That was the month that was November 22

  1. Blue Jewellery by Katharina Winkler
  2. Like a Prisoner by Fatos Lubonja
  3. What we leave behind by Stanislaw Łubieński
  4. What Have You Left behind ? by Bushra AL-Maqtari
  5. The Last One by Fatima Daas

I start with my only book for German lit month a Swiss novel about a Turkish Family that moves to Switzerland as the husband abuses the wife and gives her what see calls her Blue jewellery of bruises. Then a collection of short stories from his time in the Albanian Gulags from Albanian writer Fatos Lubonja. Then a n environmental nature book about what we drop and dispose of the plastic waste and its lasting impact on nature. Then a harrowing collection of first-hand accounts from those who had lost family in the Yemeni civil war. Last stop was a French Algerian Women’s account of trying to be a lean and a Muslim in modern France. Well five countries no new countries this month also no new publishers.

Book of the Month

This was such a close month all the books I reviewed were stunning books each for there own reason but this so grab me I sat in town one day in a coffee shop and just drifted into the world of the camp the story of the man losing his cat will stick with me for ever. hope and loss and despair and joy all wrapped up in one story.

The month ahead

I am in a reading slump (as I said these were great books it is hard after five books this good to read anything)  and a blogging slump (just time and a new role at work so should be a bit easier now). So I am not putting any pressure on myself I think it will be reading a number of short books I review and maybe one long book. I usually find the reading clock gets wound up tight near the end of the year it is like wind-up car we had as kids. T his time of year I need to be picked up and wound up.  I am just running out of steam and this month I will be looking at the new year and as ever starting with a clean slate and lots of hope for 2023. I look forward to the new year and great Christmas. What are your plans for the month ahead ?

Non-book events

I finally got around to Andor the latest Star Wars series I had tried it and just not gotten into it straight off. but I sat and gave to another chance to watch it again. This time I was drawn in it has a darker feel and is maybe the best series they have done as it is separate from the other series it has no real connection to the films barring the film that had Andor as a character. I start a new temporary role at work this month which maybe explains the lack of reading I am settling into this is my third week.

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That was the month that was September 2022

You may notice a change I have removed numbers from what I read and from next year the books read page won’t have numbers I feel reading is a personal journey and figures just gamify our reading it isn’t about how many or how few books you read it is all our own journeys I suggest you maybe do the same I can see on my good read the figures as I use that now to track how many etc not here. Anyway back to the books it has seen me travel from Saudi to a man with cancer in a Kafkaesque nod to the book. Then a love affair is subtle as a man takes a mobile library around the hinterland of Quebec followed by a woman and a circus as a slow-burning love affair unfolds. then we meet a pair of widows trying to keep what should be theirs. Then a man in Argentina obsessed with an art magazine. Then a French girl in a provincial town is set back by her sex and will this affect her as a mother to her daughter. Then a wonderful collection of short stories behind those doors in Morocco a wife flirts is a girl a virgin and a crowded bus. Then yesterday I end with a married couple in a village as her caste and the village clash. Where has your reading journey taken you what waters have you been in? I had one new country this month but I like my books this month I always saying I should read more Arabic and African books and I did this month.

Book of the month

This may be the hardest month of all to pick one but this is a book that should be read it is an insight into a writer that died too young. She tackled the subjects maybe other writers would sex, being a virgin or. not, web sex this is just a collection you should try.

Non-book events

I have posted on the holiday the trip and the books. I also picked a couple of great records this month.

First is Filgree and the Shadow by This Mortal Coil, I had this on cd I love this collective that was run by Ivo Watts Russell that used people from the bands on his record label 4AD. If you not listen to this band I would it is ethereal and unique I love the song the jeweller on this album.

Then Sufjan Stevens the outage album The Avalanche is bits that didn’t make his Illinois album (I wish he had made more than two of the state’s albums he had said he do one for every US state but made two in the end so far) I love his mix of lo-fi, country and art rock he is a real talent.

I ll add this here as I brought this copy of Watt by Beckett yesterday and was shocked I had seen it had a couple of newspaper cuttings I just thought oh it’ll be something like a bookmark or local paper no it was from 1969 and a French paper when he won the Nobel prize such a great find.

A tv show Amanda and I watched was 9/11 : one day in America it is a six-episode series from National Geographic about 9/11 I thought I had seen every clip of 9/11 but this had so many moments of that horrific day captured that I hadn’t seen. Also, so many personal stories it doesn’t seem like 20 years ago how time has flown since that day.

