That was the month that was Feb 2021

  1. Under the Glacier by Halldor Laxness
  2. Game of the Gods by Paolo Maurensig
  3. Our Circus Presents..  by Lucian Dan Teodorovici
  4. waiting by Goretti Kyomuhendo
  5. Why we love women by Mircea Cărtărescu
  6. The imagined land by Eduardo Berti
  7. Tower by Bae Myung-Hoon
  8. The pear tree by Nana Ekvtimishvilli
  9. A Musical Offering by Luis Sagasti
  10. The No World Concerto by A G Porta
  11. The art of Losing by Alice Zeniter

SO far I have reviewed 24 books this year. 11 in Feb where the journey started with a novel from Iceland about a church go stray and the man sent to see what had happened. Then a story of a man from a humble background that became a great chess player. Then a group of men and women that are trying to take their lives in the most elaborate way a blackly comic work from Bulgaria. I went to Uganda and a young girl recounting the war from her family’s point of view was also the first work from Uganda I have covered. Then the great Romanian writer Micrea  Cărtărescu on some of his loves and women he has known. Then an imagine china from the  Argentinean writer Eduardo Berti. We then have Korean sci-fi but is also social commentary in the tower a state in a supersize tower block. Then we go to Georgia and a school for learning disabilities that is falling apart and has abuse at its heart seen from a pupil that has taken a young boy under her wing. Then a book that has a v=collection of stories revolving around Bach Goldberg variations another from Argentina and then we had a Spanish writer that had been friends and written with Roberto Bolano his only work in English two intertwined lives but who is writing about who? Then a truly epic saga of three generations of an Algerian family that comes to France and returns when the granddaughter returns and shows her family snapshots of friends and family that have aged fifty years before their eyes. So I went to ten countries with Uganda being a new country to the blog a rare event these days. There was also a couple of new publishers the feminist press and Plymouth university press. I also made the decision to score my reviews on an a to e scale moving forward.

Book of the month

I loved Luis Sagasti first book he is a writer that seems to make the reader think beyond the stories he wrote but also draws you into them these all revolved around music the Bach Goldberg variations but also a bizarre tongue in cheek story of a giant organ being built that causes an avalanche. I did have to check up that story was only fiction, lets hope we get more from this writer.

Non-book-related events

Well, the lockdown has us all not doing a lot. Amanda and I have been catching up on the second series of Stranger things which we had fallen behind in watching. I still love all the 80s references and the nod to the films of the time in the show itself. I watched a short film by Guy Maddin the Canadian director is an underrated filmmaker. Apart from that, not a lot else to report. Rather same as with last month I am now on three nights so won’t return with a review to Thursday.

Month ahead

Well, I still haven’t read a book from Arabic this year so I will try to do that otherwise it will be mainly books to fill in the gaps of what I hadn’t  that could be on the Man Booker International longlist which comes out at the end of this month. Any thought on what would make the longlist? What were your highlights last month?

That was the month that was August 2019

  1. A nail and a rose by Madeleine Bourdouxhe
  2. Doppelganger by Dasa Drndric
  3. And the wind sees by Guðmundur Andri Thorsson 
  4. Scar by Sara Mesa
  5. The last days of el Comandante by Alberto Barrera Tyszka
  6. Transfer window by Maria Gerhardt
  7. Shadows on the tundra by Dalia Grinkevičiūtė
  8. One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Mrquez

Book of the month





















Any ont that has read the blog the last few years won’t be surprised that I have chosen this collection of two short stories by the late great Dasa Drndic. A writer I was lucky to meet and admire more after meeting her and seeing her view of the world which was similar to mine. I still have her last novel, for now, to hope we see more of her earlier books in English.

Last month

I managed to review eight books on the blog from eight countries from seven publishers a mix for Women in translation month and Spanish lit month. I also did thirty covers from women in translation from all around the world past and present. My reading took me from Belgian housewife in the inter-war years, two stories with mirroring themes one a doomer love affair between an older couple. Then two stories one capturing a second in Iceland as a woman in dotty dress cycles by and then a warped internet love affair. Then death from the last years of the late Venezuelan l,eader Hugo Chavez after that I had a story from a woman in the futuristic hospice than the last two books a lost tale of a woman’s Gulag years and a family saga set in Macondo in the Jungle in Columbia.  An interesting month

Non-book events well I have been listening to the debut album by the punk band Black midi another new band for this year my end of year record review for this year will be interesting as caught many new bands this year


That was the month that was Jan 2014


Well I got 2014 off with a bang I managed to review 19 books on the blog which is the most I have acheived for a couple of years  and I  have read 16 books also my best ever start for a year .So I decide it is about time I brought back the month end round up posts  .A great start here is what I read in January –

  1. the art and craft of approaching your head of department to submit a request for a raise by Georges Perec france
  2. The confusion of young Törless by Robert Musil Austria
  3. Naomi by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki Japan
  4. Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon Belgian
  5. Miruna ,a tale by  Bogdan Suceavă Romanian
  6. The restaurant of love regained by Ito Ogawa Japan
  7. Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop – Phane france (review in march )
  8. The people in the photo by Helene Gestern france (review in feb)
  9. The lonely hearts club by Raul Nunez argentina
  10. The last day of a condemned man by Victor Hugo France
  11. Botchan by Natsume Soseki Japan
  12. The space between us by Zoya Pipzad Iran
  13. The infatuations  by Javier Marias spain
  14. The castle of whispers by Carole Martinez France
  15. The front seat passenger by Pascal Garnier france
  16. Crumbs by Miha Mazzini  Slovenia

As you see a real mix but with French novels and Japanese to the fore .I think the real gem of the month is Zenith Hotel a book that comes out in march but one that I read and instantly called the best book I had read for a long time .I enjoyed taking part in Tony’s January in Japan event again .

