12 Birds to save your life by Charlie Corbett

 

12 Birds to save your life by Charlie Corbett

British Nature writing

Source – Library book

I take another step along the path of the Wainwright longlist books. It is strange I picked a book last month of my Trio of books that I had enjoyed was a memoir about grief this is another book around Grief. Charlie Corbett is a writer and a farmer that has spent his time between the Wessex Downs and Isle of Mull( you couldn’t get two places further apart in the Uk.he lives with his wife on the downs with his sons and a field full of skylarks which is one of the 12 birds of the book where he uses his love of birds and mixes into a memoir of Birds and the death and how his family coped when their Mother died and how birds have been viewed through time and he mixes them up this is his life in a hard time.

Peewits (otherwise known as lapwings or green plovers) are, in fact, a bird of the coast – a wader – but they breed up on hills during the spring and summer. And if you scan the sky in February, you might see great flocks of peewits circling up above looking for suitable places to nest. I almost drove off the side of the motorway when I saw such a sight not that long ago (once you develop a love for birds, almost crashing cars will become a common occurrence, I’m afraid)

I used to see these on a drive between towns growing up a bird we see a lot less of these days.

The book uses twelve birds native to the UK, which are common bar two of them which are harder to see the sections combine Charlie’s family life at what is one of the hardest times in people’s lives and that is the loss of a parent the effect on the wider family and how the sight of the birds and connections about myths and legends around the birds and how they have seen them over time. He also has a comic touch to describe some birds and their wider family-like calling a Jackdaw like the Danny deviate of the crow world. Then at the end of each section a guide to how to see each bird and how common they are and also it highlights how some birds over time have drastically declined those so common and still common mare getting less so like the little sparrow. It shows how we have to feed and make sure our gardens make birds welcome.

And if Danny DeVito had an extrovert cousin who liked to dress in Paris clothes, then that would be the Jay. The Jay is another characterful member of the Corvid clan. Though instead of the usual sombre black ensemble, the Jay sports a pink suit, bright white shirt with dazzling electric blue wingtips and a snappy black moustache under the beak. You’ll certainly hear a jay before you see one(its Latin name is Garrulous Glandarius). If you are walking through woodland, your ears will be assaulted by a shattering shriek, just as you remark to your walking companion, ” What the hell was that bloody awful noise?”, you’ll see this pinky-blue-white blur fly past with a kind of lazy undulation lollo. Yet despite its shouty call and garish costumes, the jay is, in fact, really rather a shy creature.It lives in woodland and really ventures out.

I loved this description of a jay in the section about Magpies.

I loved this as many of you know I love books that connect objects to things to memories it has always been something that has driven me as a reward this was one of the books that really jumped out at me of the Wainwright longlist. especially as I have always had a love of birds but also the myths and legends around birds which is something I have always loved. I often look for a robin when a bird is meant to be the soul visiting you at my mum’s grave site. They are one of the birds Charlie talks about. Then he talks about Kingfisher a bird I had on my wall as a kid one of the birds I love to see as you only ever see a brilliant blue flash as they so often disappear so quickly. He also has anBarn Owl which made me think of My work Owl there is a Tawny owl I have seen a few times it sites of a post at the back of work and I see it there and think I have seen a couple of things it has killed on the gardens at work. I think it is great as the first time I saw it a patient showed it me it made their day, especially showing me. Have you a favourite book that deals with Grief and its effect on a family?

Winstons score – B solid book around birds and grief and how they enter our lives their but sometimes we notice them more.

That was the month that was June 2022

  1. To sir, with love by E R Braithwaite
  2. Among the Almond trees by Hussein Barghouthi
  3. Angel Station by Jachym Topol
  4. The blue bedspread by Raj Karmal Jha
  5. A cage in search of a Bird by Florence Noiville
  6. The young pretender by Michael Arditti
  7. The rabbit factor by Anti Tuomainen
  8. Ninth building by Zou Jingzhi
  9. Cinema stories by Alexander Kluge
  10. Copsford by Walter J. C. Murray
  11. The Military Orchid by Jocelyn Brooke 
  12. Goshawk summer by James Aldred