Next month

I have a few books read and hope to review them. I have a couple of books for club 1929 at the end of the month to read. Who knows I read so much on a whim these days. I have the new Pamuk to read before the end of the year. What is your month looking like next month ?

 

 

Co-wives, Co-widows by Adrienne Yabouza

Co-wives, Co-widows by Adrienne Yabouza

Central African Republic fiction

Original tilte – Co-épouses et co-veuves

Translator – Rachel McGill

Source – Personal copy

I saw this a few weeks ago it had passed me by when it came out last year I have read other books from the Dedalus African series. But when I saw it was the first book from the Central African Republic to be translated I knew I had to get it I am not in a rush to read every country in the world although it is something over time I want to complete I have a number of countries to go so this the second novel from Adrienne Yabouza a self-taught writer who has Feld her country because of the civil war. She worked as a hairdresser and has written since a young age she has also written books for kids this is her first book to be translated into English she has said Mariam Ba is an influence I reviewed a book by Ba 11 years ago and can see the connection as it was about   a woman whose husband has a second wife this book takes the two wives stories in a way it could be what happened next to that story.

For some reason, or no reason at all, Lidou felt a sudden pain in his chest. It was a burning kind of pain. It began to get worse. It travelled to his left arm. He dropped his radio on the floor. He tried to take deep breaths of the courtyard air, to flush away the pain, but the pain kept getting worse. He was panting now, his face contorted. He tried to call out, but his voice was weak and was drowned out by Flavour singing his hit song ‘Ashewo’, one time too many, on the radio. The four children Lidou had made with Grekpoubou were elsewhere, the son he’d given Ndongo Passy was probably still in bed. Yaché had gone out, to get her hair braided, perhaps.

The scene where he passes away little do they know what will follow this event.

The book focus on the aftermath of the death of Lidou the husband of both Ndongo Passsy and Grekpoubou the book shows how he spends time with each of the wives it is early on he grabs his chest and dies this throws the wives under the bus so to speak it turns out that his Estate is passed on to them this draws the two close as they start to fight for there world which because of the Patrica nature of the system they find them caught up to and the way those closes to Lidou have come and tried to take over his world apart from the wives so what we see is two women especially Ndongo who seems so empowered by this and takes Grekpoudou and draws the two into a sisterhood for there world. As they battle the corruption and legal world that sees them as surplus now he has died.

In PK 10, Poto-Poto neighbourhood, they were about to strike the linga drum to announce Lidou’s death.A wake was a grand occasion: people were already gathering, eager for the opportunity to let their tears flow in company. The tom-tom player began to beat out his rhythms. It was as if a termite
mound was emptying, as a whole silent population assembled in the compound.

They say that a truce should hold until the dead person is in the ground. Zouaboua didn’t care for that convention; he was already weighing up his options. He’d grown up with Lidou; they’d been like friends and brothers. If an inheritance could fill Zouaboua’s pockets, at least something good would’ve come from Lido’s death. Zouaboua had already made good progress in that direction: he wasn’t going to let a couple of gossiping wives stand in his way.

The vultures start before he is in the ground.

It is far to say I loved this it isn’t what I thought it would be which is maybe a criticism of polygamous marriages it isn’t actually at the heart of this is their world the two wives and how they are thrown together but there a connection to Lidou through marriage makes them more like sisters at times in the book. I said it was like Ba book which examined a husband who wants to take a second wife. This could be viewed as a tail end of that story in a way. What happens after that we get a glimpse into how he’d spend a night her and a night there but it also shows the corruption and how Patrica the world they live in still is. Whereas the family dynamics is deeply centred around the females. The two women are a sisterhood around Lidou. It also shows how death can leave a void and what happens when people try to grab what is left from those who should have it. An insight into death, being female, having a fellow wife and how you have to fight to get by when the male head of the house has died. how they became co-widows to keep their world alive. A great feel to the book I think Rachel has kept alive what is a book that mixes so many emotions sadness sorrow grief anger and humour all in one this has it all. Have you a favourite book from region of Africa?

Winstons score- A – has a little bit of everything `I look for in a book a village, family dynamics and also the political world it is set in.

