the list as it has a few old favourites there is a few books on the list `I have reviewed over the time I have blogged which I will mark uo when I make a page for this project. . There is also six countries which I haven’t read books from so when I was in Bakewell today it was great to find two books from the list I had read disgrace pre blog times and I had a copy of stone diaries which I had but think I long since gave away. I have strarted on the list with To sire with love, but won’t be following an order as in years I’ll just jump from book to book. It will just be as I feel which books appeal over the next year. Which books I have at hand I need to get a most of the books on the list but I feel most my library will have or I can buy second hand. So I will try and read all seventy of the books from this may to next May. Anyone any favourites on this list?

The Booker international Diaries 2022

Edited in Prisma app with Watercolor image from booker

I decided to try and do a weekly look at the progress of my attempt to read all the booker international longlisted books. The longlist came out yesterday I was sitting as I try to be most years pressing refresh on the booker site as though it was a news feed. I love to have been around in ticker-tape times seeing the news v=come in little strips of paper. I made the mistake of thinking the list was only eight books as it had part upload on a refresh so then I went on Twitter happy I hadń so many books to get anyway after seeing it was the usual 13 books I then looked at the list.

Fernanda Melchor (Mexico) & Sophie Hughes
– Paradais (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Mieko Kawakami (Japan), Sam Bett & David Boyd
– Heaven (Picador)

Sang Young Park (South Korea) & Anton Hur
– Love in the Big City (Tilted Axis Press)

Norman Erikson Pasaribu (Indonesia) & Tiffany Tsao
– Happy Stories, Mostly (Tilted Axis Press)

Claudia Piñeiro (Argentina) & Frances Riddle
– Elena Knows (Charco Press)

Violaine Huisman (France) & Leslie Camhi
– The Book of Mother (Virago)

David Grossman (Israel) & Jessica Cohen
– More than I Love My Life (Jonathan Cape)

Paulo Scott (Brazil) & Daniel Hahn
– Phenotypes (And Other Stories)

Jon Fosse (Norway) & Damion Searls
– A New Name: Septology VI-VII (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Jonas Eika (Denmark) & Sherilyn Hellberg
– After the Sun (Lolli Editions)

Geetanjali Shree (India) & Daisy Rockwell
– Tomb of Sand (Tilted Axis Press)

Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) & Jennifer Croft
– The Books of Jacob (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Bora Chung (South Korea) & Anton Hur
– Cursed Bunny (Honford Star)

We have a reaction post from our slack feed that Tony has done. I expected to read more than other years I felt the last year or two I haveń had my finger on the pulse as much as I once did. The books on the list, on the whole, I was aware of bar two and the other 11 most were mentioned by one or other of the shadow jury or on Twitter to me so I am happy to have some reading to do , I knew any list Frank be involved with would be great. I owned the tilted axis books as I have a subscription for this ear which was great. I have read Love in the big city and reviewed it but hadń reviewed Tomb of sand I am suffering a real crisis in confidence around doing reviews and this is one of the two books on the list I had read think they be on the list then I panic reviewing them and now will have to reread it which is great as it was one of my favourite books of this year. As for happy stories, mainly had partly read.   I had the Fosse but not read book two of this series and this is book three I have both so will read them I had reviewed the first part and The book of Jacob Iis the other book I had read and then sat panicking around my review I doń know why after 1100 reviews I just started to worry  I maybe need to go back and this post is maybe a way of going back in how I used to blog. The other Fitzcarraldo book Paradais isń out yet and I doń get sent many as over the year I haveń reviewed the ones I’ve been sent I have reviewed a number of their books so I may have wait until it comes out. I checked my library they had the  David Grossman which is one I would be able to borrow from my library at some point as I have reviewed three of his books on the blog and enjoyed his books I fetch that yesterday morning. They had Huisman this is one I had missed I mean I not able to remember every book I see mentioned but I tried to find it in the library but it must have been about somewhere so I ordered it to collect and will do so in the week. I then looked for the three I could get now they are Heaven that I picked up yesterday and then After the sun coming today and Phenotypes coming next week. I was sent cursed rabbit but it has hidden may be gone down a book rabbit hole Iḿ not sure if I shelved it somewhere or if it may have accidentally been thrown out in a pile of the weekend papers anyway I look again if not I’ll order it next week then it will turn up !! That’s it so I knew about an hour after the list came out that the list would be in the house by this time next week. I decided to start with Happy stories, mostly which is the second book I have read from Indonesia and I had part read it and was grabbed by the style also the interview between the translator and writer at the end of the book is very insightful. I chose this just to hit the ground running I thought I could knock off the short books and this is the case as I finished that earlier and had to start Heaven last night I hadń read Breast and eggs and I may be as yo know avoid hype books this is a quick read and shall finish that tonight. I think by this time next week or so I will have four reads and then the week after finish all the others bar the two epics. then leave time for Tomb of sand which is a large book but a quick read and then Books of Jacob. I finished it in January but will read it again. So David set up a slack group for this year and then the longlist was put in individual chats? anyway, we have started discussing each book we also have our spreadsheet that we score to get our long list to our shortlist and this year we will be having a group chat over the video, which for me was the highlight of the year it is so good to put a face and also I struggle so much with tweets these days after yet again having my grammar highlighted I know my grammar is poor its slightly better than it was but still a let down for me. So we are on our way this will be a weekly post where I talk about reading the books mention my reviews maybe other bits I just fancied trying something different and I will be back with the first review of the book Happy stories mostly.What are your thoughts on the list?

