That was the month that was July 2021

  1. Ramifications by Daniel Saldaña París
  2. Working Woman by Elvira Navarro
  3. Death at Intervals by Jose Saramago
  4. None so Blind by J A Gonzalez Sainz

This month I wasn’t on form a real reading slump so I only managed four reviews all month we started in Mexico with a young man looking back at the loss of his mother as he is sick in the same bed as his parents slept in. Then a flatshare happens or is it two women or one woman imaging a flatmate as her editing job shrinks down. Then Death takes a break from her job and all through everyone is happy at first the consequences of no deaths soon sinks in and a cellist then avoids the call of death Then a man moves to the basque region and sees his family drawn into the Basque problems in the 80s a quiet man’s life turns. So I managed three countries not any new publisher.

Book of the month

I hadn’t read Saramago for a decade and this reminded me what a talented writer he was and how he had lots of recurrent themes in his works such as religion, the Salazar regime, and dystopian worlds. It won’t be this long next time too I  read him.

Non-book events

I watched the Shane Meadows film Dead man’s shoes which I have watched a few times as a revenge thriller mostly set in Matlock as a brother returns to take revenge on the druggy gang that killed his disabled brother killing them one by one. It has him talking with his brother reliving what happened to him I like Meadows’s work as they are mostly set in place I know around Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. In the opposite to that was watching Terry Gillian’s dystopic film Brazil with Jonathan Pryce as a man caught up in a kafkaesque world of things going wrong after a mistake means the wrong man is arrested. But on the whole, It has been a quiet month otherwise really fairly hot for most of it.  we tidied our garden but have a bit more to do but now have a few days off to do some more work in it. This also saw the seventh anniversary of losing Winston, not a week goes by that I don’t miss him.

The month ahead well with the lack of reviews for the last month I have extended Spanish lit month and intend to review a few more books for there I have two already read ready for review and then I will also try a couple for Woman in translation month a couple will cross with Spanish lit month then I have review copies piling up. that I need to get to. So a busy month I hope. What plans have you for the next month?

April 2021 that was the month that was !!

  1. The Employees by Olga Ravn
  2. The war of the Poor by Eric Vuillard
  3. In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova
  4. Minor Detail by Adania Shibli
  5. The Perfect Nine by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
  6. The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez
  7. I Live in the Slums by Can Xue

I read all the books this month were on the Booker Longlist which came out at the end of March. So I went from Denmark with a sci-fi novel that questions humanity and what it is to be human through a series of interviews then a french novella about a german religious reformer The A Russian family and the artistic movements are remembered when aunts flat is cleared and a set of family memories pout out. Then a story of a women’s death is told from then and rediscovered in the now as just a footnote in history. Then tribal history is recalled in a novel in verse from a great writer in later work. The dark short stories that sometimes are very close to the bone from a Latin American writer that is a rising star. The collection of short stories that capture the ebb and flow of modern china and the migrant. The month saw one new publish Lolli editions no new countries. I had hoped to review more but time caught up with me a lot this month.

Book of the month

For one month only as these are on the longlist and we are discussing the list I will leave this let’s say there are two books from one publisher on the list and they would maybe be near the top.

Non book events

I have just caught the oscar-winning film Nomadland which I had been waiting all month to watch. A film that captured a sort of modern Steinbeck trip across the country like the grapes of wrath for a modern age The record shop opened this month so I have brought a number of new records some old favorite a Fall album a brilliant corners album. Then new records from BC Camplight and Katy J Pearson that I have heard championed on Mark Rileys radio show. THen A Marianne faithful spoken word poetry album and a retro of the works of the electro pop band Yello an interesting mix and a fair few CDs which is maybe why I have read a bit less As I had been listening to more music this month. We ventured out to the peaks a few times and I returned to swimming after a break due to lockdown. We have just had our first zoom meeting for the shadow booker which saw us join in from Australia, the US, India, and Here in the Uk but the great thing is to put a voice to people

Next month

I have a mountain of review books also just got a couple of Czech novels that have caught my eye so one of them will appear I’m sure we will be sorting the Booker shadow shortlist.

