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Year End Review #4: In Translation

I’ve also decided to give books I read in translation a separate mention this year, if only to try and spur me on to do better in 2018. I was shocked to find that I’ve only read fourteen novels in translation this year, just over 10% of my reading; last year I read 27, (of Read More

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#WITMonth – Virginie Despentes – Vernon Subutex 1

A state of the nation novel for the post-punk generation Translated by Frank Wynne Virginie Despentes has lived a bit! You can sense that she’s happy for us to know that from her provocative author photo (right), which is also laden with Gallic irony. Looking her up, she’s been a maid, worked in massage parlours and Read More

The Reader on the 6-27

I’m still reviewing books read in 2016…

With concentrating on best of posts after Christmas, I got seriously behind reviewing books the I’d read, so here is a ‘twofer’ finishing up my fiction list and leaving just one non-fiction book read in 2016 left to review… The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent Translated by Ros Schwartz Guylain Vignolles is a Read More

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The #1947Club

The third week of reading from a particular year with hosts Simon and Karen. After 1924 and 1938, we’ve reached 1947. Checking my master spreadsheet, I have only previously read one book published in this year.That was Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada – which I blogged about at my old blog here. Back to what to Read More

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Women in Translation month

August is Women in Translation month hosted by Meytal at Biblibio, and I’m busy scouring the shelves for a couple of books to read. Meanwhile, here are links to all the WIT books I’ve read since last August – it’s not a long list, but is more than last year. The Awakening of Miss Prim Read More

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French, comic and dark – it’s a Pascal Garnier story…

Too Close to the Edge by Pascal Garnier Translated by Emily Boyce The dark short novels of Pascal Garnier have been a revelation for me (find out more here) so, the moment I got my hands on the latest to be translated by French to English specialists Gallic books, I just had to read it. He Read More

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I dared to read the book…

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo A few days ago, I posed the question Dare I read this book? Do read the earlier post for an introduction to this best-selling self-help book by the new young Japanese queen of decluttering. Well, your comments certainly emboldened me and I put the TBR Dare to one side Read More

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“I am a wolf man, who despises the striving of common men”

Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse We often like to read something classic over Christmas for book group, but were a little uninspired when picking back in November. We resorted to reading a list of nobel prize-winners and Herman Hesse came up – we discounted Siddhartha as too mystical and The Glass Bead Game as too long, which led us Read More

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Too clever for it’s own good?

Where there’s love, there’s hate by Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine and Kessica Ernst Powell Reviews earlier this year by Jacqui and Kaggsy alerted me to this story, and I picked up a copy from the novella table at Waterstones, Piccadilly on one of my trips to London. This little mystery was the Read More

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Prim by name and prim by nature …

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera Translated by Sonia Soto I raced through this book – a feel-good romance set in a rather special little Spanish town. Miss Prim, an administrative assistant, decides to apply for a new job: Wanted: a feminine spirit quite undaunted by the world to work as a Read More

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Annabel’s Shelves: C

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. We’re up to the letter ‘C’ on my Annabel’s Shelves Project – and it was a case of if at first you don’t succeed, try again…. C is NOT for: Italo Calvino – DNF Oh dear, I tried and tried to Read More

Season of Migration

A Sudanese modern classic …

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive. Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih Translated by Denys Johnson-Davies This was our July choice for book group, picked by a new member to our group who is Sudanese and was keen to introduce us to what is regarded Read More

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Scandi-crime time…

Spring Tide by Cilla & Rolf Börjlind On Thursday 23rd April, it is World Book Night. Once again, I applied to be a ‘giver’. I picked a book from the list, and wrote my case for being awarded a batch of copies to give out. I was delighted to be accepted and even more pleased to get Read More

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My Books of the Year 2014 – Part Two – The Blog edit

Yesterday I shared my best reads of 2014 as reviewed for Shiny New Books. Today, I turn my attention to titles reviewed here. The links will return you to my full reviews: – Best Retro-Subversive Laugh-Out-Loud Book Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler So nearly my book of the year, Discovering Scarfolk is just hilarious! Stuck firmly in Read More

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Would you do this on holiday?

Lazy Days by Erlend Loe Translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw. With its irresistible cover I was always going to pick this book up to examine it. I read the blurb on the flyleaf and discovered that the author, new to me, was Norwegian, and that the book was likely to be quirky and probably Read More

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Book Group Report – Jean Teulé

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé Our book group read for July into August was actually a re-read for me. We’d wanted something quick and light as due to our schedules we only had three weeks between meetings instead of our usual four or five. I had read Teulé’s 2007 novel, published in English translation Read More

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A novel way of revisiting children's classics…

Although I only studied it up to O-level, possibly my favourite subject at school was Latin. I continue to surprise myself by the amount of Latin I’ve retained over the years, but I do try to use it whenever I can.  Viz my blog’s Latin motto: Noli domo egredi nisi librum habes – Never leave Read More

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Meet Mr Sulky

Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard, translated by David McClintock When Stu announced he would host Thomas Bernhard Reading Week this week, I first thought ‘Who?’. Just a little research revealed that he was considered one of Austria’s leading writers of the post-war era, and he was also rather controversial for constantly criticising Austria – a Nestbeschmutzer (one Read More

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A French crime novel of character…

The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas, translated by Sian Reynolds This was our bookgroup read for June into July, the first roman policier, and an award-winning one too, by frenchwoman Fred Vargas – Fred being short for Frédérique.  Vargas is an archaeologist and historian and, with Reynolds as her translator, won three successive CWA International Dagger awards for Read More

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Book Group Report – a German classic novella…

The Jew’s Beechby Annette Von Droste-Hülshoff Being a German novella from 1842, this book was an unusual choice for our Book Group. It came about in conversation because one of our group’s sons was studying it at uni, and another who teaches German, owned a copy in German which she’d never read. Luckily, translations are Read More

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Travelling Man

Lost Luggageby Jordi Punti, translated from the Catalan by Julie Wark. This is the story of Gabriel Delacruz, orphan, international furniture remover and father to four sons. Four boys – born in four different countries to four different mothers; one German, one English, one French and one Spanish, and all christened the local equivalent of the Read More

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A woman scorned …

My First Wife by Jakob Wassermann, translated by Michael Hoffman They often say that truth is stranger than fiction. This novel is apparently no fiction – it’s one of those ‘all names have been changed’ type books!  My First Wife was published posthumously in 1934, and was a thinly veiled account of the author’s first Read More

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Medieval Iceland – a place of cod wars even then…

On the Cold Coastsby Vilborg Davidsdottir, trans Alda Sigmundsdottir At the heart of this novel is the tale of Ragna, a young Icelandic woman from a family with property in Greenland which she will inherit. Still a young teenager, yet betrothed to Thorkell, Ragna becomes unmarriageable when she becomes pregnant by an English sailor who Read More

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Heatwaves can be murder!

August Heat by Andrea Camilleri Translated by Stephen Sartarelli This is the third of Camilleri’s novels that I’ve read, the tenth in the popular series featuring Inspector Salvo Montalbano, and it was the most enjoyable yet. It’s nearing the middle of August and the heat in Sicily is getting unbearable.  Montalbano’s girlfriend Livia is arriving Read More

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My Reading Resolutions for 2009 – How did I do #3

My third reading resolution for 2009 was to ‘read more world and translated fiction’. Last year I read a dozen which were all Nordic or French except for Blindness by Saramago. This year I did a bit better… Eighteen in translation, plus a sprinkling from parts other than the UK or USA. I spread my Read More