Weekly Summary – Just Bookish This Time!

No events this past week – well, no cultural ones at any rate. Can you tell that the boys are back from their holidays? So our ‘trips’ have been more along the lines of dentist, haircut and swimming pool. We attempted to go see The Incredibles 2 but I got the time and date wrong (embarrassing, I know). We’ll attempt it again later on today.

On the upside, other than being reunited with my little ones (who now tower above me – and I am not short!), quite a few books have been incoming this week. Let’s start with the one that got delivered today, on a Sunday, by a courier, which made it feel very special. Infernus: The Power of the Goddess by Jo Hogan. And indeed it is! I’ve known Jo for a while now via Twitter. She has been a source of inspiration for me, for her perseverance with writing and creating a happy family life in the most difficult of circumstances. Her debut novel was turned down by British publishers, because apparently it is too much of a mixed genre. A German publishing house Oetinger was so enthusiastic about it, however, that they had it translated and it has just come out, so I had to pre-order it. I’ll tell you all about it soon – and maybe some day it might be published in the original language too.

Jo describes it as bonkers, but I think it sounds rather intriguing (and I’m sure it’s better written than Dan Brown). Here is my translation of the blurb from German:

Maria’s mother went mad and killed herself. That was what Maria was certain of, as she was growing up. Suddenly her father is found dead as well, after touching a legendary amulet. Just the cruel hand of fate, or is there something more behind that? Maria herself starts having increasingly frequent nightmares about a Hand of Evil trying to grab her. She starts looking for answers in mysterious and mystical corners of the world…

I told you last week that I had finally succumbed to peer pressure (thank you Melissa and Tony!) and decided to make another attempt at reading The Brothers Karamazov. So I got myself a different translation by Ignat Avsey, dating from 1994. As I was ordering this off Abe Books, however, I came across some other Russian books and just couldn’t resist.

Olesha’s Envy is a small miracle: a slapstick satire of the model Soviet citizen published in one of the most difficult periods of the Soviet empire (late 1920s). Olga Grushin’s novel is about the end of the Soviet empire, everyday life in Russia during that massive period of change in the mid 1980s-1990s. (Perfect for #WITMonth, I may try to squeeze it in.) And Victor Pelevin’s Omon Ra achieves the rare feat of being historical, satirical and science fiction all rolled into one (it was published in 1992 in Russia, when it was acceptable to be critical of the Soviet space programme).

Who can resist a book sale? When I heard that Fitzcarraldo are having a fourth anniversary sale with 20% off everything, I bought myself two of their books I’ve been salivating over (not literally, obviously) for a long time. Svetlana Alexievich brings a collage of voices talking about the collapse of the Soviet Union, so will tie in neatly with Grushin’s fictional voice. Meanwhile, Esther Kinsky uses her solitary walks along the River Lea to meditate about the past, nature, transience, migration and life in general.

The last two books I got were also as a result of spending far too much time on Twitter and on reading other blogs. Madeleine Bourdouxhe’s La Femme de Gilles has been reviewed by quite a few of you, and I always thought I would like a stab at it, but not in English. The final book is to fill a massive gap in my literary geography: I have read next to nothing by Korean women writers, yet I’ve heard they are currently producing some of the most interesting work in the Far East.

Now all I need to do is figure out a way in which to sit at home and read all day, while still having an income stream and happy, well-adjusted children…

14 thoughts on “Weekly Summary – Just Bookish This Time!”

  1. hello MarinaSofia,
    I’d just finished penning a prospective email to JO HOGAN re: Infernus: The Power of the Goddess – after reading your comment – when I realised that there is no contact address on her JO HOGAN WRITES website. Shall I sent it to you (in private) so that you can send it on to her ? Cordialement
    Jean-Paul

    1. C’est très gentil, Marina !! Would this be too long as a Twitter message ? Do shorten it if necessary

      On Marina Sofia’s blog, I’ve just read about Infernus. When will the English version be available and do you plan to have it translated into French ? Jean-Paul

      1. Don’t have a Twitter handle for you, so here is Jo’s answer: I am afraid that is in the hands of publishers. Until I get a UK or French deal it will only be in German. But thank you for your interest and support.

        1. Merci beaucoup Marina! As I dont’ “do” Twitter or any of the social media, I can’t correspond with her. She will only get a French deal if her book is brought to the attention of a French publisher who would also want to be presented with a sample translation of a substantial excerpt from the novel. I would willingly have a go but would not translate from German, only from English. If she’s interested, could you let her have my email address?

  2. Ah, yes, time to get everyone ready for the new term. I remember those years, Marina Sofia. I hope you and your sons will enjoy The Incredibles 2 when you get to it. Your new book haul looks lovely, as ever. I’m always impressed with the variety of what you read.

  3. Well, reading all day is my wish. Haven’t been able to do it lately. To much to do and too much news on TV to miss here. It’s like a detective story every day.
    Doesn’t your job give you vacation time? There are weekends, and your children could be reading great books at the same time or watching movies.

    1. I do have quite a lot of vacation time, but wasn’t able to take much of it this summer because there was so much work to do at the office. I’m just taking a day here and there (today, for instance, I will be off, going to see Les Miserables in London with the boys and also taking them on a walking tour of a hidden part of London). MY big 2 week holiday will be in October, when things quieten down.

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