Sheffield day with Amanda some books

This past weekend saw Amanda and I both off for the weekend for the first time in a long while so we decided to have a day in sheffield. We started the day with a trip around the large indoor shopping centre Meadow hall , it has two small waterstones bookshops but I was waiting for later in the day and the chance to go too the large main city centre branch of waterstones but one treat I did have in Meadowhall was a Donut .This was a Biscoff donut anyone that knows me is I love my Bicoff lotus biscuits the perfect coffee biscuit I say and this donut went great with my espresso.

biscoff donut

I have a rule of three in bookshops never buy more than three books in one shop these days so my three choices weren’t so easy but in the end I settle for an old favourite writer and two new names ,

Laszlo krasznahorkai


I brought war and war earlier in the year but had wanted to read The melancholy of resistance more , so brought it to complete my Laszlo Krasznahorkai collection. THe book rather like Satantango follows a small town as it reacts to an incomer , this time it ia s mystery show with the worlds largest Whale and just that the locals are wary of these new circus folk. I’m in a circus mode as we are busy watching the fourth series of american horror story the freak show series. The book has also been made into a film by Bela Tarr who also did the film for Satantango.

Schlump Grimm

I had this on my list of books to buy since its Translate Jamie first mentioned this book  Schlump is the story of a 17-year-old on the German front at world war two a story that is brutal and funny at the same time the writer wasn’t truly known to 2013 many years after Grimm had died he later was in the nazi party even thou this book was burned he bricked up his original manuscript in his house, he later was called in 1950 to talk about his war-time record and two days later he committed suicide .I hope have this read for end of German lit month .

Ippolito Nievo

The confessions of an Italian is the story of Carlo altoviti an old man looking back at his life in Italy this happens to be in the period called the Risorgimento, which saw the small states that had made Italy at the time join together to make it a bigger country. An epic novel Italo Calvino called it the one 19th century Italian novel which has that charm and fascination so abundant in foreign literature . What better recommendation could you have .

What books have you brought recently ?



Winston’s books Open Letter books and Nobel winner ?


Well I arrived home to three brown envelopes through my door a real bonus , on a day that had been busy at work . I opened them to find three more books to add to the one I got on Saturday from US publisher Open Letter which is attached to the university of Rochester and their three percent website (a real joy for serious lit in translation fans ).The three books were a collection of Poetry from the Italian poet Lucio Mariani , A  well regard and translated poet .Then there is The physics of sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov , a Bulgarian writer , I have reviewed two books from Bulgaria and have a third on my pile of books to review , so I am pleased to read another what seems by the cover blurb another witty and clever books from Bulgaria and he was suggested back at london book fair to me as another writer from that country to read  .Then last but no means least is  a French novel and writer that has been on my wish list for a good while since I heard of an earlier book Minor Angels by Antoine Volodine , I have want to enter the future world of radical writers and exploring the power of writing this book is part of a great project that interconnects a lot of his books . Then below is the book that arrived is another to add to the 10 other writers I have read from Argentina Juan Jose Saer latest translation is a collection of three stories around Exile and memory .He sadly died a few year ago but is another I had on my radar for a while . I am hoping this may spike interest in the uk to this publisher making it easier to get their books in the uk .I know they are easily available on amazon , but I like to buy my books in a bookshop and the nearest place to get their books to me is Nottingham or Manchester .


Then I got two books from the library today that I had ordered one writer that maybe should have won the nobel in his time Alain Robbe Grillet was a leading writer in the Noveau Roman movement also a filmmaker , last year in Marienbad was his film .I managed to find my library system had one this one project for a revolution in New York .Then there is a name that has been around as a future winner the last few years and thankful my library managed to find the copy they had at last of Voices from Chernobyl the oral history of  nuclear disaster written by Svetlana Alexievich , I always try to read one or two of the names not mention in regards Nobel Literature prize .



