That was the month that was January 2021

  1. The Catholic school by Edoardo Albinati
  2. At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop
  3. A luminous Republic by Andres Barba
  4. Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura
  5. Robinson by Aram Pachyan
  6. Holiday Heart by Margarita Garcia Robayo
  7. Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai
  8. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  9. Kokoschka doll by Alfonso Cruz
  10. The last days of Ellis Island by  Gaëlle Joss
  11. 30th April 1945 by Alexander Kluge
  12. The sand child by Tahar Ben Jelloun
  13. With an unopened umbrella in the pouring rain by Ludovic Bruckstein

Well, I managed 13 reviews this month, and from 12 countries unfortunately there were no new countries,  no new publishers, but it’s been a while since I reviewed a book from Virago. The journey this month starts with the epic Italian story of a school and some killing then we went to the trenches and some African troops. A small child tells the tales of his medieval Japanese fishing village.  Then some strange children appear in the jungle. Then Modern Armenia is highlighted in a collection of short stories. Then we had the tale of a couple’s American dream falling apart. A day in the life of a pre-war Japan. Then the letters between a New Yorker and an old English bookseller. A series of vignettes take us to wartime Germany and the aftermath. The last week on Ellis Island sees the last guard reflecting on his time on the Island. The day Hitler shot himself is seen in 360 degrees from every angle. Then a girl is forced to grow up a boy to save the family money and lastly we see Sighet in Romania with tales of the Jews that lived there.

Book of the month

We have two winners here –

Firstly the tales of Sighet so touch me in this collection of short stories from a writer that has luckily been saved from oblivion and brought to us thanks to his son’s efforts to get his father’s voice heard.

Then 30th April 1945 is just so rich the multiple layer Kluge forms with his vignettes around the day Hitler shot himself. Kluge is a writer that likes to take a wide angle on his fiction the bigger picture.

Non-book related items

With us in Lockdown I haven’t brought a lot of records this month but spent most time listen back to old Uncut and Mojo cd I have got both these magazines for well twenty years so I have a lot of their CDs and have spent a couple of hours reading and listening to them most afternoons off work. Especially their Americana CDs. I am now on the last of my three nights tonight for this month at work.

Next month

I have already read a couple of books read ready so we shall be in Iceland and with a chess master to start with this month’s reading I hope to add a couple of Arab works this month. Then I will see where I wander knowing me it has been a while since I read a book from a new country so I think that may need to add somewhere new next month what are your plans for the coming month?

That was the month that was Feb 2020

  1. Snow, Dog, Foot by Claudio Morandini
  2. The siege of Troy by Theodor Kallifatides
  3. The Happening by Annie Ernaux
  4. A perfect Hoax by Italo Svevo
  5. The Salt of the Earth by Jozef Wittlin
  6. The roar of Morning by Tip Marugg
  7. The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez
  8. This Tilting World by Collette Fellous

This month I read 8 books to take the total to 16 for the year. I read books from 6 countries. One new country Curacao with the book the roar of the morning there was no new publishers but I started in the Italian Alps with a hermit a long-dead foot and a talking dog. Then a greek island during world war two and a teacher retelling a greek classic tho her pupils. Then a woman remembering the horror of a backstreet abortion. A writer is lead astray by a con man and a simple man goes to war but really would rather be on the trains. As a man contemplates his life in those wee hours of the morning when the world is silent and the mind wanders. The matriarch of a family starts having falls the family gets m,ore fragile and cracks appear. Then a lost world of Jews in Tunisia.

Book of the month

Its been a tough month as there wasn’t a weak read but this book had a great flow to it and there was a real sense of a man weighing up his life at the Roar of the morning when the day comes he has drinks in his hands as he looks back on the major events of his life.

Non- book events

Amanda and I are doing a charity swim for the next few weeks. we are trying to do 22 miles the distance of the channel. we are one week in and over 2 miles swam. I also have been listening to Gregg Dulli from the Afghan Whigs solo debut album.

Next month

I am on the three of the books from the Booker longlist. Which has seen me read about two people with the same name in the same town? A man trying to write about his past. Then a ghost talks about her family move to a small village. I have just finished Three night this morning so will be posting reviews I  have eight books left to read which I think will take up this month although I have a couple of other books I need read.