How was your month reading-wise?

 

That was the month that was Feb 2021

  1. Under the Glacier by Halldor Laxness
  2. Game of the Gods by Paolo Maurensig
  3. Our Circus Presents..  by Lucian Dan Teodorovici
  4. waiting by Goretti Kyomuhendo
  5. Why we love women by Mircea Cărtărescu
  6. The imagined land by Eduardo Berti
  7. Tower by Bae Myung-Hoon
  8. The pear tree by Nana Ekvtimishvilli
  9. A Musical Offering by Luis Sagasti
  10. The No World Concerto by A G Porta
  11. The art of Losing by Alice Zeniter

SO far I have reviewed 24 books this year. 11 in Feb where the journey started with a novel from Iceland about a church go stray and the man sent to see what had happened. Then a story of a man from a humble background that became a great chess player. Then a group of men and women that are trying to take their lives in the most elaborate way a blackly comic work from Bulgaria. I went to Uganda and a young girl recounting the war from her family’s point of view was also the first work from Uganda I have covered. Then the great Romanian writer Micrea  Cărtărescu on some of his loves and women he has known. Then an imagine china from the  Argentinean writer Eduardo Berti. We then have Korean sci-fi but is also social commentary in the tower a state in a supersize tower block. Then we go to Georgia and a school for learning disabilities that is falling apart and has abuse at its heart seen from a pupil that has taken a young boy under her wing. Then a book that has a v=collection of stories revolving around Bach Goldberg variations another from Argentina and then we had a Spanish writer that had been friends and written with Roberto Bolano his only work in English two intertwined lives but who is writing about who? Then a truly epic saga of three generations of an Algerian family that comes to France and returns when the granddaughter returns and shows her family snapshots of friends and family that have aged fifty years before their eyes. So I went to ten countries with Uganda being a new country to the blog a rare event these days. There was also a couple of new publishers the feminist press and Plymouth university press. I also made the decision to score my reviews on an a to e scale moving forward.

Book of the month

I loved Luis Sagasti first book he is a writer that seems to make the reader think beyond the stories he wrote but also draws you into them these all revolved around music the Bach Goldberg variations but also a bizarre tongue in cheek story of a giant organ being built that causes an avalanche. I did have to check up that story was only fiction, lets hope we get more from this writer.

Non-book-related events

Well, the lockdown has us all not doing a lot. Amanda and I have been catching up on the second series of Stranger things which we had fallen behind in watching. I still love all the 80s references and the nod to the films of the time in the show itself. I watched a short film by Guy Maddin the Canadian director is an underrated filmmaker. Apart from that, not a lot else to report. Rather same as with last month I am now on three nights so won’t return with a review to Thursday.

Month ahead

Well, I still haven’t read a book from Arabic this year so I will try to do that otherwise it will be mainly books to fill in the gaps of what I hadn’t  that could be on the Man Booker International longlist which comes out at the end of this month. Any thought on what would make the longlist? What were your highlights last month?

That was the month that was January 2021

  1. The Catholic school by Edoardo Albinati
  2. At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop
  3. A luminous Republic by Andres Barba
  4. Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura
  5. Robinson by Aram Pachyan
  6. Holiday Heart by Margarita Garcia Robayo
  7. Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai
  8. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  9. Kokoschka doll by Alfonso Cruz
  10. The last days of Ellis Island by  Gaëlle Joss
  11. 30th April 1945 by Alexander Kluge
  12. The sand child by Tahar Ben Jelloun
  13. With an unopened umbrella in the pouring rain by Ludovic Bruckstein

Well, I managed 13 reviews this month, and from 12 countries unfortunately there were no new countries,  no new publishers, but it’s been a while since I reviewed a book from Virago. The journey this month starts with the epic Italian story of a school and some killing then we went to the trenches and some African troops. A small child tells the tales of his medieval Japanese fishing village.  Then some strange children appear in the jungle. Then Modern Armenia is highlighted in a collection of short stories. Then we had the tale of a couple’s American dream falling apart. A day in the life of a pre-war Japan. Then the letters between a New Yorker and an old English bookseller. A series of vignettes take us to wartime Germany and the aftermath. The last week on Ellis Island sees the last guard reflecting on his time on the Island. The day Hitler shot himself is seen in 360 degrees from every angle. Then a girl is forced to grow up a boy to save the family money and lastly we see Sighet in Romania with tales of the Jews that lived there.

