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

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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?

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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.

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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

That was the month that was Jan 2019

  1. My name is Adam by Elias Khoury
  2. The wicked go to hell by Frédéric Dard
  3. Among the lost by Emiliano Monge
  4. The sound of waves by Yukio Mishima
  5. Katalin Street by Magda Szabo
  6. The last summer by Boris Pasternak
  7. Sometimes I lie and sometimes I don’t by Nadja Spiegel
  8. Soviet milk by Nora Ikstena
  9. A long night in Paris by Dov Alfon

So I managed 9 books under review this month nine countries including one new one country in  Latvia. No new presses this month. My reading started in New York and then Palestine. I then took a few nights in a French prison with an undercover cop and a spy put who was who. Then I joined some Mexican people smugglers that live in hell like world then romance in Japan. WOrld war two and one in the next two novel one about the falling out of the Nazis and the second world war on a single street in Budapest and then a man goes to his sister and remembers the last summer before world war One. Then female stories from Austria. Then Last years Peirene about a woman and her daughter getting by in a small rural time in exile in their own country. Then a modern thriller in Paris from a former special service and editor of a national paper.

Book of the month

Katalin Street

Katalin street by Magda Szabo something about the voice of the characters and the way it showed the effect of the war on one small piece of the world and the three families that were once so close end up all over the place living and Dead. The children show the world in the eyes and their friends as there positions change through the years.

The month itself-

I’ve decided to give a monthly recap of small life events and other things not book related. This month well today was my first day of driving in real frosty conditions I still nervous for the first snow drive. I also managed my first motorway drive when I visited my father the other side of Birmingham and had a good hour and a half on the motorway.  I’ve been driving two months and have done 1600 miles in my little silver car. The month saw a return of a couple of old tv  series on to tv. The first Sliders a sci-fi series that saw four characters travel to parallel earth this is similar to other shows like Quantum leap which came before this show saw someone  travel in their own life in this show the premise was what if things like the wild west lived on or the Soviets took over or you were a star. Then the other another retro show Rumpole of the Bailey were we see Leo McKern as the Poetry quoting a fan of the Q edition of the Oxford book of English verse a picture of a world maybe gone now. He plays the down at heel barrister hero of the underdog and working criminals. McKern playing of him is like Bretts Holmes Suchet Poirot or Guinness Smiley one of those actors that defined the character making it hard for anyone else to play him. Although there is a new series on the radio has a new Rumpole in the form of  Benedict Cumberbatch . Now a snippet of Music and I have been listening to a lot of the go-betweens a later comer to them I saw a great documentary on Sky the other day that follows the history of the band over the years to the sad loss of one of the two lead singers.

What has your month been like?

Anthea Bell RIP

Anthea Bell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today the translation community got the sad news that one of the best-known Translators of the last fifty years had passed away. Anthea Bell is a name readily known too. She had translated a lot of the books I read pre-blog so was a translator. She was best known for her work on the Asterix series. She said in an interview “It’s all about finding the tone of voice in the original. You have to be quite Free”. Klaus Flugge said of Anthea -” Anthea has a talent that not every translator has for catching the mood of a book. Some are a bit more wooden and some try to take too many liberties. She has a knack of hitting the right style and atmosphere,” I was a huge fan of she had featured in a dozen review of her translations over that last eight years of the blog. I had picked my three favorites from the blog.

A minutes silence by Siegfried Lenz – One of the Gruppe 47 writers that post-war set alight German Literature. This is the tale of a doomed romance between a teacher and Pupil.

The glory of life by Michael  Kumpfmüller – The book tells the story of Kafka’s final days as he falls for a younger woman first on the Baltic coast then through Berlin.

Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig – the tale of Ludwig and his love for a married woman was a novella that Zweig worked on for y=twweig translations were simply stunning works of translation. I also enjoyed here Sebald Translation.

Have you a favorite Bell translation?

My ten all time favourite tv shows

I haven’t done a fun sunday post for a while so I’d thought I’d  pick my all time favourite tv shows –