Books read 2014 to date – 16

Countries read from – 9

Next month – Well Pushkin press fortnight is at the end of the month I have a couple I read last year to review for that and also halfway through a couple on my kindle .I’ve a new French crime series to start .

What were your highlights for January ?

July /august round up

Well I missed July’s wrap up of reads so you’ve a bumper edition this time .I ve read a few more english and american books in last two months than normal, but will be back on translations for next couple of months .So here is the list of what I ve read in last couple of months in no particular order –


  1. Phantoms of Breslau by Marek Krajewski (Poland)
  2. The violins of Saint Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor (England)
  3. Vox by Nicholson Baker (America)
  4. Three men in a boat by Jerome K. Jerome (England)
  5. Half blood blues by Esi Edugyan(Canada)
  6. Vile bodies by Evelyn Waugh (England)
  7. The tears of autumn by Charles Mccarry(America)
  8. Dart by Alice Oswald(England)
  9. Down the rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos(Argentina)
  10. Until thy wrath be past by Asa Larson (Sweden)
  11. The stranger’s child by Alan Hollinghurst(England)
  12. U&I by Nicholson Baker (America)
  13. Ashes by Sergios Gakas (Greece)
  14. All the lights by Clemens Meyers(Germany)
  15. Good offices by Evelio Rosero (Columbia)
  16. The manual of darkness by Enrique de Heriz(Spain)
  17. The milkman in the night by Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine)
  18. I the supreme ny Augusto Roa Bastos (Paraguay)
  19. Corrections by Thomas Bernard(Austria)
  20. Exiled from almost everywhere by Juan Goytisolo(Spain)
  21. the sense of an ending by Julian Barnes(England)

So that is it 21 in two months taking the total for the year to 85 books which is exactly same as August last year .I ve read lot english books but going be posting them in between translations reviews for a while .Off the books read the Phantoms of Breslau and down the rabbit hole were my huge favourites .I read three longlisted booker of them the stranger’s child was just my favourite .What you’ve read recently ?

plans for next month well I m reading very short novellas next couple of weeks to give me things to review whilst I make my way through the 1100 plus pages of Parallel stories from the end of the month and I think it will take a month to read with some other books thrown in .What are your plans for September ?

BBAW 2011

Well I am a funny soul only last week ,I said I didn’t want to do much with book blogger appreciation weeK on twitter ,but must say who ever runs bbaw twitter needs to reply to people numerous mentions and no reply !! that does annoy  but as they say a week is a long time in politics in my mind its a lifetime now I want to take full part I may not want to be a part of a certain type of blogging but want meet new bloggers and learn about blogging more and BBAW can help with that  .so if you like my little blog nominate me if not don’t lol .I hope to maybe find some new blogs and also get some fresh ideas for the blog of late I ve seem to have got stuck in the mud in my head I need something to spark the blog of again so maybe BBAW will help me get some spark back in the blog .That and the return of my favourite blogger rob of robaround books should see the old dog rise again .I ve nominated already I ve told people I’ve nominate already .

so have fun and as a publicist said on twitter today #ilovereading  and I do

good luck all and hi to any new people I meet ,

stu and Winston the dog .





winston’s round up was it a mad march here !

Well we’re three months in to 2011 and like last month I ve been very stop start with blog and reading but managed to get these read –

  1. A rift in time by Raja shehadeh (Palenstine)
  2. Cheating at canasta by William Trevor (Ireland)
  3. The tree and other stories by Abdallah al-Nasseur (Saudi Arabia)
  4. Monsieur pain bu Roberto Bolano (chile)
  5. Blood sister by Alessandro Perissnotto(Italy)
  6. Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murkami (Japan)
  7. While the women are sleeping by Javier Marias (Spain)
  8. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred doblin (Germany)
  9. Monsieur Linh and his child by Philipe Claudel (France)
  10. The particular sadness of lemon cakes by Amiee Bender(U.S)
  11. The possessed by Elif Batumann (turkish/US)

In middle of

  1. tigers wife by tea Obert
  2. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
  3. Ten stories about smoking by Stuart Evers
  4. Kamchatka by Marcelo Figueras

hope finish these this week then got most of Independent foreignfiction prize longlist to read ,also one from the 12 to watch list a chilean novel and a novel set in cyprus .so with longer nights be reading more hopefully

Year to date –

31 books bit behind my plan for 140 this year but 2 more than this time last year so doing well .