Book of the month

We have two winners here –

Firstly the tales of Sighet so touch me in this collection of short stories from a writer that has luckily been saved from oblivion and brought to us thanks to his son’s efforts to get his father’s voice heard.

Then 30th April 1945 is just so rich the multiple layer Kluge forms with his vignettes around the day Hitler shot himself. Kluge is a writer that likes to take a wide angle on his fiction the bigger picture.

Non-book related items

With us in Lockdown I haven’t brought a lot of records this month but spent most time listen back to old Uncut and Mojo cd I have got both these magazines for well twenty years so I have a lot of their CDs and have spent a couple of hours reading and listening to them most afternoons off work. Especially their Americana CDs. I am now on the last of my three nights tonight for this month at work.

Next month

I have already read a couple of books read ready so we shall be in Iceland and with a chess master to start with this month’s reading I hope to add a couple of Arab works this month. Then I will see where I wander knowing me it has been a while since I read a book from a new country so I think that may need to add somewhere new next month what are your plans for the coming month?

Winstonsdad goes to Bi-weekly reviews

I have struggled as Mentioned before with reviews this last year so I have decided to be a lot more organized than I ever have been as I am struggling to review books it goes in blocks then nothing I have tried to just do the reviews ad hoc but this year. I have lost my usual rhythm so I decided the best thing as I managed to write two reviews a few times in one day. So I feel I will be doing a review on Mondays and Thurs moving forward if I get a chance to add reviews I will and this means if I get a spare evening I can do some other posts around books that I used to do years ago. I will be posting this Thursday. I usually have Thursday off work strange thing is this week I am working but am working this week but will have a post ready for the long-running #translationthurs hashtag I started years ago. Well on to no book things The one thing I have gained during this covid madness is a love for Nostalgia tv it’s one of the beauties of the modern age with Apps and nostalgia tv channels we have a lot of old tv shows back. SO recent watches have been V the series, The original and rebooted Battlestar Galactica now don’t worry I will be turning into a sci-fi book blog no just love a bit of 80s/90s love even my taste in music has been listening to old vinyl I been buying on Thursdays at our local flea market and our monthly record fair and the record store days means I have a lot of new records from this era to listen too. I also hope to be on Twitter a bit more than I have been this year. What have you been doing new due to Covid. We all need to keep safe and well this winter. The pic is a local statue of one of Chesterfield’s famous residents Stephenson of Train fame just seemed his measuring stick was apt for this post. Also struggling with the new WordPress format so different from the previous one which I had used for the time I have blogged anyone else not keen on this new format at mo?

That was the months that was May/June 2020

  1. The sad part was by Prabda Yoon
  2. The brother by Rein Raud
  3. Restless by Kenneth Moe
  4. Mr Palomar by Italo Calvino
  5. The hour between dog and wold by Silke Scheuermann
  6. The End and again by Dino Bauk
  7. I remember by Georges Perec
  8. Obscurity by Philippe Jacottet
  9. Tazmamart by Aziz Binebine
  10. Grove by Esther Kinsky
  11. A House in Norway by Vigdis Hjorth
  12. M train by Patti Smith
  13. A long way off by Pascal Garnier
  14. Fate by Jorge Consiglio

 

I read 13 books in the last two months which saw me go from Thailand and a tale of modern Bangkok to Estonia and a revenge story. Then in Norway, a man tries to write a letter to a former love then Italy and an Italian man view the world in various ways. then sisters get to know each other than a former band from Slovenia. Then Perec from France finds a list of things he remembered. That leads on to a philosopher returning to see what has happened to his former master. Then a former Prisoner in Morroco in a top-secret prison. A widow goes to Italy and observes village life. A woman let her small apartment in Norway and then regrets it. Patti Smith talks about her life and then I read the last book published in his life by Pascal Garnier a regular on here. Then I finished in Argentina. I have visited 11 countries this last two months and passed a 1000 reviews.