 

That was the month that was August 2022

  1. Mona by Pola Oloixarac
  2. Thread ripper by Amalie Smith
  3. Chinatown by Thuan
  4. Moderato Cantabile by Marguerite Duras
  5. The woman in the purple skirt by Natsuko Imamura
  6. scattered all over the world by Yoko Tawada 
  7. Dry heart by Natalia Ginzburg

I reviewed seven books this month and have reviewed 62 books so far I hope get to 100 reviews this year am a little behind at the mo but my journey this month has taken me to first Argentina and a writer going to maybe win a prize. Then a book that defies pigeonholing a danish novel with computers and tapestry at its heart and woman involved in them both. Then in  Chinatown In Vietnam. we met a woman who married a Chinese man and the man she married and what happened. Then a woman revisited the place the murder happened. Meets a man that works for her husband as she does. Then another woman is followed in her purple skirt a woman in a jumper watches her and sees her as more than she is in a creepy novel. Then a group of people set off to reunite two of the last people that can speak Japanese after the country disappeared and the people were scattered all over the world. Then marriage is told from the wife who married a man that wasn’t in love with him. It was of course won in translation month and every book this month fell into that category as we went from Latin America to Denmark and then Vietnam, France a couple stops in Japan and end up in Italy.

Book of the month

I chose this as it was an experimental novel that uses real people and a lot of threads to talk about woman’s rules in computers as a woman in the present uses her computer to work out her tapestry this is one of those books that remind me why I love books in translation and that is to be challenged as a reader and also to discover books that break the mould of what novels and fiction are and this ticks every box.

Non-book matters

Well I have struggled this month I just run out of steam in the general middle of the month a few family health issues worrying me, the rising cost of living (which we all have issues with), and a loss of confidence at work hit me hard and of course a heatwave again. But in the last week or so I have felt more myself and have started to talk more with those closest to me. I am pleased to have gotten through this and we are looking forward to some great things in the next 12 months in our life. Back to more interesting things I loved a couple of films I saw this month the first still life starred Eddie Marsan ( he was recently in the thief, his wife and the canoe on tv here) a wonderful character actor here he is a council work that deals with people that had died with no families he tries to find them ion not he has services for them a touching story of a man at odds with the new boss. Then a coming of age story jellyfish a young woman looks after her siblings as her mother struggles to get out of bed in Margate one of those faded seaside towns hard-hitting as she discovers her voice as a stand-up comedian. Finally, 5 days at memorial a series on Apple sees the aftermath of Katarina on New Orleans throughout those trapped in a hospital as the levee broke and floods cut them off and meant no water, power or food as they struggle to keep the patients alive based on the bestselling book by Sheri Fink (which had been on my list to get at some point since I heard about it on the New York Times book podcast).

The month ahead

I am off from next week for most of September. So I hope to review a few more books next month I have a book I have just started from a new country to the blog which is always an event these days for me. As I have a couple of weeks of work. we are having a few days in Northumberland which is our only plan. But apart from that we will be at home and the nights are drawing in I tend to read more in the evenings so looking forward to working down a few review books and TBR books. I have a huge book from Japan Well I have two books and one of those is two vols long due to arrival that I am looking forward to getting into at some point.

What have you enjoyed this month and what are your plans for September?

July round up and next months plans

  1. 12 birds to save your life by Charlie Corbett
  2. The Heeding by Rob Cowen
  3. Still born by Guadalupe Nettel
  4. The instant by Amy Liptrot
  5. Space invaders by Nona Fernández
  6. The shape of Bones by Daniel Galera
  7. Empty words by Mario Levrero

This month start with how birds saw someone deal with grief and loss and how they can inspire a writer at the hardest of times. Then a collection of poems written during the lockdown that so how nature shone through during that time. Then two woman go there ways with their decisions to have or not have children with a book that questions why  ? Then we have a writer moving to Berlin from Orkney and seeing the beauty of nature in the everyday and also trying to find love at the same time as she rebuilds her life. Then classmates grow as one of their class is the daughter of a high official in the Regime we see how they get over the years. Then a man goes through his old neighbourhood and his past and present start to join together. Then a man struggles to write so he starts a daily writing exercise as we see the results. This month saw me fall back onto translations near the end of the month a few weeks away and I was ready to go back to the usual diet of this blog I will still be reading a few nature books as I do love them so much.I didn’t get to my Spanish lit month books but did manage four other books for the month.

Book of the month

Still born was the book that I connected with a lot this month that tale of these two women lives I just got drawn into. That said for me  it was a great months reading and although I read less than last month but I went away we had a heatwave which I worked nights through and the sleeping during the day meant I read nothing for a number of days.

