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 books of the year

Well, I only managed to review 84 books last year a miss of the 100 I try for every year. But with Covoid and maybe just a loss of focus I  was down well it’s a new year so let’s look back and I’ll mention some of the favourite books in the last 12 months here at Winston towers.

Billards at the Hotel Dobray by Dusan Sarotar

I always seem to feature a book or two from Istros books as they publish books I just seem to connect with here is such a case the second book from Dusan to reach us in English took a look at his home town and the events in world war two around the town of Sobota and the returning Jews and the Hotel at the centre of town life.

The roar of morning by Tip Marugg

This book is so atmospheric a man wrestling with his soul, and looking back over his life in the space of one evening as he drinks and the events that have lead to this dramatic night unfold before the roar of morning of the title those dark demons of night weight heavy in this book.

The bell in the lake by Lars Mytting

As they take apart the distinctive church in a distant Norwegian village Butangen the special sister bells of the church lead to the story of the twin that wove with four hands that lead to the bells being brought and the spirit of the village and its folklore.

Restless by Keneth Moe

Anopther publisher I have featured a lot in recent years is Nordisk books and here was a book that became the 1000th to be reviewed on the blog a man and sits and writes a letter to an ex but as he tries his personal story is told in bits another gem.

Grove by Esther Kinsky

Grove is a writer dealing with loss and what better writer than the poetic Kinsky I loved river her we see her coping with the death of her husband the English Translator Martin Chalmers we see the journey of her grief as she moves on and around the world remember her life with Martin but also her own earlier life.

A glass eye by Miren Agur Meabe

Another book that mixes both personal and history together. A story of a writer that has lived since her teens with a glass eye is mixed with a history of how the glass eye came about over the years an unusal book and one that should be better known.

Hunter school by Sakinu Ahronglong

Now if there was a single book of the year from me this would be this collection of stories we see how the Pawian tribe world is shrinking and how his father taught him to hunt but now even that isn’t being past on stories of a dying world evocative and heartwrenching these gems are why we read books in translation!!

Ankomst by Gøhril Gabrielsen

A woman is sent to a remote island to observe the migrating seabirds to see the effect of global warming but as she does the remote and lonely island and the space left from a lover that isn’t turning up see her descend into a sort of madness another gem from Peirene another one of those publishers I have loved over the years of blogging.

An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky

A collection of short stories of things that are not there now from lost painting from the war to an island that only a few people saw an unusal collection of tales.

Venice The lion, the City and the Water by Cees Nooteboom

Well, I haven’t been to Venice but feel I have umpteen times now as this book brings every corner to light through the eyes of the wonderful dutch writer Cees Nooteboom a writer with an enquiring mind who recalls his first visit and the changes over the years as he rediscovers and uncovers the city on every visit.

 

Journey through a Tragicomedy Century (The Absurd life of Hasso Grabner) by Franci Nenik

if there is a thread through this year’s books it is personal history and here is another I reviewed two books by this writer here is the second from the new publisher V and Q the story of Hasso Grabner that lays bare the old saying the truth is stranger than fiction as here is a life of a german that saw the world change and had so many dealings in the events of Germany over that time.

When we cease to understand the world by Benjamin Labatut

Here another selection of personal histories and stories. That sees us learn the history of Prussian blue and the struggle snd descent into personal isolation of a mathematician that sees his rivals as enemies and tries to escape into maybe a world of maths beyond maths

 

Tatouine by Jean-Christophe Rehel

A suffers from cystic fibrous that works in a  Super C use his love of all things star wars and modern culture to make his mundane life seem better and his dreams of being on Tatooine in the Star Warsverse!!

Here is my books of the year. A  baker’s dozen of books it is hard to pick this year so many great books but for today that was my favorites last year. What were yours last year?

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?

A quartet from Armenia

 

I have reviewed two books from Armenia one was by Aram Pachyan which I loved. So when I saw that there was four new books from Glagoslav from Armenia.

Robinson by Aram Pachyan was his debut collection won a presidential medal 16 stories each story is a small but sharp painting of various characters. a look at loneliness in the modern world. He was meant to launch these books with a speech a London book fair here is a link to the text of that speech. called the importance of difficult steps .

Raven before Noah by Susanna Harutyunyan Harout raised and saved by an old man grew up in an abandoned village that is home that has escaped torture from Turkey set between 1915 and 1960  one of the most acclaimed writers in Armenia

The door was open by Karine Khodikyan her fiction can be described as intellectual fiction for women. These short stories with a “MYstical touch” tell stories about women – young and old, happy and sad; even when the protagonist is not a woman, the story will immerse you into the life of a woman, revealing her role in anything and everything. These sound great don’t they !!

Point Zero by Narek Malian two historical stories set during the crusades on in Syria and then about pope urban starting the crusades a third story is a love story between a french  woman and a young Arab man in 2015 in Paris

This is a great new insight I looked at the three percent database and that in the ten years on the database there was only three books from Armenia published so this is a great leap forward!