 

Some recent arrivals and xmas gifts

Well, here we have the fist of a few new arrivals. I haven’t read lullaby yet but when I saw this copy of Adele the follow-up book to come out in English was unread in the local Oxfam and I haven’t read the Raymond Carver collection which was the first collection that came out by him as a writer. He was the master of the short story.

Then I have a gift from my darling wife the second Murakami diary to come out it is a hardback whereas the first one that came out a few years ago was a smaller pocket type diary it has all the publication dates of Murakami’s works, Cycle of the moon, and Japanese holiday. She also got me the recent Gregor Von Rezzori novel to be published, Abel and Cain. An episodic work that covers the post-world war years through the second world war to the sixties. I have had my eye on a while so when Amanda got it me for Christmas I was really happy it will be one for German lit month this year,

Then another find in the flea market a copy of Boswell’s London Journals. where discovered for the first time in 1920 and published in 1950. where among the earliest of his writing to be published. I have been a fan of his writing for a while since I was young and hadn’t read this but had his life of Johnson years ago so I have been buying a few other works he wrote and this is the latest to the collection of his works.

Last, is Tyll by Daniel Kelhlmann Who I thought I reviewed but turns out I didn’t I did read F by him but think I was in such a rush with the iffp reading when it was longlist that year as I struggled to get the books it missed a review anyway this is meant to be his best book and use a fable-like quality to tell a story that is historic but with echoes of the modern world?

 

 

September 2019 that was the month

  1. Welcome to America by Linda Bostorm Knaugard
  2. Years like Brief days by Fabian Dobles
  3. 10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world by Elif Shafak
  4. Milena, Milena,Ecstatic by Bae Suah
  5. The Marquise of O by Heinrich Von Kleist
  6. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
  7. Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

Book of the month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first time, I have picked a none translated book as my book of the month but this is one of those rare books that is undefinable it is a monster of a read but the rhythm in those lists where she jumps from here to there in them. My reading journey this month saw me head from a chaotic family in America through Costa Rican village, then a dead prostitute in Istanbul relives her life in the last ten mins of her life. Then a Korean filmmaker meets a strange woman. Then a german classic in a new translation as a marquise tries to find the father of her child. Then I finished it off with a Reworking of Don Quixote by Salman Rushdie. I am still behind on the books read this year on 68 books reviewed want to get to 100 this year I will need to pull my socks up a bit but with german lit month soon I feel I can get there hopefully.

Next month

I have a number of novellas to read from around Europe I can’t see me reading the other booker titles they are just too long especially as I have a 900 pages modern german masterpiece and an even longer Italian novel to read before the end of the year.

Non-book events

I had some time off work and visited the Holocaust museum in Nottinghamshire it is very small but touching it has two exhibits one is about the Holocaust and the other follows one ten-year-old boy’s journey through the Kindertransport in recreations of his home school the boat that brought him here. We also went to see Major Oak the 1200-year-old Oak tree that is in Sherwood forest held up it is huge tree. In my nostalgia tv corner, I have been watching the father Downing mysteries which featured Tom Bosley is best known for playing  The father on Happy days he was also a sheriff in Murder she wrote this series sees him as a vicar investigating crime a fan of Sherlock Holmes with his sidekick a streetwise Nun.

 

That was the month that was April 2018

  1. One clear ice-cold January morning at the beginning of the twenty-first century by Roland Schimmelpfennig
  2. Love by Hanne Ørstavik
  3. Death in Spring by Merce Rodoreda
  4. The end of a family story by Peter Nadas
  5. Maigret’s secret by Georges Simenon
  6. The Harafish by Naguib Mahfouz
  7. After the winter by Guadalupe Nettel
  8. Not to read by Alejandro Zambra
  9. The day before happiness by Erri De Luca
  10. The little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg

Well it is a third of the year gone and I have reviewed 34 books on the blog.well I managed to review ten books last mknth which as I went on hliday for eight days was a good showing I feel. Books from nine countries, no new publishers . I revisitedfive writers and managed to squeeze two more Italian writers for the first Italian lit month. Next year I will be more on the ball thanks for those who took part great thanks we will do it all again next year. We also got to spend time in Torquay for the first time since we had our Honeymoon there eleven years ago. It was nice to see the place we started our marriage time has flown and we still together.