Non – book events

We spent time in Northumberland on Holiday which saw Amanda and I finally get to `holy island  on a nice day. We loved it so much we are going back in a couple of months but we will be going to a few places in Scotland.I watched Only murders in the Building which is a clever comedy that takes a side swipe at true crime podcast. I manage to get an offer for to get Apple TV back so I watch theTom Hanks film finch which Amanda and I loved. I listen to the record store day collection of Patti smith that was compiled on two albums for record store day I have wanted to listen to more of her work since I read one of her books I had horse like most people do but hadn’t looked much further into her albums so this will be a great intro.The blog reviews also passed 1200 books under review

The month to come-

it is Woman in translation m month next month and I have decided to challenge myself as I worked out I had seven books read from woman writers in translation this year and also had a further 7 part read so I decided to try and review a book a day I may fail but I’m going to give it a good go. I was inspired by Simon from stuck in a book who did it the other m month posted 30 reviews in a month.I have no nights next month which usually mess with my reading and reviewing as I get a brain fog during my shifts and for the couple days after so I should’ve a good chance to review as many as I can.

What are you plans? any for woman in translation month?

Northumberland trip book haul

We spent a few days last week in Northumberland anyone been around the blog for any time will know I lived there in my early twenties and since I ve been driving a few years ago have been visiting regularly for the last three years . We choose to spend time near Newbiggin a small town by the sea we had stayed near last year it has a nice long promenade to walk a couple small shops and a couple of coffee shops and the couple in the middle of the bay. This is a great base we had a day in Lindisfarne and Seahouse as last year when we went it a wet day and this time we saw the island in the sun.

We walked towards the castle and then around the harbour and abbey there is a small shop sell gin made on the Island and we finished at the Pilgrims coffee shop which is outside wonderful cakes and coffee they roast there own which I brought some beans home with me to grind(well I did and it was very nice). We sat and watched some sparrows help clean the tables by us. In Seahouse we finally got to look at the lifeboat which we want to see last time. The next day we went to Alnwick to Brater books of course , but wait there is also a wonderful new shop that is hundred. yards from where I lived on Narrowgate in Alnwick the accidental bookshop has a really high self of books and a great selection of books I will know so my haul from each shop.

 

First up was this by the South African writer Bryten Brytenbach I thought I had reviewed a book by him I had read one many years ago and think I have another on my shelf I was swayed by the cover plus I did like the book I read so I will have to review him soon as I know have three books to read from him.

I

 

Now we have a book that I know is published by NYRB Memoirs of Anti semite is a book I had hope to read at some point (I don’t know about you there is the list of books you just know you want to read this is one) This is an old picador copy.

Then a book from Javier Cercas I have read a number of books by him over the years so this was a great find as it is a crime series a move from the other books I have read by him that tend to use historical events.

This one appeals as I just love books about travel and I had just read Goethes Journey to Italy set. So a novel from the same time period. Also Mozart someone whom Goethe had seen the  young Mozart play and also Goethe had tried to write a sequel to to the Magic flute.

 

Another writer I have read in the past is Marguerite Duras so when I saw this one I just had to get it a woman watches a murder in a cafe and keeps returning to the scene of the crime.

Yet another writer that has been on the blog in fact Amos Oz has been reviewed four times. He is one of those writers I want to read all of his novels over time.

And lastly a master of the short story whom I have read but never reviewed on the blog that is the Polish writer Pawel Huelle . That is the last of the books from Barter books I didn’t find a nature writing book that jumped out at me. But as I was away and relaxed the passion for books in translation has come back I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was back to normal. So I put them in the car and we then head to the new bookshop which is so near my old flat it would be dangerous if I was still there me so close to a book shop.her is my books from the accidental bookshop.

Firstly two books from Latin America Space invaders I reviewed yesterday and Mona I will be reviewing this coming week at some point both had been on my radar I had read an earlier book by Polo Oloixarao.These struck me as perfect for this month’s Spanish lit month and also maybe for next month’s women in translation.

Then the other two are a piece of travel  writing about walking to the island Lindisfarne I love books that I will know the locations but also that are about pilgrimages I have alway been interesting in pilfgrims and pilgrimages what make people do them but also what it gives you doing them I have fancied doing something similar at some point.Then scattered all over the world by the German/japanese writer Yoko Tawana images the diaspora of Japanese descent when Japan it disappears and they are scattered all over the world what makes there identity ? I would highly recommend a visit to the accidental bookshop also a few doors up is a great deli with a cafe in its cellar that does great cakes.A nice few days we may be going back in a few months as we love it there and also are looking for the perfect place for when we retire up there which is what we plan to do. Have you been to Northumberland ?

 

 

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.

 

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