Winston’s coffee and muffin

Well another week has gone its Sunday and another round us of news and books .
News –  the shortlist for German book prize was announced the 6 books show the diversity of German writing at moment a number of books from people who came to Germany from the conflicts in eastern Europe in the nineties .one book in particular Melinda Nadj Abonji tauben fliegen auf ,a book about being an outsider and the Yugoslavian war as a back drop .I hope this and the others make it in to english soon they look wonderful.

I ve signed up for a read along of midnight children on biblio junkie starting in Nov I read it many years ago and not to join one in summer but didn’t find my copy to the other day when I had a good look round after reading Jov post about the read along .I m really interested to see if the book has change in 20 years since I read it as an innocent teen also how the book has weathered .so if you want to join in sign up at JOV’S  BIBLIOJUNKIE SITE

There was a great piece on books on the nightstand as ever about how do you read sip I.E read bit at a time but all through the day or gulp I.E sit for a half hour or more and saviour the book .well I gulp myself tend to try and have three sessions a day of half hour or more reading a day .also the is a passionate review of the David Grossman book by Ann from the show .


well there a two from Dalkey Archive that I ve my eye on the first is –

Best european fiction 2011 – i m still reading the 2010 one but this is meant to be bigger and have more countries and better quality writing as they had more to choose from this year a last year is Edited by Aleksandar Hemon .

The second is three book series they have released to tie in with Ljubljana the capital of Slovenia being world book city this year ,these 3 book all seem good but the holocaust one necropolis ,which has a good synopsis on the dalkey page


Here are some of the latest books i have got or been sent –

Santa Evita and The Tango Singer by Tomas Eloy Martinez ,now been wanting to read Martinez for a while ,the tango singer his last book follows one man’s journey through Buenos Aires in search of a famous tango singer that has never been recorded this leads to numerous interesting encounters en – route i got this in Sheffield on friday then today saturday was at book sale and got Santa Evita a telling of Eva Peron story I m hoping this is less saccharin than the musical and I get to find out more about this famous woman .

Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pablo Juan Gutierrez set in Havana’s consider a dirty realism classic in this book we experience the underbelly of this city it vices ,sex and drugs .

The land of Ulro by Czeslaw Milosz ,Milosz won the nobel in 1980 this is a prose piece about Poland and Lithuania the instytut ksiazki describes it as a intellectual and literary autobiography .this was a book sale bargain

Death in  Bordeaux by Alain Massie ,this is from Quartet ,the first of a trilogy we join inspector Lannes in the second world war Bordeaux france in the grips of the Vichy regime a homosexual man is found dead ,then another Lannes has to tread carefully to find the killer

new arrivals at winstons tower

we had a few new books come Winston and I ,two from reviews I ve read on other blogs and one from a publisher

they are –

more books dad !

skylark  byDezsö Kosztolányi which i read about on trevors blog the mooske and the gripes also nyrb had a poscast with a reading from the book .it follows skylark a young girl in a small hungarian town in 1900 .

The book of things by Ilhan Berk from salt publishing Ilhan was turkeys leading modernist poet this is a group of three volumes brought together in a single work translated by George Messo ,these are wonderfully set out and look amazing and is the start of some translated poetry on the Winstonsdad

The libary at night by Alberto Manguelo – which considered my recent wobble on blogging may jump up the pile ,Manguel is so passionate about books and reading i read about this on emily janes  blog although have read a couple of his other books over the years his stevenson under the palms i loved .

book booty from nottingham

On friday i went to an exhibition at Nottingham contemporary gallery ,this gave me chance to pop in to the large waterstones they have there and get some books this is what i got –

  • how to live by Sarah Bakewell – part biography /part philosophy Sarah’s book is about the 16th century french noble man and writer Michel De Montaigne who wrote numerous essays on a wide range of  subjects .I got heads upon this via rob at robaround books .
  • desert by J M G Le Clezio -The french writer was little known in the uk before his noble win two years ago this is a new translation of what is his most widely acclaimed and respected novel ,two intertwined stories one about tribal uprising the other set in a shanty town this is meant to be a tough read .
  • the year of the hare by Arto Pasilinna – This is highly regard in his native finland and france ,the story follows a journalist as he drops out of society to follow a hare he injured with a car into the wilds of Finland .
  • The conservationist by Nadine Gordimer – i got this at local Oxfam ,it’s a booker winner and one i ve want for quite a while .it follows Mering as his life falls apart a bit like the south africa around him .
  • A year in the woods – Colin Elford -This was my birthday gift from my darling wife and was a book i really wanted i love good nature writing and have want this since it was mention in a radio programme a start of the year ,it follows Colin a forest ranger for a yearn the ebb and follow of the unwinding seasons the wildlife and plants he sees .

book booty

book booty

yesterday i went to my local book sale at the church hall not been for a month so thought there may be some new items and there was  here is what i got –

  • hotel du lac by Anita Brookner – don’t know a lot about this other than it won the booker in 1984 ,i want to broaden the amount of female writers i read and this seems to fit that category .
  • Montaigne ,his essays – after hearing Rob at Rob around books wax lyrical about this and the Sarah Bakewell autobiography I decide to see what the fuss was about and this seemed a nice primer for that .
  • after Hannibal by Barry Unsworth – on the whole i m not a big fan of historic type fiction ,Barry Unsworth has done well in booker and the synopsis on the back of this novel sold it to me .
  • along came Dylan by Stephen Foster – i read the first book Stephen wrote about Ollie so when saw this it was a must buy for me ,i like real life dog stories hence my blog name Winston is my beautiful dog .watching Marley and me on the tv made me want a new dog book to read .
  • bound for glory by Woody Guthrie -I m fan of Woody’s music having got in to him via Billy Bragg and Dylan  .I knew about this book and would have got it at some point ,it follows woody through the depression and dust bowls across america .
  • night at the circus by Angela Carter – hands up never read her so got this to make up for that .

not bad for two-pound hey !