#ProjectSolenoid lets get ready !!

I am starting a project around the forthcoming Publication of the first English translation of Solenoid.I felt as though as a reader it was above me but then I decide why was that the case?  I have read 1100 translations over the last twelve years  of winstonsdad have many people read many more?  I often belittle my knowledge as often it isn’t that I haven’t the knowledge of books etc. I am not able to often make connections etc this is mainly due to time as most reviews I write in an Hour as I hate loss reading time, But Now the time is to maybe turn this around and this is why I am starting Project Solenoid if you like me have felt that people are discussing a book and you feel as thou it is above you why? I used to feel this about Uylsess a book I have read umpteen times but over the year I pushed and pushed reread the book listen to podcasts read lots of books about Ulysses and Joyce’s world. This is a book that is very similar to  Joyce’s work so let’s break it up to little bits and build a base to start are reading from if we have read books abut the time, influencers on his writing, films from Romania etc let’s get to the heart of  Solenoid and lets discover ourselves !!  I have read 8 books from Romania more than most, in fact, I have read a lot of Eastern European fiction  This is a book from the Romanian writer Mircea  Cărtărescu a name that is often on the list of potential Nobel winners he has had a number of books translated I have already read one by him Why we love woman. A lesser work but to me, it seemed a great intro. Now there is a great post about the book from The Untranslated here. I am wanting to start a simpler guide to the book before we read it or even just I read it what I have in mind is using this post and any interviews I can find  I have this one so far from Music and Literature Here where we see him mention a number of Books to build a reading list of books that could be read before the English translation comes out. So where to start I decided that maybe the history of Romania at the time be worth it reading so I found this to start Paul Kenyon history book came out a while ago I have ordered this to read from the Library.

I have also ordered books that were mentioned by E M Cioran and Thomas Ligeti . Also The Gadfly by Ethel Lilian Voynich I am now reading which is mentioned in the book and meant to be a book widely read in Eastern Europe at the time. There is also a mention of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann which I did read years ago but will be reading and reviewing here. He also mentioned Giacomo Leopardi I have read most of Zibaldone when it came out great work and I’d be interested to read some of it again and see how it inspired Cărtărescu and see if it is an influence on the book.

I can also link in with Thomas Bernhard reading week as he said in the Interview this was a writer he like.I then look at the cinema and have discovered there was a new wave of films after the  Ceaușescu years as ever there is a Wiki page here about the films made. I have ordered a DVD of The Death of Mr. Lazarescuand on Mubi the is a recent film from Romania THe happiest girl in the world. 

What I am thinking is just starting a discussion before I get my book when it comes out later this year I am not after a copy of the book this is just about wanting readers like me that maybe read a lot but often feel as though a book is maybe above you as a reader as if  !! I want to promote reading a challenging book I want to show we can all understand and build the knowledge to open a book I did the same years ago with Joyce and have sat back and just done my quick-fire reviews mainly due to time and ofter just it is a habit quick easy template and boom it is done it is that easy and often that is all I can do after a couple long day but this is to work toward longer reviews that open books to other readers bit by bit which is something I feel I can do to help other readers which I am sure there is many that worry lets do it together lets start our Project solenoid !! What would you add I have started a good reads group here.  MY next stop in regards Cărtărescu’s  is Nostalgia next month. I am reading Gladfly at the moment come in join in add books to the GoodReads thread etc (I am no expert at these groups at Goodreads this is my first group ) I hope people join in and let’s get a great book to a wider public not just a few!

