September Really Was the Start of New Things

When I wrote the August reading summary post, little did I know that September was going to be a month of such considerable changes in my life and reading. It is still early days to fully assess the impact of these changes upon my reading and writing life, but it is clear that my blogging and tweeting will have to take more of a back seat for the time being.

Personal changes

The first major change was that I finally got a full-time job with my professional HR hat, and a much more interesting one than I had dared hope for in this era where immigration law and payroll specialists reign supreme. The job is in Central London, so that adds a couple of hours to my working day. I hope to learn to use my commuting time and lunch hour productively, but it’s still work in progress.

The second piece of extraordinarily good news is that I have been accepted to work as a Marketing Manager for the ambitious and lively international literary journal Asymptote. Since embarking upon my online literary life in 2012, I had always admired the work it does in the field of translations and bringing the world closer together via literature and the arts, but I hadn’t dared to hope that some day I might be involved with it myself. If you haven’t heard of it and if you have any interest in world literature, I would strongly encourage you to take a look. [Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I, now that it’s part of my job!] It includes fiction, poetry, non-fiction, essays, critical reviews, drama and visual arts. It will be challenging to dedicate a few hours each week to this on top of my job, but it will make up for my disappointment in not being able to find a job in publishing. My sanity saver, in a way.

Please remind me I said this when I start complaining I’m going insane with all the work I have to do!

Reading summary

The number of books is not that high but somewhat misleading. I only wrote down one Margaret Millar novel Beast in View, when in actual fact I reread about 5 of them so I could decide which to include in my reassessment of her work for the Crime Fiction Lover’s Classics in September feature.

Other than spending time in the company of the queen of domestic tensions and noir moods, I also read other mostly equally ‘cheerful’ books set in Sardinia, the English countryside, the Bordeaux wine regions, Colombia and Madrid, Bristol, Finland and Australia. A nearly perfect balance this month: 9 books in total, 4 women writers, 5 men, 5 translated.

Margaret Millar: 2 volumes of her complete works in the Syndicate books new edition.

Grazia Deledda: After the Divorce, transl. Susan Ashe – to be reviewed for #EU27Project, even if she was ages before the EU

Laura Kaye: English Animals

Santiago Gamboa: Return to the Dark Valley

Helen Dunmore: Birdcage Walk

Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen: Requiem in Yquem (Winemaker Detective), transl. Sally Pane

Antti Tuomainen: The Man Who Died, transl. David Hackston – review to come on Crime Fiction Lover, noir slapstick with a poignant undercurrent, also to review for #EU27Project

Richard Flanagan: First Person – review to come on Crime Fiction Lover, although this is not a crime fiction novel by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a haunting psychological cat and mouse game

Eshkol Nevo: Three Floors Up, transl. Sondra Silverston – life in a contemporary Tel Aviv apartment block, to be reviewed for Necessary Fiction

Gratuitous October picture from last year in Geneva

As for my Goodreads challenge to read 120 books this year (I deliberately set it lower than usual, knowing that I would be busy with job hunting and possibly work), I have now read 110 of 120, so am on track to complete it possibly this coming month.

Hello, October, welcome – I look forward to all the challenges you might bring!


23 thoughts on “September Really Was the Start of New Things”

    1. I will no doubt be writing quite a bit about it and my work there. As usual, I take too much on, but that’s how you learn and end up doing the things you really enjoy.

  1. Congratulations! Such exciting news. Asymptote is a great journal. I have been involved with a journal called The Scofield Magazine (we publish a 300 page PDF twice a year built around a writer and a theme drawn from their work). The copy edit is grueling, but good experience. However, I especially enjoy having the opportunity to edit a number of longer creative essays for each issue. I often get to work with published authors and, since we’re all volunteering our time and talent, the energy is positive.

    1. Thank you, it is indeed a great journal. I’ll check out your magazine too. You are right, it is hard work, but you get to work with some very interesting people and try out some great new initiatives and ideas.

  2. Yay!!! Congrats!! This post makes me SO happy, MarinaSofia. So many things have changed – for good!- since we met last June. Congrats on both jobs, and please keep us posted on learning to use lunch and commute time better – it’d make a great post.

    As for your Goodread challenge, I’m speechless. Good job!

  3. Oh, such wonderful news, Marina Sofia! I am so happy for you! Yes, it’s an incredible amount of work, and I don’t envy you that at all. Or the commute. But still, exciting times for you, that’s for certain.

  4. Oh well, well DONE MarinaSofia. Like the rest, I am so happy to read your news. Isn’t it funny, how much we can get to like, and root for, people we just know ‘in virtual’ it reminds me that, despite all the horrible ways ‘internetconnectedness’ gets used, that it is also a powerful force for validating our desire to make supportive links with each other.

    Dancing a happy dance for you. Okay, if I have to be more prosaic, typing a happy tyle.

    Re books – deep mid First Person, and, wonderful. Will make sure to read your review when I have finished and written mine. And….I shall check out Asymptote

  5. Many congratulations Marina Sofia! I’m so happy to hear such good news, I wish you well in both your new jobs and I will definitely be checking out Asymptote 😉

  6. Wow congratulations Marina all that is such good news. Really hope you enjoy your new job and are able to successfully fit in your work for Asymptote too. I have a large volume of Margaret Miller sitting here tbr.

  7. Wow double congratulations and I hope you get 2 hours of reading time on your daily commute! I love that you’ve attracted both these things into your new life, very inspiring and sure to be rewarding.

  8. Great to hear all your good news! So glad your main job is working out well – working takes up so much time that it’s only bearable if it’s enjoyable. Have fun!

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