This month has been a good month for me reading as I have reviewed 12 books which is a total I haven’t hit for a while. The journey starts With being an immigrant in London post-war. Then return home after a lifetime away as a man dies and sees the ghosts of his past. Then 90s Prague and the flotsam and jetsam around a station lives are revealed. Then a woman meets a woman who starts to take over her life. Then a young actor and victim of grooming tries to review his career and escape his past. Then a brother inherits a fun fair and falls in love add to that a mafia angle in a great Finnish crime novel. Then growing up in Mao’s Beijing then being sent into exile to the hinterlands of China. Then Kluge wrote a number of stories about cinema and his world of films. Then a man drops out and collects herb in the first of three great nature books, then a man is obsessed with an Orchid he read about then spends his life hunting orchids and the holy grail of the Military Orchid. Then we have summer during lockdown watching goshawk nest and having a family of chicks in the New Forest. So a month that has seen me here there and everywhere. What has your path been this month through the books you have read?

Trio of the month

Among the Almond trees by Hussein Barghouthi

Hussein’s last days spent in the area of Ramallah where he grew up left and has returned to after a lifetime away he is haunted by his death and the ghost of his past. Very poetic and touching work there is another book from him coming out later this year I can’t wait for that book as this is one of the most touching books I have ever read.

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen

A brother inherits the mess his brother has left in an amusement park full of odd characters that work there. He also falls for someone that is the polar opposite of the uptight account he is in a crime novel. But is so much more it has comedy romance and a bunch of odd characters and a damaged giant plastic rabbit.

Copsford by Walter J C Murray

A man moves to a derelict cottage and tries to live on the land as he tries to escape the life in London as he learns how to reap the herbs around Copsford. A great book about what has happened in the last few years.

Other events this month-

I  finally got to watch for the second time the series The story of Film an Odyssey. I had been given it as a present at Christmas and hadn’t got to it yet but this last month I watch the first two-discs of Mark Cousin history of cinema that encompass all of the worlds he just makes you just want to watch so many books. I watch the new series of Obi-wan on Disney which was a great series as it fills in some timeline gaps in the Star Wars story and I rewatched Only Murders in the Building ready for the second series of the comedy series is a tongue-in-cheek look at the world of true-crime podcast. I also went to the extra record store day middle of the month which had two records which I had to want but were delayed. The two I had on cd but wanted Beth Orton’s two LPs on Vinyl Central reservation and Trailer park her lo-fi acoustic sound is a great summer night sound I will love listening to them this summer.

The month ahead I am reading a little less translation for the foreseeable future I say this then go down a rabbit hole and see this and that book here I think the passion is there just a Little less over summer but it is the 10th Spanish and Portuguese lit month I will be reading the two books I had mentioned for the month plus a few extra. Plus work my way through the Wainwright longlist which I have all but three books now from the library. Amanda and I are off on Monday for a short break in Northumberland again we can’t wait as it means a visit to the wonderful Barter books which means a pile of books from our Holiday and some pictures of our trip.

What have you done last month or planned next month ?

Copsford by Walter J. C. Murray

Copsford by Walter J. C. Murray

British Nature writing

Source – personal copy

I have decided a couple of years ago that every time I go and put flowers and visit where we scattered my mum’s ash which is about an hours drive from where I live in Derbyshire .I would by some nature writing my Mom and my Granddad who are also scattered on the same site in Macclesfield in Cheshire with were great nature lovers my granddad had a love of birds and birdwatching he paid for my old YOC membership growing up (the youth section of the (RSPB). So there is a mid-size Waterstones there which is slightly big than the one we have here so I went to the nature section and had a look round and actually had another book in my hand when this one caught my eye with its Black white cover which by the sheer tone of the photo you could tell it was an old print. The book was written by Walter Murray he was from Sussex and had been living in London in a third-floor flat when he decided he want to do a Thoreau (as in Walden) and he decide to return to Sussex and rent a heap the hep on the cover a cottage called cops ford and try and make a living of the land grow and drying herbs and making a simpler life.He had a lifelong love of nature and took photos of Nature the photos in this book are from the original book when it came out in 1948( The Copsford year was in the 20s though)

“No one ain’t lived in Copsford for more ‘an twenty year’ he protested “Its do be out of repair like’

“You’m best go an’ ; ave a look around first,’ he suggested. Then returning to the familiar rut, ‘Ice going ‘ ploughin’ in the ten-acre.’

He readjusted his hat and began to harness his two horses. He was happy again, so I set off across the field to inspect Copsford, this cottage “sech a mile from nowhere” where no one wanted to live.

