That was the month that was August 2021

  1. The return of the Caravels by Antonio Lobo Antunes
  2. Some kind of company by Nan Ostman
  3. Childhood by Tove Ditlevsen
  4. The Liquid land by Raphaela Edelbauer
  5. The Innocence of Memories by Orhan Pamuk
  6. Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro
  7. The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan
  8. The Others by Raül Garrigasait

This month saw me read and review 8 books I am still on course to reach the 100 reviews for the year. We started with a novel that saw the great figures from Portugal’s past return to the post-Salazar Country and what had happened over time. Then I had released when I reviewed these two books for Woman in Translation month these two Nordic novels sort form a tale end of lives the first a look at that “Emptynester” world of people when their that sees the home is empty and they have to get on or not. Then a rough and poor childhood. Then a quirky novel from Austria a hidden village a grieving daughter that gather all isn’t well in the village as they just carry on. Then a companion piece to Pamuk’s novel follows a film he made about his Museum that was based on the novel or came because of the novel. Then a crime novel or more a novel about a mother finding out about her daughter’s death and what really happened and why? Then a childhood in Turkey is the first of three books following a guest worker’s life from when she grew up in Turkey and then in Germany. Then the last is a Prussian officer in a Spanish war Historic novel that has a fourth-wall-breaking narrative.

Book of the month

I just loved all the books this month but this book by Pamuk gripped me I loved the novel The museum of innocence about a doomed love affair is about that but also an ode to a lost city that isn’t there a city of dark alleys and uncertain places that has now gone as the city grew.

Other non-book events

We had a few trips to the peaks this month. But the main event in my life was a new car I had my late stepmother’s old car as my first car which although 15 years old had a low mileage it broke down just before my nights but was better than in the morning after a night shift. So after a visit to the garage we decided the cost of repairs was too much so with help from family I have a newer car yet unnamed but I have Suzuki Baleno which I am loving driving. But miss my first car as it had a large sentimental value to me and memories of Amanda and I trips out since I started driving a couple of months ago.

Next Month

Well as there isn’t anything in particular in the blogging world unless I have missed something so I have a lot of new books to read as I near the 2000th post on the blog which is 19 posts away. So I have a number of books from Eastern Europe near the end of the month I am taking a trip to Scotland for a welcome break after the last 18 months. what plans do you have ?

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?

The Penguin Classic book week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was sent this lovely Hardback book by Henry Elliot of the history of Penguin classics which covered all the books Penguin classic have brought out over the years little pen pictures of writers and some of the books. This is the sort of dip in and out of the book you can have for the rest of your life. I decided the best way to get it across would be maybe a personal but open to all reading week. I have decided the second week of April to have read these four books from my Tbr that are all in the Penguin Classics book. So if you have a chance between the 8th April and the 15th to read a penguin classic you are welcome to join in .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First up and I go way back to Ancient Greece and my copy of the Iliad by Homer and my 70’s edition which is translated by E V Rieu. A book that is considered the greatest work of Greece and my first foot into Classical literature on this blog. I’m not sure how good this version is or if it is but the Penguin Classic book says it has had the most translations of any Penguin classic over the time they have been bringing the book out.I often feel I have a huge gap in my reading from so little classics I have read so this is a time to change that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I go now forward to Victorian times and to Charles Dickens I choose A tale of two cities by him as it is one that isn’t talked about as much as other and also given its setting partly in France fits nicely in the blog and it is one of the few by him I hadn’t read years ago. I was at his museum a few years ago for a book launch and said then I need to read him and especially as my best friend is a huge Dickens fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the first Italian novels tells the birth of Modern Italy.  Confessions of an Italian tells the great story of the Italian Risorgimento through a sweeping tale of Love, betrayal, villainy, and heroism. I also love the cover of this book for me the picture on the cover just wanted me to buy this book when it came out a few years ago. italo Calvino was a huge fan of this book. An epic at more than 800 pages this is one I have been wanting to get to but keep putting aside now seems a good time.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last off I go to Russia and an Outsider in the time he wrote Nikolai Leskov story collection Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and other stories. I was grabbed by the fact he had used Shakespeare’s characters for his fiction. A chance to read one of the most unique voices of Russian literature in a book that came out in 1987 for the first time in Penguin Classics.