Today is st Patricks day ,as my father is irish and I was born in northern Ireland I d thought i do a post .I spent most of my childhood holidays in Ireland in Donegal making peat fire ,fishing ,rockpooling ,visiting the lakes of the south-west of Ireland ,time in cork .falling as a ten-year old in to a pond the main park in Dublin .My family history goes back to the 15th century in Ireland ,my grandparents had many books on irish myth that i read when young tales of giants and great kings .As a teenager i loved Wilde’s books .the above books are a few of my favourites – 

  • from the top -down
  • Oscar Wildes collected works -this has most of Wilde’s works ,i love his stories for children they are touching at time and at others funny just like the man himself
  • Ulysses by James Joyce -this is a treasure of mine an early 60’s edition from Bodley head before the text had been hacked ,I ve read it once and to be frank I was lost I will read it again till I get it fully.
  • a star called henry by Roddy Doyle – Roddy Doyle was some one i read a lot in my teens and early twenties this book isn’t his best that is paddy Clarke but I lent that someone and didn’t get it back .
  • the best of Myles Flann O’Brien this is a collection of piece Flann O’Brien published in the irish times from 1940 onwards
  • the master Colm Tobin his shortlisted booker novel

all behind our irish beleek candle tray ,that was a wedding gift  and we treasure.

a bargain and a thousand treats !

a thousand stories


 This was one of my best bargain book finds late last year at a charity market in town where my employers had a stall selling cakes , i d help make .i had a look round and spot this on a stall for people in Palestine ask how much it was they said three-pound but i gave them five-pound .this huge collection includes a thousand short stories from around the world mainly nineteenth century by such great writers as Hugo,Maupassant,Dickens,Thackary and Twain . I think it will take me the rest of my life to work through them but sure it ll be worth it .

book booty in sheffield

up them owls

          Today me and my darling wife went to Sheffield ,which meant i got chance to wander round Blackwell’s and Waterstones today ,which is always a treat for myself i got three books today :-

best european fiction 2010 ,this is Dalkey archives collection of short stories from 27 countries compiled by the Bosnian american writer Aleksandar Hemon ,this is Dalkey archives attempt to get Americans and others to read more european fiction ,i ve been looking forward to getting this book since i read about it earlier this year

Saplings by Noel Streatfield ,this is first of two book published by Persephone books the publisher republishes mainly female writers from twenties to fifties ,this particular story is set just before and during the second world war  and follows how a family copes with the wartime stresses .

cheerful weather for the wedding by Julia Strachey ,my second Persephone book is a novella from the Bloomsbury era a domestic tale ,i ve chosen two Persephone books for the Persephone reading week in may that i noticed on paperbackreaders blog

book booty

          Every month at least i try to make it to our local book sale at the church hall ,now most of the books there don t interest me but there is always a few gems to be had and today was a really good day for them i came back today with six books for two-pound fifty which is a bargain in any ones books the six books are-

  1. Chekhov  a life in letters ,Chekhovs letters a nice folio society edition as well in great condition ,have a few letter collections a good insight in to a writer i always feel
  2. Foucault’s pendulum by Umberto Eco have had half an eye out for this since being recommend it by Rob at the fiction desk ,pleased I waited a nice hard back edition hope it is a good as Rob said it was
  3. fathers and sons by Ivan Turgenev another folio society book ,don’t know a lot about it other than William Trevor is a fan of Turgenev which is a good enough for me
  4. Wuthering heights by Emily Bronte ,have read this as a teenager ,mainly got it as it’s a everyman library book adding it to may small but growing collection of Everyman’s
  5. black dog by Ian McEwan didnt read this when it came out thought pick it up not read many McEwan’s and always like books with a connection however vague to dogs
  6. Saint Mayle by Anne Tyler ,Tyler has been recommend to me by bookrambler saw this one of two and like this one best by the synopsis on the back of the book

bolano,bolano ,bolano

having just brought nazi literature in america by Roberto Bolano and having 2666 on shelf still to read ,imagine my dismay to find that three are no fewer than 3 more translation of Bolanos earlier work due out this year .This brought to mind a interview in Guernica  by H C Moya about the danger in the rising power of Bolano is having on overshadowing other latin american lit or Bolano inc .I enjoyed savage detectives and have an interest in reading these three books but feel slightly overwhelmed that they are all coming out in a 8 month period .Bolano died in 2oo3 ,but in last twelve months seems to have building up a head of steam and is on course to replace Garcia Marquez  as the most recognized latin american writer .

      First is nazi literature in america is already out a fictional account of right-wing writers in south america ,next up is monsieur pain a slim tome about a Peruvian poet on new directions .in may come Antwerp another slim tome a prose poem and crime story in one .last up in august is the return both of these also out on new directions .

Have you read B

olano  ?

Do you think this is too much at once ?

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June 2021


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