He goes to look at cops ford after the farmer warns how it is derelict.

I am drawn to the idea of living away from it all one of the things I want to do in the future is go back to Northumberland and live in a small village. So the book opens when he decides to leave his third floor flat and his life in London and with his Dog floss his sheepdog. The farmer iS taken back when he asks if he can take on Copsford the cottage had been empty for decades and was broken down as you can see ion the cover also it is full of rats. So the opening few chapters we see him first trying to get at least one room liveable as he then tries to get rid of the rats from the property all this as he is having to fetch water and live by candlelight as he also reconnects with his childhood sweetheart a music teacher, this is about the time in the mid-twenties when Murray became a teacher and eventually a headmaster at his own school. What fools is his upon and downs as he Lears to live on the land and also at the end chapter sees him comparing what he made to how he lived in London to the money earned for rent and living costs in Copsford.

If the herb is taken too late from the drying-room, and this quite frequently happens when a spell of dry weather suddenly succeeds a long damp, blowdrying period, the plant is so brittle that it crumbles to dust. The rosette of pale green leaves of cleavers is so slight that there is always some loss of herb at the bagging-up time, but that is better than mould. Other herbs, if allowed to become to dry, just cannot be handled; they smash and crumble and fall away into useless fragments, Others again – a few – one never seems to be able to dry enough; they always feel moist or oily to the touch, no matter how many days they hang on the line

He learns how to dry the herbs he is wanting to harvest dry and sell

 

 

I said in the intro I called this a Thoreau he did similar when he went to live next to Walden lake it was a way to escape the pressure of the present and this is similar he just wants to capture the countryside and live on the land with his dog Floss and he does what he does is also start to notice the seasons and the world around him as he struggles to collect and work at his plan to gather and forage for Herbs to dry and sell. Then there is also the budding romance between him and his childhood sweetheart who lives near Copsford. The cottage itself becomes a character in the book, even more, when he decides to stay in the winter as he said it was the last gift it gave him. This book is timely there seems to be a movement toward a simple life post-Lockdown people have reconnected with nature and want a simpler life it’s strange that the Similar events in the 70s with strikes and cost of living crisis lead to the likes of the Good Life. I think we all love a bit of the countryside I know I love the mix of that and going to the city or a large town. This was republished just before the lockdown and maybe should be read if you like a year of nature-type books or want to see how the simpler life was never to simple even 100 years ago. Maybe it is the prototype Cottagecore book if you want to be present and live in the moment and be sustainable this is the book for you. Also, it has his wonderfully evocative pictures to bring to life the text and the year he spent there. Have you a favourite back-to-nature book?

Winstons score – +A just loved slipping into his year in copsford.

 

The 10th Annual Spanish and Portuguese lit month

It has been 10 years since I started the year’s Spanish lit month, July every year. It was initially with Richard the blogger at the blog at Caravana de Recuerdos. But he hasn’t blogged for a few years, unfortunately. I miss his input as he was far more of a Spanish lit fan than me but I plan to have two books to read one from Spanish and one from Portuguese and they are both from writers I have read on the blog before.I hope to read a couple more books as I do every year but the two books I have chosen for the read-along in the second and fourth week of July.

Here are the two books I have chosen

First up is Witches by Brenda Lozano Translated from Spanish by Heather Cleary. This is the second book published in English by Brenda Lozano and the first book to be translated was loop I really enjoyed I have read this but then held back and will read it again in July as it seemed a great choice for people to read in Spanish lit month as I know I lot of people like loop this story has two timelines on about Feliciana an Indigenous healer and Zoe a  journalist we follow the stories in two narratives. This book I will review this in the second week of July . It is out in the Uk from Maclehose press.

The second book Translated from Portuguese is one of my favourite writers Antonio Lobo Antunes here are the books I have reviewed by him. This is the book Until stones become lighter than water (I love that title ). As ever it deals with Portugal’s colonial past but this is described as his most captivating and experimental book. This is published by Yale university imprint Margellos world republic of letters. I plan to review this in the fourth week of July.

What do you plan to read, will you read one of the two books I have mentioned. Which books translated from Spanish or Portuguese in the last year would you point me in the direction off?

Hoping you join in on the 10th Spanish and Portuguese lit month.