With 1200 books being published by Penguin classics I’m sure everyone has one or two li=ying around and maybe getting Henry Eliot’s book would be a great intro and guide to them!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pushkin Press fortnight MK2 Feb 13-28 2017

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It was three years ago I did the first Pushkin press fortnight in 2014. As a publisher whose books I have enjoyed not just reading but also there design . Since the original fortnight Pushkin Have grown with a number of new imprints Pushkin Vertigo doing crime fiction One of their books  I recently saw was  by Frederic Dard,which  caught my eye , he was a friend of Simenon he wrote nearly as many as his fellow writer with 200 books in french.Pushkin Children whihc has been publishing the Dutch fantasy series by Tonke Dragt. Pushkin Collections this is where  all those Tranlsated classics we all love . The most recent is The Odessa stories by Isaac Babe was a paperback of the week in the Guardian l. One the best of english lit The fisherman was on the booker list from this imprint. As for me I’m looking forward to reading The Evenings by Gerald Reve for the fortnight.Why now you ask well it is thanks to Lizzy from Lizzy Siddal  who herself is trying to cut her TBR pile and in doing so found a number of Pushkin books so ask me if I would do a second Pushkin press fortnight , SO the last 15 days in Feburary if you could try and read one of more books from Pushkin press it would be great . Have you a favourite from them ? Please leave a comment of post on twitter with the Hashtag#ppf2

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Five wonderful years of Peirene Press lets go back to year one

stones in a landslide

This years sees the fifth year of Peirene press publishing the wonderful novellas in translation and on this #translationthurs , I m setting a challenge  for you all .They publish three books a year and each year has  a theme for the three books that  year .I for one have loved every single book I have read from them ,Meike seems to have a real talent to  bring three books on a theme every year that although different show different sides of the theme of the year and how this theme can be viewed around europe  . Any way its been five years since ,I read the first three books from Peirene so I’ve decide this  December I ‘m going to revisit those first three books on the theme of female voices  and review them again , to see if time has change my view of them but also to see if the five years since I reviewed them if this blogger has changed in the way I look at books ! I would love for some of my fellow bloggers to join in with just one or even all of the books , for the first time or just to revisit them like my self .The first three are beside the sea by Veronique Olmi  which has since been a play .Stone in a landslide by Maria Barbel , any one that has read this blog or followed me on twitter for any time know this is my all time favourite from Peirene , a classic of Catalan fiction and will tie nicely with the two recent books from there I have read .Lastly portrait of the mother as a young woman , a one sentence book that follows a young woman on one afternoon in Rome in 1943 .So just read and post over December if we use a hashtag of #peirene5  then we can see them on twitter .

What is your favourite book from Peirene press !! ?

AUTONAUTS OF THE COSMOROUTE BY JULIO CORTAZAR AND CAROL DUNLOP

source – personnel copy published by Telegram books

Julio Cortazar was a Argentina writer spent his youth around Europe before his family settled back in Argentina ,on leaving university ,he became a translator in france for Unesco ,he lived there until his death in the eighties ,he is considered one of the most influential latin american writers of the period  and european writers including Roberto Bolano and Georges Perec ,he was part of the fifties Noveau roman movement .The book follows Cortazar and his third wife the writer photograph Carol Dunlop,on a trip down one of the main freeways of france from Paris to Marseilles .

The book is made up as a travelogue / guide book in the style of the great books of history by the likes of Marco Polo .We find the preparation ,planning for this Journey down the main road from Paris to Marseilles ,not leaving the road and visiting two rest areas every day and sleeping in the dragon the name they gave their battered VW camper they had got for this voyage of discovery ,so we see the guys organizing food drops gathering scientific equipment a typewriter camera ,so they set of and we see each rest stop described .How the struggle with washing etc . Then we get Julio’s daily observations a map of the route ,what they eaten and Carols photographs of the gallant troop as they try to conquer the route .

The parell highway we’re looking for perhaps only exists in the imagination of those who dream of it ; but if it exists I( its to soon to make categorical affirmations and nevertheless one would say we’re there and have been for the last twenty for hours ;let’s be skeptical reader think before denying reality to this new route by eliminating the “perhaps” from the phrase ,that may well disappear with it ;may he have patience then,at least wait until we’ve been able to gather evidence .

just before they embark on the journey .

What I loved about this book is Julio’s ability to take what may seem something very boring and uninteresting as I 33 journey down a single road not leaving it for that time .But what he does is like slow cooking is in this age of speed and jets ,that as he says you may notice more when travelling at camels pace .So every rest are thou similar to the last is like a new country awaiting observation and discovery with their woods ,dogs that may be there or bins that may look like a little knights helmet ,how will the dragon cope with the heat ? .as the pace is slow they notice little things that pass the every day motorist ,it shows how the ebb and flow of life has sped up  over time .even at the end there is a sadness that the trip went so quickly .I ve had this a good year on my shelves and wish I d pick it earlier to read as it was a book I knew I d love and it was finished in two evening not bad for a 368 page BOOK,I just want to see them reach the next rest area have that next encounter and see what Julio made of it and what pictures there was of this leg of the trip  .the book was translated by Anne McLean from the Spanish .