Book of the month

 

Not to read, I have been a fanof Zambra since I read his debut novel Bonsai a number of years ago, I have featured two of his books on the blog. So when this came along I couldn’t resist it. The collection of Essays follows Zambra’s reading life and what writers have touched him over the years. This is one of those books that leads to a whole range of new books. In fact before the end of the month. I featured one book connect to the books Zambra had read. Natalia Ginzburg.

Discovery of the month

I am niot a huge fan of huge hollywood blockbusters but Amanda and I sat the other night and watch The Blind side which came out a number of years ago. It was the story of an American Football player Big Mike . How he came from being on the streets to being taken in by a family and getting through school to get to college . A heartwarming film about what makes us all human.

1977 club and a true bargain

I had missed most of their previous year clubs when Simon and Karen have run them so when they announced the next in April after managing to do 1968 last month. They have chosen 1977 as the next year as with my 68 entries I have chosen the published year of the book in the original language I found three and have two already and will keep the other as a surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first is The end of the family story By Hungarian writer Peter Nadas, I reviewed his masterpiece Parallel stories an epic in every sense. This is his debut novel and set in the stern Stalinist period of the 1950’s. One man’s story Simon has a dead mother and a father locked up !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second choice Takes me to Latin America and Jorge Amado the Brazilian writer that had been nominated a number of times for the Nobel prize. I have read Dona Flors by him and have another book by him on the shelves, but haven’t reviewed him yet and be nice to add more Brazilian writers to the blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not for 1977 but a bargain find today was the first edition of Anna Kavan Ice which is considered a masterpiece of genre-defying lit.

 

A dutch pair new arrivals

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This is the first of two Dutch novels to arrive in recent days , I have actually read this one finished it last night it is a tale of one mans story about the first world ar David is a teacher but he has an attraction to a shy pupil that needs a bright world that is what david tries to bring , but the war catches up and as he tries to teach then men un der him about the world and how to read and write he decides to try and escape the horror of the war. This was a big hit in Dutch speaking world it was pick for a dutch talk show as a book club read.

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Then we have a book by a writer I have featured before Otto de kat his man on the move was reviewed here seven years ago. This is story of Emma Verweij she is now 96 and waiting to die and looking back on her life and the war years when her home the house she is in now was stronghold for her friends during the war. As she tries to hide the first husband and the nazis past in Germany. Otto de kat is the pen name of the dutch publisher jan Geurt Gaarlandt he choose the name after a relative also called Otto de kat a successful Dutch painter in his day .

What books have you had arrive ?

1984 no sorry its now 2084 the first book in the post of 2017

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Well the first book I got sent this year is from a writer I have reviewed before Boualem Sansal is an Algerian writer that has had his works banned and censored in his homeland. I reviewed Harraga Two years ago. This is of course an homage in a way to Orwell’s  great book 1984 and also a work  against all totalitarian regiemes here  in the future a country called Abistan after its spiritual leader a place where like in Orwell’s world every move is watch we find one man who is trying to find a new truth. What was your first book of 2017

Pushkin Press fortnight MK2 Feb 13-28 2017

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

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Two faces Italy and Iceland march on euro 2016

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I arrived home yesterday to two books through the post . I was surprised firstly by an odd similarity in the two cover images. The first book young bride by Alessandro Barico the Italian writer follows a young women joining a noble family but as she does so she has learned secrets from each of her new family members. I have enjoyed his books before so am looking forward to this his latest in English.Then it is a real treat the next book by Jon Kalman Stefansson this book Fish have no feet is the first of his books to be set in a modern setting to be translated to english his trilogy which I enjoyed was a historic novel. This book follows a man returning to his childhood home town with memories of the music of the beatles and pink Floyd and a girl he once fell in love with. So as yesterday saw both Italian team and Iceland go forward to the next round in euro 2016 with Iceland playing England in the second round.

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