 

That was the month that was May 2022

  1. The people opposite by Georges Simeon
  2. Canzone Di Guerra by Daša Drndić
  3. Cigarette by Per Hagman
  4. Solo Dance by Li Kokomi
  5. Standing Heavy By GauZ

Well I had returned to work and had a week off with Amanda this month so it was going be a short trip of the books IO read we started with a Early Simeon that is his most political work that came after a visit to the Soviet Union at the time. Then a woman tries to trace her father past and the past of Croatia and those that left from her home in Canada. Then a slice of being young and living your life to the max. Then a Taiwan office workers life as she tries to balance her past and her present and hiding her sexuality at work. Then those guards we see but never think about in a debut novel from a writer for Ivory Coast his first of many I hope. A slow month. Elsewhere we announced the Shadow winner of the Booker International and I decided it is time to move on after ten year I will be bring a new spin to it all myself with a new idea. I am trying to be more open to what I read and much keener on trying books I have missed.

Book of the Month

It was a hard month I read five books and they are all great books but I love Dasa work and this is another gem from the late great Writer that tackles the years from the end of the world war tow the Tito year and the Yugoslavian war the knock on effect of trying too escape and form a new life in Canada but also what were the traditions and past of your own personal history.

Other things

Well I visited York, Cheshire, and the cotswolds this month when we had time off together so did lots of small trips. Elsewhere I am nearing the end of watching all the Grantchester series which I’ve slowly been working through for a few month a bit of comfort tv which is good as  I returned to work end of last month,  so I’ve been taking things slow after 10 weeks off I am nervous about returning it is slowly lifting but this is third week of being back to normal shifts. So I now feel settled back somewhat and hope to get to normal with work.

Next month

Although my reviewing has been slow this last couple of months I have actually read 54 books this year so I have 18 books to review so I will be ramping up my reviewing this month I have seen how the blogger Simon at the blog  stuck in a book has done a book a day all this month on his blog. Now I Don’t think I can do that but I am inspired to try and up the amount of reviews next month . I will be reading a mix of  old and new books as I Tend to more these day in my reading. As this approach will suit the  couple of challenges I have set myself  not to complete just to add a few books on the edge of what I would normally read like crime like some older books and those modern classics I never got too back in the day. Reading is such a wonderful journey we are like yachts tacking as the wind fills are sails and then sometime drops and we have change the sail so it is with my reading ring the high seas of world literature!!

What are your plans next month ?

Canzone di Guerra by Daša Drndić

Canzone di Guerra

Croatian fiction

Original title – Canzone di Guerra

Translator – Celia Hawkesworth

Source – Review copy

When I heard that Susie had decided to publish some of Dasa back catalogue those books that had come out before her success with Trieste. I was very excited as many of you may know I did meet dad at the old IFFP award when she was shortlisted in 2013 this brief meeting we spoke maybe for half an hour maybe a bit more I was shocked she had read the blog but she was one of these people that this blog had given me chance to meet people I would never come across in my every day life in fact when ever I have doubts about this endeavour to cover world literature and books in translations, which is quite often it is those moments like meeting dad that spur me on. she was a writer that need to be read she saw what was over the Horizon even when we meet she saw the tide of the right was over in the distance and as she had done in her books she has always used the past as a way of highlighting the future. Her we have a woman tracing her own families past but also that of the culture she is from.

There is a Lot of literature about pigs, there is almost no genre of the written word into which pigs have not worked their way. They are found in science(Veterinary, biological, medical) in literature (essays, poetry, belles-lettres), not to mention film and painting. As far as life is concerned, here too, in our everyday life, pigs are all around us, and their destiny in the development of civilisation and technology is increasingly bizarre. The bizarre destiny of pigs is our reality

Even an intro on the section about pigs makes you as a reader think (for me I was remind of the film A private function set in the aftermath of the war in England that had a big at the heart of its story)

This book is made up of a collection of factual and fictional stories that at it heart sees the main character in the book Tea Radan a single mother who many years earlier had relocated to Canada to Toronopte as she tries to look at the emigrant life and those in the country around her. (Dasa had some interesting thought on Canada in the after word there is her description of Canada not the most favourable and full of what I remember of her when I met her that mind) She blends things like Pigs as animals to keep and how they effect society from how we keep them how they were Kept in Tito’s Yugoslavia. What we make of the pigs.This leads Tea to her grandfather a man that like to write to Tito ( I always interested with how Tito’s influence over those post – war years loom large but what at the heart of this book is the two events at the start of Tito reign which is the aftermath of the holocaust and we she in typical Dasa style as she shows how those that we involved with the events. of the holocaust escaped the war an we see how they came to Canada (It is hard to accept the dream of free Canada and then we see events like those that on a ship in 1939 that went from place to place as those on board lost hope) I love this as hot is so much of Dasa the person it is about what makes us tick but also she shows us about what has been and what is to come. It is about being lost in your own life and but also lose of identity.