Book of the month

Grove really touched me I have recently been struggling wife grief over my mums passing it was her birthday in June and the last three years since her passing have flown. I connected with the loss in this book but also the trying. to connect to place the Kinsky does so well.

Non-book things-

Well, I have listened a lot to the New Dylan Album. We have ventured a bit further than recent weeks to the peaks just parking and looking at views which given how little we have ventured out recently with all the Covoid thing.

next month-

Well its Spanish lit month that will be the main focus for July and then August. I will be starting with a leftfield choice!! what are your plans ?

Happy christmas from Winstonsdad

 

Well, it has just past midnight here and I am watching an old episode of top of the pops before heading to bed. So i wish all my friends and followers of the blog a happy Christmas and hope you have a great day however you are spending it. Let’s hope you all get the books you have been wishing for under the tree,

That was the month that was July 2019

  1. The house of Ulysses by Julian Rios
  2. Vlad by Carlos Fuentes
  3. Quiet creature on the corner by Joao Gilberto Noll
  4. the posthumous memoirs of Bras Cubas by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
  5. The Hedge by Miguel Delibes
  6. Atlantic hotel by Joao Gilberto Noll
  7. The fish child by Lucia Puenzo
  8. The Iliac crest by Cristina Riera Garz

I managed eight books all for Spanish and Portuguese lit month. I start with a book about a book Julian RIos House of Ulysess. Then a Mexican take on the Vampire story a poet winds up in a prison writing poems after raping a girl in Brazil. A man whose life is a failure writes about his life from the afterlife. A man gets sent to the country to recover and gets hemmed in by an ever-increasing hedge and sees those around him as animals another trip to Brazil and a man falling apart in front of his eyes from a hotel with the murder happened he then went on a bizarre road trip. A pair of young girls from different sides of the tracks fall in love as one is the maid for the other.and lastly two women turned up at a mans ouse but is he a man and is all as it seems a wonderful selection of books from four countries, no new publishers but an interesting selection. It has taken the total of books reviewed this year to 53 lower than other years but still hoping to pass 100 by the end of the year.

Book of the month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a huge fan of James Joyce so this book was a great choice it follows a group of readers following their wat through the book.

Next month-

We’ll have more Spanish and Portuguese lit month offerings. Two writers, I have reviewed before one from Venezuela writes a book about the last year of Chavez from the point of view of one of his doctors then another book around a leader Tyrant Memory by Horacio Castellanos Moya about a 1930’s leader of El Salvador. Both spins on the classic Dictator novel a staple of Latin American literature. A Dutch classic set in China. I am working three of the next four days and on Saturday we will be visiting our local Food festival and celebrating our wedding anniversary. So I will be back on Tuesday unless I get time to review a book. I will add a few titles for Women in translation month.

Other none book events last month

I always like mention something new I’ve found well this month it is a great rediscovery and that is Gerry Anderson’s Space 1999 a seventies sci-fi series I had missed the great guest roles in the past from the likes of Christopher Lee and Leo McKern. It has a similar political undertone.  about it that we found in Start trek when it was shown. I have also been a huge fan of the return of Lloyd Cole his new album is rather good as he uses more Keyboards than he has in the past but still has that Cole feel.

What are your plans?

April and May winstonsdad months that were

  1. The Pine Island by Marion Poschmann
  2. The faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg
  3. The years by Annie Ernaux
  4. The storyteller by Pierre Jarawan
  5. Celestial bodies by Jokha Alharthi
  6. All Happy Families by Herve Le Tellier
  7. Lord of all the dead by Javier Cercas
  8. Garden , Ashes by Danilo Kis
  9. singer in the night by Olja Savicevic
  10. Redemption by Friedrich Gorenstein
  11. Termin by Henrik Nor-Hansen
  12. When death takes something from you give it back by Naja Marie -Aidt
  13. In the end they told them all to get lost by Laurence Leduc- Primeau

I missed Aprils round up as I had a break so in the last two months I have reviewed 13 books from 11 countries with one new publisher in Sandstone Press which went on to be the man booker international winner and my first book from Oman wich was the only new country in the last two months. I still have round of the man booker books but to say I had a two week break it isn’t a bad total and takes the number of books reviewed this year too 38 still just about on course to make the 100 review mark for the year.

