The Last of the Holiday Reading – August 2017

September is still full of ‘back to school’ vibes for me, not just because of the children. I always make my resolutions at the start of September and look back on my holiday thoughts and reading, even if I don’t always have a holiday in summer.

It’s hard to estimate how many books I read in August, because for the last week I’ve been diving into endless amounts of poetry books and some slim Japanese novellas which I am not counting as full-sized books. Aside from that, however, I’ve read 12: 3 for #WITMonth, 3 other translations or foreign language books, 4 review books and 2 library books. 7 books were by women, 5 by men. One thing is clear: I have had the privilege of reading some outstanding and memorable books this past month.

Women in Translation

Elena Varvello: Can You Hear Me? – coming of age, spooky atmosphere, spare prose style, participant in #EU27Project

Svetlana Alexievich: The Unwomanly Face of War – gripping, heartbreaking, unforgettable

Ileana Vulpescu: Arta compromisului – trying too hard, too polemical and cerebral

Other Translations

Pascal Garnier: Low Heights – one of his more attractive offerings, mordantly funny in parts

Dumitru Tsepeneag: Hotel Europa – ambitious, interesting concept, not quite right in execution

Fernando Pessoa: The Book of Disquiet – a book to brood over for the rest of my life, entry to the #EU27Project

Reviews or Features

Lin Anderson: Follow the Dead – mountain climbing, blizzards and North Sea Oil – very atmospheric

Chris Whitaker: All the Wicked Girls – judicious combination of laughter, tension and tears set in small-town Alabama

Attica Locke: Bluebird Bluebird – more personal less political, but simmering with racial tension, review to come on Crime Fiction Lover

Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle – disturbing classic to be featured on Crime Fiction Lover

Library Books

Winifred Watson: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – joyful and elegant like a Fred Astaire dance

Mohsin Hamid: Exit West – great premise but a bit disappointing in execution



13 thoughts on “The Last of the Holiday Reading – August 2017”

  1. Yet again I’m reminded that I should get around to reading Shirley Jackson’s work. We have a very different attitude to the change of seasons. Probably because he’s an academic, my partner sees it as a fresh new start whereas I think of grey days and rain with a degree of dread.

  2. You’ve had some really interesting-sounding reads, Marina Sofia! I’ll have to check out your review of the Shirley Jackson when it goes up. And the Locke and Garnier both sound great. It’s funny that they’re so different in style and so on, yet I like them both quite a lot.

  3. Interesting and ambitious list. I’ve decided Exit West will be one Booker nominee I skip. I read and admired The Reluctant Fundamentalist, but I’m just not quite ready for another go-round yet.

  4. I really need to try Pascal Garnier, he’s been sitting in my Amazon wishlist forever, haha! I had to write in Japanese again a little and oh my, it reminded me of when I was reading novels in the language, headaches!!!
    Have a great September!

  5. Is that a new Pascal Garnier by any chance? I’ve taken a break from him over the past year or so, but there’s always the chance that I’ll be tempted to go back at some point. Funnily enough, I’m just about read the Shirley Jackson – it’s right at the top of my TBR pile…

    1. Yes, that’s the most recent and uncharacteristically cheerful to start off with. I’m doing a bit of a Shirley Jackson immersion, as I have the first volume of her collected works.

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