In the course of the last four years, Sara and I have undergone three migrations. A lot of books have been written about migrations about leaving one’s country, about exile, some very stupid, propaganda, some very intelligent. But all those books state clearly that migration is both dying and being born, that it is a very complex phenomenon, hard to comprehend for anyone who has not experienced it.Our arrival in Rijeka from Belgrade, where I had spent forty years of my life and Sara almost all nine of hers, did not fundamentally from our arrival in Toronto.

The truth of being in Exile described so many times in literature !!

I as always find it hard to describe this as it isn’t a liner novel,  is a documentary novel ( a book of lives shown in pieces a mosaic of a world and lives) in the style of writers like Kluge (I could have said Sebald, but for me it is nearer Alexander  Kluge in the way she like to keep hitting at the spot and that is the spot of a warning this book is over 25 years old but in a way is more relevant now with a new wave of refugees from Ukraine we see how previous  waves of those trying to escape war have suffered in what is the real treatment of refugees and the way we portray how we treat refugees this gap is what is at the heart of the book.Those people caught ion those situation from those involved and trying to escape the holocaust and the aftermath of World War Two to those in the 90s trying to escape the horrors of the Yugoslav wars. At the heart of this is Tea ( a thinly veiled dasa) her family that were effected by both these events and the question of what makes us and what is our story. I mention Kluge as he brilliant in his use if  vigenettes and sometimes footnotes like this book does . In his book 30th April 1945 a book about that day when Hitler shot himself and what was going on around the world at that exact moment. Well this takes that moment the tatters of the war and west the aftermath this is that event taken out in one thread from before the event the horror of world war two to the present which now is 25 years ago ( or is it !!!!) because as we see here those events recalled in the past look so much like the future and that is what made Dasa one of the most important writers of her generation as she never turned to be popular or to be linear or to be easy no she told the truth, she saw what was coming as she had seen it so many times before but unlike others hadn’t a sort of cultural amnesia of the past or even a rose coloured glove of the past no this is the truth this is a written like Hogarth in his depiction of the world she lived in  or Goya in his disasters of war Dasa showed us a world warts and all one we want to look away from but one we should really look straight on at !! Have you a favourite book from Dasa ?

Winstons score – ++++A On of my all time favourite books already along with her other books

Sunday Chat oops I had nine days off and didn’t read much or blog

I have been off the last nine days the plan was originally to blog but it is the first time off together Amanda and I have had off at the same time I was off sick for two half months but I did very little going here and there so I was ready for this time we decided rather than go away we would visit family and have a day in York. We visit both Amanda’s parents then I went to visit were my Mother ashes we spread then We had a day in your mid week. We had a great short break a few years ago in York. It was nice to be able to drive up and back in the day asx I grow more confidence in my driving We went and just wander we visit a lot of the tourist must does in outr last visit and a wander coffee and cakes and trying to find some books there was a Amnesty bookshop on my last visit but it had gone but I visited the waterstones , both the Oxfam’s and Ministergate  books by which time with the other times we had brought Chocolates, some prints for when we move house.

The books are , How the Wheel Becomes It! Anthony Powell

Is the book Anthony Powell wrote after his huge Dance to music of time cycle of novels, I saw this and thought as it very small it be a good taster before reading the twelve books of the cycle.

MESOPOTAMIA and The Orphanage bySERHIY ZHADAN

I am a fan of Yales Margellos world republic of letters series and had seen both of these being read by the Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan so when I saw them both I decide I get them both.

 

The Plain in Flames by  Juan Rulfo

I reviewed his book Pedro Páramo 8 years ago and remember that he had written much else but there is this over collection of his shorter fiction. Which after I post this pic on twitter I discovered is one of two translations of this collection

CHARCOAL SKETCHES by Henyrk Sienkiewicz

He won the Nobel I knew this and took a chance as I would love to work through the Nobel winners over the years at some point.