 

Stu’s first post covoid library trip and lets do Bernhard week 22 next month

SO much for a break a couple of hours and it is like an itch to blog these days I am not in the mood to review as I just write muy reviews then and there it is hard to think sometimes with a fuzzy head as I have just done a set of night shifts for my job is stressful at times as although we have few patients the patients we have are in real need of help care and our patience which is very draining but compared to people on covoid wards etc it is a lot less drain and hard. Anyway enough of me moaning anyway I had intended to do this post when I got the books last week from the Library. As many of you fans of this blog may know I used to use my Library a lot as Chesterfield is one of the Libraries with the Highest loan rates in the Country it is often in the top 20 busiest in the Country. But I haven’t been one of those inj the last twelve months I am a lover of shelf browsing looking for books I may have missed or just not been able to afford to buy. So the main time I order books in is Booker international Long list time which is growing close again for another year. Anyway, I had tried ordering a book and found I couldn’t I first thought I had an unpaid fine but didn’t just need to tell them I am still living where I am which I am. SO I had a look around and found some real gems  even thou I had one book on my shelves lol anyone done that themselves?

Anyway, after a quick look I didn’t even go through all the fiction books I had six books which seemed enough to me I may not get to them all but I hope to try and read a few I have already read one of the books here. SO let’s see the others I got to read.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, Yes I am a fan of his and I have this last year or so been buying a number of music Biographies and related books Bruce is a singer I have always loved from being in my early teens. I read a couple of music biographies a year but never mention them but I may start to mention them more as I have a lot to read I’ve brought but mainly around music I grew up with Factory records and The Fall but this is from Bruce caught my eye. Have you read this book ? do you have a favourite music related book ?

I jump from the biggest of the books to the smallest of the books and the one I have reviewed. People from the Neighbourhood by Kawakami you can go back and read my review of this collection of Microfiction. already a favourite of this year.

Oh, a blurred pic but this is The Moustache by Emmanuel Carrere A man shave his moustache after asking his wife she said she wouldn’t recognize him but then seems to blank it when he shaves it I loved the other book I read by him and had one on my shelves he is called by Knausgaard the most exciting living writer high praise indeed.

After Midnight by Irmgard Keun I said when I read Child of all nation last year I would be returning to her soon rather than later and I have borrowed this book set in Frankfurt it sees the characters over a short time but their lives are mapped out ion that time.I can’t wait for this one. As this is a writer I want to read more of have you read this book ?

Another writer I have read before Serve the people by Yan Lianke this is an earlier book that has just been reissued set at the Height of Mo’s power in 1967it is a tale of forbidden love between the bored wife of the commander and one of the young soldiers. an age-old tale set against the backdrop of the Mo years should be interesting. I was drawn in by the cover of this one.

Last but not least is one I thought I had reviewed but when I checked in the library the day I visit I  hadn’t reviewed it on the blog but then when I got home and looked at my shelves I had brought it when these Faber reissues came out I often do this I have so many books these days not being one to keep track I missed I had this one which was one of four reissued the other two I had reviewed and the other one I brought concrete I have reviewed since anyway I have this and frost to review on my shelves oh and the voice Imitator maybe to do another Thomas Bernhard week I did it in July but this time as he was born and died in the middle of February I know it is short notice but let’s do a Thomas Bernhard week again !! from Feb 14-21 2022

So not wanting to do a review forgive me as I did this instead of a break as I love this type of post and hadn’t done one for a long while. Have you been to your library recently?

 

 

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?

 

A Happy New year from me Stu

I am sitting watching old episodes of Call the Midwife with Amanda a sort of comfort eating version of tv I suppose. We had a morning in the peaks a coffee outside at Hassop station and then a walk around Whitworth park. So I am wishing you all Happy New Year as I am working the next two days. As I am just reading the stunning French Novel Born of No woman a horrific tale of a young woman sold into servitude by her father as he can’t afford her and her siblings, the story is told when a priest finds a notebook hidden by the young girl as she is dying. I will return on Monday with the first review of 2022 what book has seen you into the New year? Do you have comfort tv?