Have you read Cortazar ? if so what should I read next ?

POEM STRIP BY DINO BUZZATI

source – own copy purchased from amazon

publisher –  NYRB CLASSICS

Dino Buzzati was one of italys leading writers ,he work all his life as a journalist in Milan for the corrierie della sera,during the war he served as a journalist in Africa attached to an Italian marine troop ,he had his first novel published in 1933 ,he is best known for his 1940 novel The Tatar steppes the story of an officer stuck at an old fort in the desert as time passes .Poem strip was his last book  published in 1969 and was his only graphic Novel .

The book follows Orfi a young  brooding musician who falls for a women who is already dead  but up on the surface from the underworld Eura ,he follows her to a door on the viva saterna in Milan ,this door leads to the underworld ,eventually Orfi enters this underworld he wants to bring Eura to the real world again and has a day to find her ,he avoids the temptation of the underworld where he is offered different women to try out  and also sees the chaos of the underworld  .but sticks to his guns .It combines music ,sex and the dark side of life wonderfully .

A sample of the artwork the story itself is a modern retelling of the greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice myth the descent to the underworld if you aren’t keen on reading the original greek  myths this is one of the best modern retelling of this myth .The book is very graphic in places ,you can tell Dino Buzzati liked the female form ,it is compelling and obviously was a real passion for Buzzati who also did a number of actual paintings connected to the story ,these were exhibited in Milan in 2007 .This book is a real find as ever by NYRB they keep turn these wonderful books up .A warped take on the sixties from an  Italian perspective from a philosophical and thoughtful writer ,this has made me want to read Tatar steppe that has been on my wish list for ages .The story was translated by Mairna Harss who has translated a number of the best known Italian writers ,she did a great job of making Orfis songs still seem poetic in translation .

who wants to help ?

I would love some people to help me out with the around the world challenge have a basic format but ideas and offers of help most welcome .THE IDEA SO FAR IS 11 CATEGORISE no order but a year-long challenge ,thinks I need help with are using mister linky ,making a button for blogs to show any help or offers of support be most welcome . here is what the categories would be –

  1. EUROPE (NORTHERN) -ie Germany ,Holland ,Sweden ,Denmark , Finland,Russia ,Poland ,uk ,Iceland ,Ireland ..
  2. EUROPE(SOUTHERN)-ie spain ,Portugal,Italy ,Greece,Turkey Balkans …
  3. AFRICA (FRENCH AFRICA) The west of africa mainly Senegal ,Cotes de Ivorie including books in other language from these areas in english.
  4. AFRICA (ENGLISH SPEAKING ) southern and eastern africa IE Kenya ,Ghana ,South Africa also books in other languages translated in to english
  5. ARABIC books from the arabic world Algeria ,Egypt etc
  6. ASIA  (Korea ,Japan and China )
  7. ASIA rest of asia
  8. AMERICAS (NORTH) US AND CANADA BOOKS
  9. AMERICAS (CENTRAL) plus Caribbean
  10. AMERICAS (SOUTH )
  11. AUSTRALIA ,NEW ZEALAND AND OCEANIA

There are categories I ve in mind and let people read in what ever order they want but one a month for challenge leaving spare month as we all have things crop up and may need time in hand .

WHAT DO YOU THINK ?

I want this to be fun my personnel goal was to read books from 52 countries this year I ve nearly done that in twelve months ,its given me such a scope of books ,I just in a little way want to pass that on to other people in a fun way ,all the best stu and winston .

Best European Fiction 2010 Bosnia

best european fiction 2010

Now it has been a while and I really should get through the rest of the stories and novel snippets ,especially as the 2011 one is due in a few weeks ,so have got rest of this book cleared before starting this

TITLE – AT THE SARAJEVO MARKET BY IGOR STIKS

This short story focuses on a couple going round the market during the war in Bosnia ,we see old books being sold for a bargain of 1 Deutschmarks a piece rare german translation ,Shakespeare ,then they find a watch and tell the story of the previous owners in the end leaving the market empty-handed .The writer was nominated for the Impac in 2006 for the translation in to english of his novel A castle in Romagna ,he currently lives in Edinburgh ,his second novel won the Croatian book of the year .

great new project

I received a e-mail from James Alsono the other day from the polyglot project a new venture initially with classic books where you can try to read in the original language and then use their tools to translate words you aren’t very sure of .This includes don Quixote ,which is how james found me now I know Richard is read along in spanish with us so this may help if you want to see how the orignal was written and help improve your spanish there is also works in german english and french to work on .

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