A modest selection but all I could carry. after the trip to York the old car need a clean as it was raining on the way up to York so next day we gave the car a wash and we then head to My dads and we had a day around the cotswolds which was nice  as my dad hadn’t been there much the last few years and enjoyed show Amanda and I where we could go next time we down we visited Stow on the wold , Broadway and its Tower and then chipping clapham (which is very near Burnt Norton which T S  Eliot wrote about in Four quartets). So all in all time and a bought of toothache which meant a visit to the dentist and a tooth out this last week meant I read very little and also blogged very little.But I am in the middle of four books

They are Ninth building a tale of growing top in cultural revolution first as a boy in Being then in the countryside . Then thirsty sea a woman past and present unfold over the course of one day. Toung beast art play is an Italian crime novel the first in what may be a series that follows three detectives as a body is discovered in a World War Two mass grave that has a modern parts on the bones so who put the body there and who is the body !. Then Thomas Mann I plan to read all the books of his I have which is most of them over the next couple of year I have read some years ago but not got any books by him on the blog io also have Colm Tobin’s book The magical which is about Mann. I was so excited when one of my tweets was mentioned on The mookse podcast for there short book episode they mention stones in the landslide if you don’t listen to them go listen to them.Talking `podcasts I like Simon Thomas podcast although he has a very different taste in books to me he is currently reading a novella a day this month on his blog. I looked through my shelves and would enjoy trying this some time.I will return this week I have had a great week with Amanda it has been great spending quality time together. What have you been up to recently ?

 

That was the months that were March and April 202

 

  1. Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree
  2. The Land of Short sentences by Stine Pilgaard
  3. Happy stories mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu
  4. Heaven by Mieko kawakami
  5. The book of mother by Violaine Huisman
  6. After the sun by Jonas Eika
  7. Paradais by Fernada Melchor
  8. More than I love my life by David Grossman
  9. Burning grass by Cyprian Ekwensi
  10. Phenotypes by Paulo Scott
  11. The New men by CP Snow
  12. Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
  13. Contempt by Alberto Moravia 
  14. The emigrants by George Lamming 
  15. After Midnight by Irmgard keun

I missed Marchs round up just embarrassing how few books I reviewed I am reading more than ever but in march my reviewing slip and I reviewed just 6 books mainly from the booker international list I just wasn’t in a reading or reviewing mood  this follows  a long time off work with stress that start in Feb.That has only seen me return to work in the last ten days after a couple of months any way  enough about that I have a job that  has a lot of stress so sometimes you need a break. I am onwards and upwards and actually  am feeling less stress and roaring to face my 50s and so new challenges on the blog.I feeling more like blogging as  march has carried on I felt the old rhythm returning and also my own passion has returned I cover most of the booker internationals list books I am just wanting to read a wider variety of books in translation a lot of backlist and older classics the rest of the year with of course a few new titles. The books in the last few months Have taken me to India ,Brazil, Nigeria, Indonesia , France , Barbados , Germany, Israel, Mexico, Denmark, Japan, Us and Uk so I read a book from every continent over these two months I think I loved most of the books I read for me the reading highlight was 1954 club I love these clubs based around a year twice a year and the four I read this time had all been on my shelves for a good while.I am looking forward to the rest of the year and now a lot less stressed if anything the best for a long time.

As for a few stats there hasn’t been any new countries these months. The was also no new publishers. I have read 42 books so far this year I’m aim to read 120 books this year and am on course. I have reviewed 31 books so far this year.

Books of the month

February

I loved the book of mother for me this is a perfect example of French Auto fiction a daughter paints her. other warts and all in a book that captures a woman whose spirit swung from tot to heart warming her ;life was of extremes.

March

Edited in Prisma app with Thota Vaikuntam

 

It was much closer for my march read book of the month as thew four books I read for club 1954 were all great books and any other month would have been a book of the month but this book has been so hard for me to review as I love it so much the subtle tale and the way it flows with its word play and the fact it captures a world not often told of an older female and at that an older Indian female add to that a realistic trans character you have a great book one of my all time favourite books.