Autoportrait by Edouard Levé

Autoportrait by Edouard Levé

French Literature

Original title – Autoportrait

Translator Lorin Stein

Source – personnel copy

Generous of lyric, Jehovah’s Witness
Stands in Cologne Marktplatz
Drums come in
When the drums come in fast
Drums to shock, into brass evil

What have you got in that paper bag?
Is it a dose of Vitamin C?
Ain’t got no time for Western medicine
I am Damo Suzuki

The fuck-up like red acid rain
Give it to me Daki every day
Who is Mr. Karlheinz Stockhausen?
Introduce me
I’m Damo Suzuki

Soundtracks, Soundtracks
Melched together, the lights
The lights above you

I choose The fall as the lyrics from Mark E smith have the same choppy style as Leve and this song one my favourites is an Homage to Damo Suzuki the Can member .

I read Leve other book Suicide a couple of years ago , so last week when I was in Nottingham , I was looking for some books to read in the large waterstones that is there , I found this and two other books from Dalkey archive .Leve started as a painter then became a photographer (he mainly photographed cities Florence , Oxford , New york amoung them . He then moved from art to writing in a book that described 500 made up work of art (This is one I really want to read by him ) He then wrote this and then later Suicide which after he finished this book he killed himself .

I will never know how many books I have read. Raymond Roussel, Charles Baudelaire, Marcel Proust, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Antonio Tabucchi, André Breton, Oliver Cadiot, Jorge Luis Borges, Andy Warhol, Gertrude Stein, Ghérasim Luca, Georges Perec, Jacques Roubaud, Joe Brainard, Roberto Juarroz, Guy Debord, Fernando Pessoa, Jack Kerouac, La Rouchefoucauld, Baltasar Gracian, Roland Barthes, Walt Whitman, Nathalie Quintane, the Bible, and Bret Easton Ellis all matter to me. I have read less of the Bible than of Marcel Proust. I prefer Nathalie Quintane to Baltasar. Guy Debord matters more to me than Roland Barthes. Roberto Juarroz makes me laugh more than Andy Warhol. Jack Keuroac makes me want to live more than Charles Baudelaire. La Rochefoucauld depresses me less than Bret Easton Ellis. Olivier Cadiot cheers me up more than André Breton. Joe Brainard is less affirmative than Walt Whitman. Raymond Roussel surprises me more than Baltasar Gracian, but Baltasar Gracian makes me more intelligent .

I’ve read some of these writers it shows what he read although he said elsewhere he reread a lot and he  had read four biographies .I feel that was good thing as this is a unique take on a life .

Now this is a book the writer himself called literary cubism .The book as the title suggests is a portrait , one can assume it is Leve himself if not a mix of himself and people he knows .What we get is a stream of short sentences that tells a mans life but in small unconnected parts . So this is a life that is just told in facts and those facts come small , large , past ,present likes and dislikes. BUt also to the facts come some sayings , feelings and quirky ideas all in short shots  . Now the first page mentions Georges Perec’s book and yes this is from the same oeuvre of fiction as it is made up of unconnected parts in a way no narrative just a journey .Gilbert and George see there lives as an art work dress eat listen live the same life . Well this is part of what Leve is doing to me this is closer to art than literature .What we get is as he says a cubist view of a man all angles and bold lines .

I prefer a ruin to a monument
A short quote but this is the other side to the facts is what made Leve tick .

As I say I view this as art in words .An expansion of ideas that first surfaced in Conceptual art as a movement , with artist like Rauschenberg , whom used a telegram as a self  portrait in the early 1960 , this was first of many examples of telegrams being used . Something in this book remind me of the sparse nature of  this writing ,when people had to send telegrams , like the tweets of the days every word matter so facts  became important and the dressing of what we said didn’t matter . This is like a set of telegrams that have been cut to just those sentences then pulled out and stuck together , like William Burroughs used to do when he wrote and later David Bowie .Another way he could write this book is like in the film Finding forrester the main character a writer says one way he starts to write is to just type and get the rhythm of typing and let your mind wander , I get the rhythm of keys being tapped I have that when I am typing my blog posts .I also choose a quote about the writers he like as a guide to what influenced him .

