Back from holidays and sooo much work to catch up on (as well as reviews). Needless to say, I did not get quite as much writing and reading done this past week of ‘real holiday’, because I did not spend all my time on the beaches below (more’s the pity!).
Luckily for my reading/writing projects, I only had one week ‘off’. This summary represents two months’ worth of reading, because the school holidays here spread over July and August.
Women in Translation Month
In August I spent most of my time reading women in translation, trying to rely on books that I already had. I grouped some of them together for reviewing purposes (lack of time or because I thought they were made for each other), but here they are in the order I read them.
Valeria Luiselli: Faces in the Crowd
Therese Bohmann: Drowned
Virginie Despentes: Apocalypse Baby
Karin Fossum: The Drowned Boy
Alice Quinn: Queen of the Trailer Park
Judith Schalansky: The Neck of the Giraffe
Adina Rosetti: Ten Times on the Lips
Renate Dorrestein: The Darkness that Divides Us
Gøhril Gabrielsen: The Looking-Glass Sisters
Tove Janssen: The True Deceiver (and other assorted Moomin books) – to catch up on later
Rodica Ojog-Braşoveanu: The Man at the End of the Line (to be reviewed)
Veronika Peters: Was in zwei Koffer passt (All that Fits in 2 Suitcases)
Other Women Writers
Following the WIT reading, I was in the mood to read more women authors in English as well. Some of them were for CFL reviews, but many were just escapism.
Lucy Atkins: The Other Child
Sophie Hannah: A Game for All the Family
Sarah Ward: In Bitter Chill
Rosamond Lehmann: The Echoing Grove
Anya Lipska: A Devil Under the Skin
Susan M. Tiberghien: Footsteps
Jenny Lawson: Furiously Happy
And Other Reads:
Review copy: Sebastian Fitzek: The Child
Library book: Emmanuel Carrere: The Adversary
Rereading: F. Scott Fitzgerald: Tender Is the Night
24 books, 15 in or from other languages, 9 in English, 8 crime fiction.
My best proportion of translated fiction ever, so the WIT initiative clearly works well even for those of us who believe we read a lot of women writers and a lot of translated fiction. I made many wonderful discoveries, and feel I have learnt something from each book, even though I may not have loved them all.
My crime pick of the month/holidays is Hiekkapelto’s The Defenceless, because it is such a timely topic (about the way we treat asylum-seekers). My overall favourite read is also Finnish (with a Swedish twist): Tove Jansson. Well, she sets a very high bar… But honourable mentions go to Valeria Luiselli and Gøhril Gabrielsen. (I exclude F. Scott Fitzgerald from the competition.) My disappointment was the Veronika Peters book, which I thought was going to be a more in-depth account of a woman’s search for herself, for God, for inner peace or spirituality. Instead, it was an (entertaining enough) account of everyday life in a convent, with all its rivalries, good and bad bits, but a lot more shallow than I expected – both the book and the narrator.