Other none reading things-

I took a rabbit hole of you tube a lot this year I even had thoughts of blogging but now I’ve decided that this is my main aim to blog I just haven’t the confidence in myself to vlog there are some great vlogs out there I may do a post on the ones I loved one day but at moment my two favourites are better than food and leaf by leaf. I just didn’t watch a lot the last couple of months that has stuck with me. I did watch Cinemania which I had watched years ago the tale of a group of New Yorkers that just watch films all day every day often 6 or 7 a day. I also watch a number of the early carry on films on Brit box.Amanda and I spent a weekend in Stratford upon Avon which was a great break and just what I needed as it was with family we cruised the river I brought some books and we had some great food.

The Month Ahead

I am back reading Multiple books I just want read as many books as I can these days so this seems be a way of adding more pages a day anyway I have Archipelago week from the 9th I have a couple of books to read for that other wise it is the last off the booker list I haven’t read then it will be a mix of old and new I am reading Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann after that I have a book by Emile Zola lined up as for new books I am just reading The people opposite Georges Simenon most political novel.  then I have the first Chinese novel from Hanford star. I just feel it is onwards and upwards from here. What are your plans for the next month or the rest of the year ?

Stu’s Booker international longlist guessing list for 2022

I wasn’t actually going do a post this year and have left it to the day before which is the last possible day before I always feel that I haven’t read enough to do a guessing post but that is just me and I have read enough although I have a couple that I am reading that I will mention and a few at the end that I haven’t got or read that I think will be on the longlist this time round. I will be interested to see what Frank and his gang choose as I have met Frank on a couple of occasions years ago on the old IFFP prize days I am delighted to be on the shadow jury for another year. Anyway, as ever this is the list for today the day before it might have been different any other day.

Liquid land by Raphela EdelBauer

Translator – Jen Calleja

I enjoyed this novel that saw Ruth trying to get back to her home village where she grew up after the loss of her parents and discovering there is a huge web of secrets there. just a little quirky.

Special needs bu Lada Vuckic

Translator – Christina Pribichevic

Our narrator has special needs and is on the autistic spectrum. As someone that has worked with Learning disabilities patients on the Autistic spectrum for more than twenty years for me, the voice of the narrator caught the characteristics and some of the thought processes similar to how I have seen people I worked with talk about their own worldview.

Painting Time by Maylis de kerangal

Translator – Jessica Moore

A trio of friends on the cusp of entering the world of work after being at art college faces the choice between what is Art ie creating and Craft making in a way as one of them makes Trompe L’oeil for a set design company.

Love in the big city by Sang Young Park

Translator – Anton Hur

Part of my Tilted Axis subscription this was one I really enjoyed a story of a young mans coming of age from coming to the big city to his first lovers and then a big romance and then the aftermath of that failing also this must be the best cover this year !!

Marzahn, Mon Amour by Katja Oskamp

Translator – Jo Heinrich

A poorer area of Berlin is told in little vignettes of a writer turned podiatrist as she works on there feet she talks about their lives and we build a picture of the locals a gem from Peirene.

Lemon by Kwon Yeo-suh

Translator – Janet Hong

Another book from Korea I liked this it is about a high school beauty death and is told when it happened and years after think back this is almost like a podcast in a book one of those true crime ones where we get different glimpses of what happen and every few pages change our mind about whether it was the poor boy or rich boy that did it or someone else.

Red Milk by Sjon

Translator – Victoria Cribb

I have always loved his books and this is a historic book that starts when a man that is found dead on a station platform in Englans we look back on the events that lead him to end up dead on a platform a million miles from his Icelandic home.

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Translator – the writer herself

This is the first novel she has written in Italian and translated into English her self its lead character is a middle-aged and we look into her life very very short vignettes with title like in the shop etc.

Have read or am reading books but not reviewed I fancy on the list

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree

Translator – Daisy Rockwell

I struggled to write the review for this as it is a subtle book not much happens but it is so beautifully written and an insight into a world not often written about widows and being old. an old woman becomes alive when she is a widower and surprise her family with the changes and people she meets.

The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk

Translator – Jennifer Croft

I decided to read and then reread it which I am just a hundred -pages in I may just review it if it is pon the list it is a melting pot of the time when Jewish, Catholic and others lived in Poland a time gone this is the story of prophet call  Jacob of the title. but maybe a wider story and that is of what happened in the years from the 1700’s to know using the past a prism to the present in a way maybe I,m trying to reread it to unlock it more.