That was the month that was January 2020

  1. Home and Exile by Chinua Achebe
  2. Letters of blood by Rizzia Rahman
  3. Billiards at the Hotel Dobray by Dusan Sarotar
  4. Maigret and Monsieur Charles by Georges Simenon
  5. Shadow Child by P F Thomése
  6. The females by Wolfgang Hilbig
  7. The Glass slipper by Shotaro Yasuoka
  8. The Hungry and the Fat by Timur Vermes

There we are I had hoped to get a couple more reviews done but I have just finished four-night shifts so I have to make do with eight reviews this month I shall get a few more in next month I Hope as I have a holiday booked in as Amanda has a significant birthday. This month I went from Africa then Bangladesh. The war in Europe from the first tale of Jews in Slovenia and then Maigret last book a father coping with the loss of his child a man coping with the loss of the females around him and a lot of sexual feelings. Then a collection of post-war Japanese stories and then the second novel of German satirist Timur Vermes. I visited seven countries one new press well not a press an imprint from seagull books. The Library of Bangladesh I hope to get a couple more from this collection soon.

Book of the month

It was a very tight month with this and Billiards at the hotel Dobray tie with me The Hungry and the fat does what great writers do they take an idea here what will the west do with the increasing refugee crisis that is ever-increasing here what Timur did was imagine the border shutting and a mass camp forming and then what happens if these hundred no Millions of refugees. As they decide with the help of a model and her refugee fiance to walk to the border and see what happens will those fabled gates open or remain shut a powerful work. Then a flip of a wonderful reworking through one mans story of his experience as a Slovenian Jew in the  holocaust as he returns to his home town which is Dusan the writers own town and the Hotel that is the centre of the town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

None book events-

I said in my recent Music post. I brought the new Pale saints reissue. I Have been listening to this and enjoyed the mini gig on the radio from Warmduscher. I on whole have had a quiet month this month post-Christmas. I also started back at the gym after a pre Christmas break. What has your month entailed?

Next Month

I have a Swedish novel from a Swedish greek writer set in world war two that involves a retelling of Homer’s work from a teacher from her memories of the work that also seems to echo the events of the Germans occupying the island in the present. Am nearly finish the latest peirene Novel as they turn ten this year and their books been a fixture on this blog. This latest book seems an Italian novella that has a man that has taken himself away from the world high in the alps discovering a foot in the snow. In the world, he shares with his dog a cantankerous beast as his only companion. Then a Hungarian novel . What are your plans for next month?

 

That was the month that was Novemeber 2019

  1. Air raid by Alexander Kluge
  2. Concrete by Thomas Bernhard
  3. An answer from the silence by Max Frisch
  4. The Pledge by Frederich Durrenmatt
  5. Homage to Czerny by Gert Jonke
  6. The trap by Ludovic Bruckstein
  7. All my cats by Bohumil Hrabal
  8. And where were you, Adam by Heinrich Boll
  9. The Cold Centre by Inka Parei
  10. Stand in Companion by Kazufumi Shiraishi

I managed to review ten books last month seven for this year’s German lit month I had hoped to get the Eighth life finished ut time was against me so that be coming later this week hopefully. Last month took me from the effect on one town of an air raid in world war two through a writer suffering writer’s block and hating Viennese life, then a man finding himself in the Alps a cop gets his man that wasn’t the man he thought it was in the start. Then a pair of siblings recreate a party from a year earlier then we visit a town where we see the war creeping in on the Jewish families there. A man suffers from two many cats a german soldiers at the end of the war see the horrors they have committed and the wrongs they have done then a man rushes to his ex-wife and a past event in East Germany and then I left Europe for a short novella from Japan about androids standing in for our partners. Where did your reading take you last month?

Book of the month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I popped for Air raid it was a close month reading-wise by Alexander Kluge had been on my list of writers to read in the last few years. This textured account of his home town and the after math of an air raid that was only caused when the original target was canceled and the bombs dropped on Halberstadt a town now famous for doing the longest piece of music in the world John Cages As slow as possible is currently being performed in the organ at Halberstadt for the next 600 years . A fact I discovered after reading this book and looking up info on his hometown.

Non book events

Well this year is the first in many I have to listen to a lot of new bands and this month it has been a new album by the  Canadian experimental band Deliluh they remind me a little  of the post-rock group  slint  with there often spoken-word lyrics and slow melodic guitars and then more noise-based guitar anyway here is a track from youtube of there new album.

Then a film from the  BYnwr website Murder in Mississippi  described as Torn-from-the-headlines exploitation or daring social commentary? Joseph P. Mawra’s film is a little of both, using the true story of the killing of civil rights workers in the American deep South as a gritty springboard for another ultra-low-budget entry from the director of Chained Girls. on MUbi where I watched it a take on the south in the 60s restored from the last 35mm film of it. A film worth watching as a low budget gem of the time. Nicholas Winding Refn love of old rare and forgotten gems has led to his website reshowing the gems He and his guest editors have found and restored.