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  1. Around the world in eighty days with Michael Palin. I have loved all his shows but this the original one the first based on the Jules Verne book open my eyes to places around the world as a young lad but also was part of the reason for this blog to travel the world in books.
  2. ER I’ve been rewatching this recently and forgot how good it was there is a lot of talk about modern shows being great but this for me when it came out made our UK show casualty seem plain and wooden this was fast paced and had a number of stories each episode and a character development over the years as the team grew.
  3. Babylon 5 I was always a tv sci-fi fan when younger but not so much these days but the one show I have watched through a few times is this it was such a clever series with the story developing over the five series as we saw good versus evil and theories of the way we should live order versus chaos. It had great special effects for the day.
  4. X files  I have the complete series it had it all two partners that love and hate each at the start but grow closer. There is everything from creature feature to aliens to ancient creatures and Indian myths.I’ve not loved the new ones so much as they seem to be trying to hard to capture what made it great.
  5. Homicide life on the streets – Before the wire this was set in the same city and had the same gritty feel as the wire but a number of great stand out characters especially detective Munch who has turned up in many a series since.
  6. P’tit Quinquin a short french tv series by the french film director Bruno Dumont a body has turned up in a small seaside town we have a quirky detective and a small boy in an odd drama that goes nowhere but is engrossing.
  7. Brideshead revisited I loved this as a kid even more as an adult we don’t see enough Waugh. This just oozed quality and had so many great scenes I loved visit castle Howard a few years ago it reminded me of the scenes set there. I could mention Holmes with Jeremy brett another series from the eighties I loved.
  8. Twin Peaks The first two series I have watched not the recent one yet but this had it all the quirkiest director of his age let loose on tv was a rare event and hasn’t happened much since. A feast of oddball characters cracking quotable lines like its damm fine cherry pie etc etc
  9. American horror story – for me no modern series is as good as this the clever twist of using the same actors, on the whole, each series but in different roles and scenarios has worked every from witchcraft to sideshows clown and even tv and how we view ghost stories in a clever series that had a real and staged version of a story that was supposed to have happened. The last tackled Cults can’t wait for the next as it is always interesting.
  10. Stranger things – I have Netflix but in whole streaming hasn’t made to many great series that have grabbed me this one did it has so many nods to classic 80’s films by the likes of Speilberg and writers like Stephen King the only other Netflix series I have like is the crown.

Honorable mentions – Juliet bravo 80s small-town crime nothing much happens but is a window on how the police used to be before PACE.

The Bill the first few series same as above before we need murders and gangsters to keep us viewing

Wild Palms underrated Oliver Stone about a tv show and two groups wanting to shape the future of the world!!

What series do you like to watch and what classics you into?

Running out of steam next stop September

 

I have recently spent a month of work with depression and stress related to grief. I returned to work a few weeks ago, I work long thirteen hour days at what is a stressful job helping people with learning disabilities in crisis in a ward setting. I am also struggling to deal with my Mums death last year and the fact Amanda isn’t well. I have tried to carry on blogging but this has drained me and made blogging become a task rather than a pleasure in recent weeks I have always set my bar high of trying to review a 100 books a year and trying to add new countries and bringing the world to everyone. But this last few months I have been running on empty the weather also hasn’t helped I hate hot weather at the best of times a tall slightly overweight chap isn’t built for a heat wave. I had a bad day yesterday at work and its left me drained again and maybe in a negative frame of mind so I think of blogging and I want to but just feel as thou I can’t put my heart into what I am writing. So rather than get rid of all my good work I am taking a long break and returning next month. I am looking forward to the last Karl Ove Novel and the long Await Uwe Johnson Anniversaries translation also books like the Dasa Drndric and Murakami due I feel a break from blogging and the pressure I have been putting myself under to read to keep up the blog. I will still be round twiiter and may visit blogs some more than I have to try and get inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daša Drndić, At true great of European fiction has passed.

The pic is of Dasa when I meet her the day at the IFFp in 2013 when her first book to be translated into English. Trieste had been shortlisted for the prize. I had a good half hour chat that evening with her. She told me about how the Italian edition of the book Trieste had a tear-out section of the list of names of Jewish people killed in Italy and the idea was that people could take out a name they knew and over time as the pages went like the losses of the people the book became unstable like the loss of all those voices on society. This is a perfect example of the power of her as a writer. I have reviewed the three books she has been translated into English they are Trieste, Leica Format and Belladonna. She also paid me the highest compliment in say she had read my blog, although I could do with an editor she said. She also commented a few times on the blog which for me was touching. Her books dealt with big subjects and showed the brutal heart of Europe a writer that needs to be read. I’m sorry to hear of her passing today and remember a warm summers day I meet her a number of years ago. Her words when her last book was up for the Croat book of the year sum her views up well.

We live in a very sick time, in a time that destroys spirit, thought, freedom, individuality, joy, beauty, knowledge, and love, and at the same time destroys ourselves. Just like a carcinogenic pancreas, whenever it eats the bodies surrounding it, it disappears alone. To those who write this topic to pretek. Within this globally collapsing, decaying world (the world), floats countless stories of small and large, known, unknown, for literature more than enough. After all, those who read (and increasingly reads a leafy, quick and easy digestive book with enough additives to absorb the original flavor of ‘material’) are at least at times privy to their voyeur passion, a foolish fool, in English called the ‘pacifier’. So the everyday life remains cloudy, and the imaginative readers are unaware of their existential limbo.(a google translation but gets the spirit of her words)

 

