Finally Holiday time

I have been missing a lot the last few months as I have just been running on empty two years of Covoid has been a lot. SO I have been counting down and now tomorrow Amanda and I finally get to have a long trip away we had a weekend away with family but this is our first break for over two years we had a couple of other plans curtailed due to lockdowns and restrictions over last year or so. So tomorrow we head north a last-minute change of destination we are going to Northumberland a place close to my heart as twenty-odd years ago I lived there for a couple of Years so when our plans change at the last minute a couple of weeks ago we opted for Northumberland. I even brought a guidebook as we look to do some new things this time we went a few years ago but this time we aim to do new things barring another day in Alnwick my old home town and home to the largest second-hand book shops in the Uk.  Barter books a shop that open when I lived there and had gone from the old waiting room of the station in Alnwick to the whole building over the years. This place was maybe the acorn of what I have become as a reader it was one of the first places I chanced on my reading experiences trying then unknown to me writers things like the Beats and some of my first translated writers. This was an age before the internet so a new writer was unknown to me as a reader no quick google search. A gem of a place. So a visit there it always feels like a rejuvenating experience. I have a pile of books with me and will be taking the laptop so may write a post or two if not I will be back and hit the ground running and reviewing in a little over a week. Has covid and the restriction hit your blogging or meant you can’t have a holiday? As we now face the world opening up again a=what are your plans moving forward

that was the month that was Sept 2018

books read –

  1. in every wave by Charles Quimper
  2. Endless blue sky by Lee Hyoseok
  3. Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava
  4. Drive your Plow over the bones of the dead by Olga Tokarczuk
  5. Explosions by Mathieu Poulin
  6. Eleven Prague Corpses by Krill Kobrin
  7. Everyday life by Lydie Salvayre
  8. The dog by Kerstin Ekman

I managed to review a number of books from seven countries and from all around the world. I traveled from a man struggling with the passing of his daughter then to Korea and  Manchuria in the pre-war years. A dazzling novel of modern America and two people at different ends of modern America. People turn up dead in a valley in a distant area of Poland. Then we imagined that Michael Bay is actually a visionary and challenging filmmaker with themes behind his films. Then an expat Russian in Prague solves a number of deaths in the city. A city he isn’t a fan of either. Then a secretary sees a new arrival as her enemy or is it more than that is she losing her mind !! Then a feral dog grows from a pup to an adult away from man but is slowly drawn back by one man and his old grey dog.No new publishers but a real selection of styles of writing and types of fiction from short Borges stories through Poetic prose of suffering and then the chaos of modern America caught on the page through various forms of writing.

Book of the month- In every wave by Charles Quimper



















This short but powerful book has a man trying to capture what happened when his daughter drowned. His marriage then falls apart and he only feels at home and near her on his sailboat as he tries to relive that day to see if it could have ended differently.This is one of the most touching books of recent years.

Discovery of the month-

My non-book discovery is the Sky arts series treasures of the British Library where a number of Stars four so far have visited the library. They get to choose six items that relate or have inspired them from people they admire or events they what to visit and the library have found piece connect to them. Like Nicola Benedetti when she gets to touch Beethovens tuning fork an item that has been touch by many great figures in classical music.A series that show the power of Libraries and preserving the past.

Next month-

I  am struggling with life at the moment so have found reading hard the last week or so but I am planning to read a couple of NYRB books for Lizzy Siddal’s  NYRB book fortnight. Then a couple for German Lit month. I have the Latest Javier Marias on order from the Library and have a few old Dalkey books to read. I just want to get my general Mojo back and my reading back to normal.


New sentiments and old friends


Well this dropped on the doorstep yesterday. I have only read Madame Bovary years ago so as I am wanting to try as part of my forthcoming blog goals page is to try and reach a 100 french books this year as I am only 29 books away from that total this new translation from Oxford university press of sentimental education the tale of Frédéric Moreau journey into manhood from country to Paris as the country under goes great changes.


Then today I got latest  and the first in this year’s fairy tale series from another old friend Peirene press this tale of a gorilla told from his point of view as he struggles  with the the human world and human weakness. Also in the package was the latest Peirene newspaper which I am so.proud to have my blog mentioned as one to read for international literature


winstons post – the event of the decade

Rarely do I get really excited about a book and a writer but this book and its writer deserve to be shouted about ,this is the latest book from the hungarian writer Peter Nadas ,it took him 18 years to write the three volumes that make up parallel stories and it has taken the translator Imre Goldstein 5 years to bring the book to english .It is 1152 pages long so is one of the longest books in translation .The book covers post war eastern europe from end of war the Budapest uprising in 1956 to the fall of the berlin war .I think this book is probably going be the best insight into living behind the iron curtain in fiction .Its told through a number of characters from Germany , Hungary,with its main focus on two families one German ,one Hungarian there is a in-depth interview with him about the book here .The book is due out in November I will be reviewing it then over three days as three books that make the complete book .I feel this is a strong contender for the 2012 Independent foreign fiction prize as a book of this scale rarely comes round .  I think it’ll take a month for me to  get through the book .

What do you think ? 