September 2019 that was the month

  1. Welcome to America by Linda Bostorm Knaugard
  2. Years like Brief days by Fabian Dobles
  3. 10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world by Elif Shafak
  4. Milena, Milena,Ecstatic by Bae Suah
  5. The Marquise of O by Heinrich Von Kleist
  6. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
  7. Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

Book of the month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first time, I have picked a none translated book as my book of the month but this is one of those rare books that is undefinable it is a monster of a read but the rhythm in those lists where she jumps from here to there in them. My reading journey this month saw me head from a chaotic family in America through Costa Rican village, then a dead prostitute in Istanbul relives her life in the last ten mins of her life. Then a Korean filmmaker meets a strange woman. Then a german classic in a new translation as a marquise tries to find the father of her child. Then I finished it off with a Reworking of Don Quixote by Salman Rushdie. I am still behind on the books read this year on 68 books reviewed want to get to 100 this year I will need to pull my socks up a bit but with german lit month soon I feel I can get there hopefully.

Next month

I have a number of novellas to read from around Europe I can’t see me reading the other booker titles they are just too long especially as I have a 900 pages modern german masterpiece and an even longer Italian novel to read before the end of the year.

Non-book events

I had some time off work and visited the Holocaust museum in Nottinghamshire it is very small but touching it has two exhibits one is about the Holocaust and the other follows one ten-year-old boy’s journey through the Kindertransport in recreations of his home school the boat that brought him here. We also went to see Major Oak the 1200-year-old Oak tree that is in Sherwood forest held up it is huge tree. In my nostalgia tv corner, I have been watching the father Downing mysteries which featured Tom Bosley is best known for playing  The father on Happy days he was also a sheriff in Murder she wrote this series sees him as a vicar investigating crime a fan of Sherlock Holmes with his sidekick a streetwise Nun.

 

half million view break

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Have decided to rake a two-week break from blogging as I am struggling to post at moment just general tiredness after a set of night shifts at the weekend a few months of not sleeping well and just running on empty in general. So rather than push myself I’ve decided to take off the first two weeks in May. The blog will pass 500,000 page views over this time as I am amazed I reach this far and in a few months the blog turns ten a quick break is due to recharge my bookish mind and I need to reconnect on twitter and elsewhere. I have just started the first of two 500 plus page novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first of those two five hundred page books is Rummelplatz by Werner Bräunig a book considered a masterpiece of East German writing. It was a work he spent his life working on after the authorties wouldn’t let it be published I choose it for 1965club so it will be late in a review but I am enjoying the first hundred pages about the lives around a Uranium mine in East germany and the dreams of those hoping for a better life finding a different realty. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second book I am planning to read is from the Danish Nobel winner Henrik Pontoppidan Lucky Per a story of one man’s life Per an engineer who overcomes his background and makes a success of his life and tries to drag Denmark into the modern world by planning a series of Canal’s linking the country and making it more connected.  There is also a film of this book that came out last year I want to watch after I have read this book which was voted part of the Danish cultural cannon .

Winstons books some recent arrivals

I haven’t done an arrival post for ages anyway here are a few recent books I have been sent or I have brought my self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never got my copy of this just think it was lost in the post.  I have been waiting a while so I decide to buy this as I am a huge fan of her writing this is a novel that features two stories that mirror each other in a way I have already read the first half when it arrived this afternoon. I love this cover as well which suit the first story so well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An arrival from QC is always exciting this slim novel is about a woman’s life and a novel about her life blurs together her lover dream of prague as always I have high hopes for this as I haven’t read a bad novel from QC and so much of contemporary Quebacian fiction is cutting edge and appeal to me as a reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, a new arrival from Maclehose press The office of Gardens and ponds follows a village when there Master carp catcher suddenly drowns putting the future of the lives in the village and the palace that takes there carp. Written by the Secretary General of the academie Gincourt and is also a member of the Academie de marine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Maclehose title here and the sequel to Roy Jacobsen The unseen, back on the island of Barroy we see Ingrid trying to save her lover from being caught by the Germans as Norway is no under there rule and she saved the man from a bomb ship and now has to try and get by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been seeing that the Scottish publisher Vagabond voices bringing a number of books in translation out so I had a look at some of them and this one appeals to me shortlisted for the Russian booker it follows a Russian Estonian man and an Indian man in a Danish refugee camp their daily lives in the 90’s  and life on the road as they  dream of other places. Based on Ivaanov own experience as a stateless man in Denmark in the 90’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw a recent post from Messy bookers blog about a Carlos Fuentes novel Old gringos   I remarked it had been a while since I read him well looking back I had one review from him and have a few books but decided to add a few this one I had my eye on a while is a retelling of the Dracula story transport to Mexico city as Fuentes says ten million blood sausages (people) and a police force that  won’t mind a few disappearances

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other is an epic his tenth novel is narrated by a baby in the womb just before the 500th anniversary of Columbus discovering the new world comic work this sounds different.

Have you had anything exciting to arrive at your house recently?

 

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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