Morning Star by Karl Ove knausgaard

Translator – Martin Aitken

A series of lives told after a star appears in the sky and a number of strange events happen in each of their lives as ever he captures the little events in people’s lives but here has added a little of a surreal nature to his work.

Planet of clay by Samar Yazbek

Translator – leri Price

A journey of a young refugee Remi and her escape as she reads the little prince and she views the world with a child’s eyes which makes the horror more poignant in a way as her world and the real world are different and you have to read between the lines and see the true horror of events.

Last, not sure if it is eligible but I am just reading it

Something strange like hunger by Malika  Moustadraf

Translator – Alice Guthrie

A series of short stories nearly lost to use that talk about being a virgin and needing to get the check before their marriage, sex workers having to get by having to sell themselves these stories lift the lid on life in Morroco.

What are your thoughts on the longlist this year? as ever I plough my own path on books as a reader it is all our own journeys over the last year? I have only chosen books I read or am reading this year.

That was the month that was Feburary 2022

  1. Geography of an Adultery by Agnes Riva
  2. The End of Eddy bt Edouard Louis
  3. Jealousy by Alain Robbe-Grillet
  4. The Voice imatator by Thomas Bernhard
  5. Marzhan ,mon Amour by Katja Oskamp
  6. One in Me I never Loved by Carla GuelfenBein
  7. Necropolis by Boris Pahor

I am on too 16 books reviewed on the blog which is just under my target of 100 reviews for the year I have currently read 26 book this year so am on target to read over a 100 books. I started my reading this month in France with three french novels two about aultery one real and told with a sparce use of emotions a more clinical nature to the affair in Riva’s Geography of an Adultery. Then in Jealousy we saw what could have been imagined affair in Robbe-Grillet novel that sees a husband glimpse on his wife and fill in the gaps. Then my other french book saw a hard childhood described from a son that is different to his family. Then we have Thomas Bernhard his flash fiction culled from news headlines remind me of ALexander Kluge somewhat, Then In Berlin we meet a podiatrist a writer retrains and sees a community through there feet. Then a divorce and an affair from two different eras are told in One I never loved. Then we ended the month with a powerful description of s[lovenian writer Boris Pahor and his time in c=various concentration camps as a prisoner then as a  medical orderly.My reading has slowed this month as it usually does I always race through books in the new year and then hit the wall. I have written a lot more words than this time last year as my reviews are slowly growing. How has your month been ?

Book of the month-

Necropolis is a powerful telling of the horrors of the Holocaust from the perspective of being a slovenian and the various camps he went to during the war. As I said it is a book everyone should read.

Non book event this month

It has been a very quiet month for me I am off work at the moment  so have been at home a lot we have had our usual walk in the peaks and trips to Bakewell and town for coffees. I have listen to a lot of comfort music mostly shoegazing which is a genre I love and bands like the cure and REM the sort of musical equivalent of comfort reading there is something reassuring in these bands also I drift away with the likes of Slowdive and My bloody valentine. I  also went for comfort tv things like new tricks also been indulging in youtube videos I like book tube but also vanlife, cottage core, productivity and  pen and stationary vlogs it is a rabbit hole that I hadn’t watch a lot til this last few months. Do you have comfort music ?

Next month-

Well it is Man booker  longlist time in March. I have read a few books  I think may be there that I have to review yet as I usually do in the weeks before. As we have 10 days to wait and see what will make this years list it is always a highlight of my year the longlist coming out and seeing what the Judges have chosen there is so many books out there it will be a hard call to chose just 12 or 13 books from the selection that is out there  I imagine. I am doing the shadow Jury  again. Which I will be doing again this year it is always a highlight for me as a reader and last year the chance to chat with everyone on line was amazing. As  for  the  blog Til the list is out it will be a mix of what I am reading  at moment and what \I have read including Grey bees by Andrei Kurkov which has been on my tbr since I was sent it last year and now seems the right time to read it I am also in the middle of The morning star I also would love to get a couple of Arab books in this month as it has been a while since I have reviewed any. I had tried to stop reading multiple books but I needed to read grey bees so made an exemption. from the 10th it will be what ever I haven’t read of the longlist and can get when the list is released I know in recent years there have been books not available when the list comes out which is annoying especially when I can’t get them. I hope to review a few more books this month. What are your plans for next month ?

 

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