Winstons books

Been a while since I posted some books that have arrived at Winston towers ,well last week I had five books arrive ,although to be truthful two had been at post office for a number of days but postman hadn’t let me know luckily Simon from the post office three door down from me manage to grab me and tell me they’d been left there .so here are the books –

The books are –

The milk man in the night by Andrey Kurkov – this is the latest offering from th Ukrainian writer ,a satire a man keeps disappearing every night so hires some one to follow him and report back ,with shocking results .I loved death and the penguin by him and have read 50 pages so far and loving it .

The manual of darkness by Enrique De HÉriz  – this is one of Frank Wynne’s latest translations .We follow Victor Losa a magician he is in the middle of an act when he loses his vision ,this sends him on a journey into the past and discovering more about Peter Grouse a famous pickpocket who challenge the famous Victorian magicians to see who was best among them .I m looking forward to this another great Spanish writer by the look of it .

River of shadows by Valerio Varesi – I was sent the paperback by Machlehose books ,but had reviewed the hardback last year here is my review ,if you ,like  you crime tinged with the past this is the book for you .

Killed at the whim of a hat by Colin Cotterill – we follow Jimm Jureee a crime reporter as he tries to find  who killed two skeletons that have been discovered they ve been dead for thirty years and one of them is wearing a hat .I must admit I may have put this to one side as it isn’t a translation but  I like the cover and the story sounds great as well .


ANd last but no means least

Maybe this time by Alois Hotschnig – now the arrival of a new Peirene is alway a treat and here it is number six from the nymph and her girls ,a collection of short stories this time from one of the most well-known writers in Austria ,stories include a man lured into a house where he finds a doll that looks like him .His works have been compared to the late great Thomas Bernhard which is praise indeed .

Which of these books would you enjoy ?

white tiger & passport winners

my 9 year old nice pick the number out as winston is in kennels at mo –

for white tiger she picked no 2 which was rise .

for passport she picked no 7 which was valarie

I ll e mail winners for addresses and send in the next week ,thanks all for entering shall do another give away soon

winstons post and under starts orders

The first 2 from Winstons post are –

Sunset Oasis by Bahaa Taher

This won the first man booker arabic fiction prize ,a mesmerising tale of love ,power and conflict set in 19th century Egypt says the cove ,Taher is ahighly respected writer in his own country ,the book is translated by Humphrey Davies .

The life of an unkown man by Andrei Makine

Makine is considered on of the greatest living writers ,he is a russian born frenchman who lives in paris this is his latest novel .It follos a writer in russia dishearten by modern russia meets a old man and hears his tale of life in russia since the secoond world war ,This is due out in october .and as with all Makine’s books is translated by Geoffrey Strachan .

The other Thing that arrived this week was the poetry collection I won via nonsuch books .This is a collection of  6 volumes ,that were all first published by Faber .the books are beautifully made with great covers and lovely endpapers in each edition .Here is fabers page about them ,many thanks Frances from Nonsuch and Gemma at faber who sent them .


This week means the start of windmills of the mind ,here is my Don Quixote and notebook ready .

winstons post

Well there has been a few packages at Winston towers . This week here i ll give a brief description of books and where they came from –

Andrew Kaufman from Telegram


1. These came from Kelly at telegram books ,via twitter .these are the debut and new novel by Canadian writer Andrew Kaufman .All my friends are superheros his debut came out in 2003 it follows tom a non superhero in a world of superheros as he tries to be seen by his wife that has been hypnotized to not see tom by her ex .the new novel the water proof bible which see three character Rebecca lewis and Aberystwyth going on a road trip come quest across Canada as they try to find redemption .

link to telegram page

on many deaths of Amanda Palmer

2. this book came to me by duckworth books via twitter ,it is a collection of writings edited by Rohan Kriwaczech ,the musician writer and composer ,the book follows an outpouring of writing by fans of Dresden dolls and now solo singer Amanda Palmer these piece sprung up on the internet and have now been given the term Palmeresque ,it is a wonderful example of fan fiction .

 link to duckworth page

the inheritance Peter Stephan Jungk

3. via Pushkin press ,I m taking part in my first blog tour and this is the book we re touring .the book is from  the well-known German writer Peter Stephan Jungk he is also a screenwriter and essayist ,lives in paris .the book follows Daniel Loew a poet as he tries to claim his uncles inheritance ,this takes him to his uncle’s home in Venezuela and then on to Miami and hamburg ,all this against a back drop of Hugo Chavez failed coup .the book is a Hoffman translation so really looking forward to it

link to Pushkin press  

books from insidebooks

4. these came from my friend and fellow blogger Simon ,strangely the books have thematically similar covers although totally different stories ,the book of fame is Lloyd jones debut novel ,he shot to fame with mister Pip ,Jones is from New Zealand and his debut follows the first all black tour of england a group of ordinary men become huge heros after this successful tour in 1905 .The second is David Mitchells new novel a book that is set to become on of the books of the year and may give him the booker the book follows Jacob De Zoet a dutch clerk in 1790’s japan .as ever Mitchell has proved his talent by writing something different to his previous canon of work .

link to inside books

March 2023


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