Favourite –

A book I waited to get my hands on and was happy I did !


Febuary round up and march plans

I ve let foot of the pedal so to speak this month not blogged a lot or read a lot ,also a family bereavement  this last weekend knocked me for six .I hope to get back to full steam this month .so last month –

  1. the gospel of anarchy by Justin Taylor (us)
  2. Death and the penguin by Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine)
  3. The falafel king is dead by Sara Shilo (Israeli)
  4. The children of rain by Amelie Nothomb (Belgian)
  5. Saplings by Noel Streatfield (UK)
  6. Next world novella by Mathias Politycki (German )
  7. Flypaper by Robert Musil (German)
  8. The queens necklace by Italio Calvino (Italy)

Well that’s 8 books not a lot but I’ve not had time last month with work and family time .

That brings total to 20 this year .

March plans

I ve two projects to get off the ground the village reading challenge and men’s book reading list ,so be working on them .I m doing a week near end of month for the penguin mini classics as I ve now seven to read from round the world .

January round up and feb plans

Well that flew by doesn’t seem five minutes since new years day and here I am at the last day of the month well ,I ve read a lot of Italian novels this month as planned .so here is what I read this month

  1. 2666 by Roberto Bolano (Chile)
  2. Hare with amber eyes by Edmund du Waal (uk)
  3. Norwegian wood by Haruki Murakami (Japan)
  4. Khirbet Khizeh by s. Yihzar (Israeli)
  5. If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvino (Italy)
  6. The Luneberg variation by Paulo Mauersig (italy)
  7. The leopard by Giuseppe Di Thomas (Italy)
  8. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco (Italy)
  9. The tartar steppe by Dino Buzzati (Italy)
  10. The fugitive by Massimo Carlotto (Italy)
  11. A song for carrying water ,collected Somalia tales (Somalia)
  12. My dead dad was in ZZ  top by Jon Claser(us)

Twelve books was three better than Last January and enough to keep me on track ,need to catch up on reviews but time has got best of me this weekend .

Favourites –

2666 & if on a winter night a traveller – two modern great that I d been scared of reading but enjoyed both for different reasons both still have me thinking 2666 in particular as I struggle to capture what I felt for the book .

February plans –

The country of focus this month is South africa ,I plan to tackle some more african books this month as well and another Bolano and Murakami ,Plus planning for a special announcement that will come tomorrow and be planned over next month ready for March .

What did you read last Month ?

winstons round up

A quick round of some things going on I ve seen around web and on twitter and a e-mail I was sent about a new translation .

New Julio Cortazar prose piece –I received a e-mail from Guernica magazines poetry editor telling me about Anne Maclean’s new Julio Cortazar translation of Prose from the observatory ,A extract is on Guernica here ,well worth a look the book is published later this year on archipelago  books in june .

Prize news –The new panel for this years Independent foreign fiction prize 2011 the are .

The judges for this year’s prize are:

  • Harriett Gilbert, writer, academic and broadcaster
  • Author, M J Hyland
  • Catriona Kelly, writer and Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford
  • Novelist and reviewer, Neel Mukherjee
  • Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor of theIndependent

A diverse list of Judges my only Gripe with the prize is it name a little to long maybe a catchy replacement needed  and fact it needs a high-profile with the reading public  this year booktrust are running it hope they promote it more than in past years it need it long list out in march I will be sure to list this is my favourite prize .

Next week sees the three percent long list for best translated book award ,the american cousin to our Independent prize on 27th I will post the long list when I find it out and link to any books I ve reviewed .

Google word search – Is google Ngram view that will graph a words popularity from 1860 til now on a graph ,this uses the 6 million books google have scanned and can use fiction and non fiction for your search have fun .

winston’s may and what is ahead

Well another month has been and gone in Winston towers ,this month has been one of the busiest so far this year ,having a weeks holiday and a number of night shifts has raised number read also apart from one book they’ve all been corkers this month .

The books

  1. Life a user manual by Georges Perec .
  2. Offside by tom Palmer .
  3. Cheerful weather for a wedding by Julia Strachey
  4. world cup wishes by Eshkol Nevo
  5. le bal by Irene Nemirovosky
  6. cafe Europa by Slavenk Drakula
  7. alphabet of the night by Jean Euphele Milce
  8. the labyrinth of solitude by Octavio Paz
  9. neighbour by Lilla Momple
  10. A way of being free by Ben Okri
  11. Almost dead BY Assaf Gavron
  12. the old child by Jenny Erpenbeck
  13. dark nights of the soul by Jermey Simpson
  14. tropical night falling Manuel Puig
  15. blaugast by Paul Leppin


100 books in a year – 54 /100 well on course

52 books –  15/52 only one on the list ,still add more translated books need read a couple next month .


I m start arabic reading challenge still got a book to read for nymeths challenge a things mean a lot from 1930’s have start murder at red house by A.A.Milne counts i hope start on e reader last night .

favourite book last month 2

cafe Europa

Slavenka Drakulic

and offside 

off side Tom Palmer

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