Books of the months –

I’ll pick two

Termin front cover.png

 

 

Termin by Henrik Nor-Hansen

This little gem seems to capture what I look for in the books I am reading these days and that is challenging what literature is and this is one of those that is a borderline between fiction and nonfiction using ticks of narrative non-fiction and journal keeping. Tell how a brain injury leads to a man’s life and social web falling apart.

When Death Takes Something From You Give It Back

The second book is When death takes something from you give it back by Naja Marie Aidt

A touching book about grief cooping and how even a great writer even struggles to get the words on the paper. It alsio shows how words can heal and help share what has happened to you.

Non- book events

well, the last two months have flown by even with two weeks of I find I am reading less the last few months but have a backlog of books I have finished still so plenty to keep the blog ticking over. Amanda and I spend most of our days off visiting the peaks or place like Ikea just keep Amanda busy and I’m making the most of being able to drive. I have found a new tv passion the Canadian series Cardinal which I have watched all three series in the last two weeks this slow-burning series that has one case per a series set in the fiction town based on the Canadian town of the North bay. They have managed to produce a nordic style series with a grumpy detective a brilliant sidekick great settings but the storylines have many a twist and turn.

Looking forward blog wise

Well I was asked if Richard and I were doing Spanish lit month well. I will be Richard is taking a break so like the last few years July and August will be for Spanish and Portuguese lit. I want suggestions for an August book to read and chat about. I thinking of a Marquez maybe? or another Latin American greats LLhosa or Bolano .I am not so organized as Richard but will try and sort an Mr linky links page when it is time? any suggestions?

That was the month that was feb 2019

  1. The spirits of the earth by Catherin Colomb
  2. Agnomia by Robert Gal
  3. Resistance by Julian Fuks
  4. Any means necessary by Jenny Rogneby
  5. Now, Now, Louison by Jean Fremon
  6. The capital by Robert Menasse
  7. The pianoplayers by Anthony Burgess
  8. Trout, belly up by Rodrigo Fuentes

I managed eight reviews last month which just about keeps me on course for 100 plus reviews this year. I read books from seven countries no new publishers or countries my journey has taken me from France country mansions then to Prague and New York from a Slovakian twist to a family on the run in Brazil with two kids A Swedish policewoman playing both sides of the fence. I read a wonderful book about an artist a satire about the EU after that a memoir about a piano playing father and trying to set up a trout farm in the Guatemalan countryside.

Image result for trout belly up rodrigo

Book of the month-

Trout belly up it has been a tight month as any of four books I read could have been the book of the month but there was something in his descriptions of struggling against nature in this book that grabbed me as I have finally given up on shadowing the Man Booker I had hope this was going be on the list but as I look forward over next month I have a packed list of books to read and review hoping to unearth more gems like this.

My month-

I managed the first weekend away driving there earlier this month not far just over the peaks to Macclesfield to visit my mums grave was the first timeI’d been by myself which I know she’d have been proud of me for driving although I made Amanda rather nervous when we slightly overshot a hairpin bend in the middle of the peaks but it was a reminder not to get too overconfident about my driving .I capture a number of Wim Wender films on Mubi and a couple of Korean films as well. I have been listening to new albums by Sleaford mods the same underbelly of Britain in their lyrics that capture modern Britain. Then mark Kozlek new album another set of monologues around his life a style he has had in his last few albums. But my favorite album this month Inferno by Robert Forester on half of the great band the Go-betweens. A collection of songs which all seem tinge with how it feels growing old. I am just finishing a set of nights which always cut my reading but they do help pay for my books. how has your month been

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