Looking forward to 2022 and good riddance 2021

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

3 Minutes and 53 Seconds by Branko Prlja

3 Minutes and 53 Seconds by Branko Prlja

Macedonian fiction

Original title – 3 минути и 53 секунди

Translated by Paul Filev

Source – personal copy

Branko Prlja grew up in Sarajevo graduated from the Josep Tito high school in Skopje which he moved to in his teens as the Balkan conflict start and Yugoslavia fell apart he made his home in Macedonia. He is a writer and graphic designer he set up the first prize for Electronic literature in Macedonia as well as the KAPKA (Creative activism through parody, criticism, and allegory) organization. This book came out under his pseudonym Bert Stein which he has published two books under that title of this book is a nod to the average length of a single but is about the time it takes to read each of the chapters that follow the 20 years from 1984 as we follow an Unnamed character growing up in similar circumstances to that of the writer. One boy growing up as the place he remembers fell apart and he start a new life in Skopje.

That winter the temperature dropped below -20`C, but it didn’t prevent my dad from taking me skiing on Mount jahorina.

The song ” Where the streets have no name”, whioch was playing on the old cassette player of pur green 1982 Lada Riva, sounded as it it was coming from afar. The rhythmic sound of the guitar mixed with the hum of the car going up the mountain road as snow -covered evergreeb trees sped past. My dad delibertely jerked the steering wheel left and right, causing the car to skid and spin toward the shoulders of the road covered with huge deposits of snow, while we nearly split our sides laughing. I was happy

I remebr U2 in a VW Golf as we crossed germany years ago.

This is a slice of Bildungsroman that follows our narrator as he grows up from being seven when he first here Michael Jackson thriller remember the video which was a nod to the 80s horror genre of films what follows is a memoir of sorts that ties the music of each year to the growing up of our narrator from the USA to Africa song the following year the end year of Tito reign is seen through the young boy’s eyes. the last few years after the Winter Olympics as the cracks slowly appeared as the country of Yugoslavia becomes a collection of what is now six republics. He was listening to songs by U2 and Simple Mind’s accompanied his memories of the time. Those little memories like a thing alike the design of a cigarette packet was maybe a nod to the future graphic designer. The turn of the nineties saw him in Skopje as he had hoped to return to his home town but as events unfold he has to stay and start his life in Macedonia. What follows is his teen years I loved the music he picks most of which I remember and loved some I didn’t but it showed the power of music as a trigger to memories as he start to publish his first books.

The Guitar on U”‘s “Numb”, catching the world unprepared. Music became a thumping heartbeat, a machine propeller, a car engine … I listened to ant thought about my Einstürzende Neubauten, who’d been making music like that for years … it seemed that opop rock music was evolving and catching up with rap, which was always experimenting. Insane ion the Brain by the timeless Cypress hill and Bacdafucup by the short lived Onyx breathed new life into the scene, whil Body coubt blended metal with rap was a challenging concept. my heavy metal friends teased me for doing it, but hey , that’s a completely different story.

I remember all these I missed seeing EN when they keft a U2 tour early back in the day.

I enjoyed this book I like a bildungsroman as a genre of fiction. So whatever the time and place the is always some connection to our own years of growing up and Brankop choice of music is such a great way to connect to our past what I re3member as ai read is not just Bramko characters memories which is a thinly veiled of the writers own life. Songs Like U2 remind me of my time in Germany, Nirvana I remember drunkenly watching the shambolic first tv appearance on The Word then lastly Chop Suey which My best friend loved and his young daughter danced to all those years ago. This is a short read as Peirene call a movie book a book to read instead of a movie and here it will bring you memories if you are my age of the songs and the times I worked with a number of refugees at the time the Balkans fell apart so could connect to Brankos memories I work with a lad that had grown up in Sarajevo and was in German in the early nites a story similar to the story of the character and many at the time. Do you remember these years and does music connect you to memories? Another hidden gem from Dalkey.

Winstons score A – A Bildungsroman that is a thinly veiled story of the writers own history

That was the month that was November 2021

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

 

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

Book of the month

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

Non book events

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

 

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

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

Next month

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

 

 

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