What is your favourite book that maybe is more art than Literature ?


Sheffield in the summer some translated books as well


A chance swapping of shifts at work this week meant Amanda and I had the day off together today , so we had planned initially to just go to Chesterfield but a nice warm day yesterday , we decided to have a Sheffield day , so we sat just after we arrived and had a coffee near the peace gardens in the centre of the city ,by city hall .I also decided as we drank our coffee to treat myself to new books today , we usually pop to my favourite second-hand book shop in Sheffield but no we went to waterstones .


well I brought three books at waterstones , in fact today I went for three books by writers I have read firstly is a third book by Hungarian writer LaszloKrasznahorkai his second book to be translated into English War and war as I said when I reviewed Seibo there below earlier this year I intend to read the other books translated into English .The book follows Korin as he travels to new york but also reads an ancient manuscript he discovered in an Hungarian archive .Next up is Eduardo Mendoza his book no word for Gurb , I love forward planning ,this is for next spanish lit month , I have his book an Englishman in Madrid I’ll be reviewing this spanish lit month but found this story as described on the cover a real contrast to that book all about an alien Gurb that becomes Madonna and disappears on to the streets of Barcelona .Last from water stones but first of two books for German lit month is Gunter Grass The Flounder a retelling of the classic fairy tale the fisherman and his wife , it took Grass five years and three rewrites to complete this 500 page novel .The from the discount book store the works , which I check ever so often as it occasionally has a translated gem in turn up trumps with thee second novel from Charlotte Roche of wetlands fame , wrecked seems in similar vein . This a family story with a dark history behind it a shocking second German novel and a bargain for 1 pound in hardback .Then we had lunch Amanda didn’t want any of my sushi . as we sat in the peace garden near the water  fountain and watched the kids play in it .


Then I visited HMV and saw first on dvd tv series box set and then a great film I liked when I watched it a few years ago on tv that I decide to buy .


The tv series was the two series boxset of Twin Peaks , which I had watched last year when it was rerun on uk tv , but as then I had forgotten a number of characters and story threads in the second longer series , I decide as it was cheaper than online to buy it today to watch again as the third series is due in 2016/7 whoop whoop , this open the door for great tv series and it is wonderful to see David Lynch being let loose on tv again .The film I brought is a film from Argentina BomBon el perro a road trip of a down at his luck mechanic and his big white dog he has ended up with as his companion on this road trip .

Winstons books the sunday bumper version


Well its warm hence I’m in my shorts as I take pictures of some recent arrivals at winstons tower . First as I have read it again is the Murakami biography what I talk about when I talk about running , which I have read but never owned so a cheap harback was a must buy this week and I have read this again that evening .Next up Angre Gide after reviewing the Vatican cellars last year I decide to buy any by him I see so Le symphonie pastorale I brought (although I may have it already not check shelf of old penguins yet .Then there is the classic the romance of the rose a 13th century french classic .Patrick Hamilton was a book I had seen a few times in the oxfam and finally decided to give it a new home also he captured the dark side of the war years at home .Lastly is Peter Hoeg short story collection tales of the night one for my top secret project for 2016 .


Next in is the best known novel by the Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi Pereira Maintains , which is set in 1938 Portugal a country where the writer spent a lot of his life . A man arrives at a old widowers house and changes the small world around them . Part of a series of great books Canongate have brought out in a new series called the canons .


Last is the Dedalus collection of Slovak literature , they say it is the most important selection of Slovak fiction to come out in english >Well I haven’t cover a Slovak book so this collection that has writers from20th century is surely a great diving board into this nations fiction .

What have you given a book home to recntly ?

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