When the Levee breaks a Grief unleashed

I have been quiet for a couple of weeks on the blog front. I should have asked myself why before what happened happened. I am a very English sort of bloke, I try and keep the stiff upper lip and keep my self to myself. I have always struggled to talk about feelings and emotions.  I have kept my feelings on the whole during my life to myself. It started when my parents split and I was nine and I held in my emotions to myself, over the years I tend to build them up. In the past, I had Mum and My step mum Milly to chat to but now there is a void, even walking Winston would at times help me clear thoughts. This lead to what happened the other day when a small event at work became a catalyst for an outpouring of my emotions that I struggled to get back under control after an hour of crying I finally got back in control. But just I then looked back over the last few months from Mum dying which I never really come to terms with there is a sea of if and whats. So much I wish I said and done over the years but never did and now I can’t. Then My darling wife is struggling with pain which I wish I could take away but try and be there for her as much as possible. Add to this a failed driving test a few days before the third anniversary of my step mums passing. My job can be stressful at times and this had all come together and  I cracked. Now I have to try and open up and unburden myself. I had a similar incident fifteen years ago, I was unaware then and now I didn’t see this coming well I had been getting tearful more than normal at silly things and hiding behind jokes at times. I have been to the doc and now am going to talk to someone. I have to try and come to terms with mum not being here and build a new way of talking to people. Anyway, I sit feeling numb and fragile and hope that books will be as ever my companions and help me. I will be back tomorrow with a review. Sorry but in writing this I have maybe taken a step towards unburdening myself.

7 years bloganniversary let’s go to Spain

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The wordpress app told me at weekend it was seven years since winstonsdad started its trip around the world of Literature. In that time I have managed to review 635 books from 103 countries a real tour of the world . I miss the old days of blogging when it seemed new and fun but the recent move and a new library have spurred this old blogger on to carry on so we start off with the next spanish lit month which is next month. I have five books I plan to read one is reread.

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First up is two books due out from Harvil secker The first from a new star of Spanish Literature DIvorce is in the air by Gonzalo Torne one for the fans of Ferrante and Knausgaard says Harvil . Next is On the edge by Rafael Chirbes one of the great writers of recent times from Spain he won two of the biggest prizes in Spanish literature.

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Nocilla dream is the reread of the pile a wonderful odd collection of short snippets like a trail of photos with stories made up about them. I enjoyed it on the first read but felt a second reading would be worth it for this collection .

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Next up is Loquela by Carlos Labbe the chilean writer is compared to Borges and this is a warped love story and detective novel in one . One of those books that challenges the reader.

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Lasr but not least is the won derfully witty Sky over lima which sees two writers in Chile write and start a love affair in letter with the famous Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenz .In what started as a plan to get his latest book early turns it a love in letters .

Have you any plans for Spanish lit month ?

How do you keep your blogging fresh after a number of years ?

Arno Who? Library stash a whole heap of german books

Arno Schmidt

I Promise I will review a book next but as ever time has runaway this evening so , I decide to show you the nine books I just ordered that had come to the library today , I’ve a few more in the pipeline . First off this is one of two I really got excited about when I ordered it from the library ,The eggplant republic is a book by the writer that has been compared to Joyce amongst others Arno Schimdt is best known for his epic novel Zettels Traum (which is huge and is currently being translated into English and is due out on Dalkey Archive a some point in the next couple of years) .This book is about a journalist visiting  a jet power island .I can’t wait this is one of the names I want on this blog .

Christa wolf

What remains is a collection of stories by the late East german writer Christa Wolf , the title story is described as a East German writers journey into a Kafkaesque world .

Marie Jaolowicz Simon

Gone to Ground by Marie Jaolwicz Simon a true story ,She disappeeared into Berlin in 1941 removing her yellow star and becoming someone else for the rest of the war .I was reminded of a film I saw years ago were a Jewish boy joined the Hitler youth in Berlin during the war Europa , Europa I think it was called .

Juli Zeh

I had tried  a previous Juli Zeh book , but didn’t get into it so left it , but this love triangle story of a couple that are  learning to dive whilst on holiday  and the wife falling for the diving instructor .

W G Sebald

Sebald talks about the six writers the influenced him as a writer in this book , I read all his novels as they came out and not read a book by him for a few years,so this will be one I will savour I think.I may also find a new writer to try from his six writers .

peter stamm

Another novel by Peter Stamm , I reviewed seven years a couple of years ago ,I like his sparse style but only just got round to him again .A women who became a widow in a car crash and has horrific injuries trying to get her life back together.

Bernhard Aichner

The story of Blum whose husband is killed by the men he is investigating , this sends her on a killing spree as her dark past is unlocked . A crime novel for German lit month .

Joesph Brodsky

One of two none German books for after German lit month Watermark is Nobel winner Joseph Brodsky prose piece about his visit to Venice .built around 48 short chapters .

Claude simon

Another of the Noveau Roman writers Claude Simon conducting bodies another experimental novel .

So one of my two surprise finds from the library the other is even better than Arno Schimdt .

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