Plans for August Reading: #WIT and #20BooksofSummer

August is obviously Women in Translation Month, and I’ve been taking part since 2014, which I believe is the year it was initiated by that indefatigable supporter of women writers from all parts of the world, Meytal Radzinski. Last year I had a bit of a Brazilian theme going on; this year, it’s going to be more of a free for all. I cheated a little by starting my reading in July, to comply with Stu’s initiative of #SpanishLitMonth. So I have reviews for Lina Meruane, Margarita Garcia Robayo and Liliana Colanzi. I am still planning to read Ariana Harwicz’s Feebleminded, but I also have a very tempting stack of books by women writers from other countries.

I’ve recently finished Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead and also am nearing the end of Marlen Haushofer’s The Wall. There are definite similarities between the two books (middle aged woman living alone, loving animals, philosophising about the world), aside from the fact that I really enjoyed both of them. But I still have to write the reviews. They will also constitute Books 18 and 19 of my #20BooksofSummer challenge.

I have one more book remaining then for the 20 books challenge, and I think it will be Teffi’s Subtly Worded, which has been sitting on my shelf for far too long. After that, I am free to roam wildly, so I may add Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs to the mix, although she wasn’t on my original list of possible summer reads. Then again, I recently bought a couple of Yuko Tsushima books, so I may choose those instead (or additionally). I’ll also dip into Tove Jansson’s letters, but I suspect that, like Virginia Woolf’s diaries, it will be the kind of book that I want to read every day over a long period of time, in small gulps, and ponder over the creative life and what might apply to me.

I’ve also borrowed quite a few books from the library, so will prioritise those, even if they don’t fall into the WIT category.

Polly Sansom’s A Theatre for Dreamers will transport me to the Greek islands, which are very precious to me, although a bit less accessible to me during and after my divorce. The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet and Come Again by Robert Webb look like light-hearted, fun holiday reads. And of course I will continue with my exploration of Sarah Waters: The Little Stranger and The Paying Guests are beckoning, each in their own creepy way. I have also bought the most recent Susie Steiner, which I’ve been awaiting with impatience, so I doubt I’ll be able to resist that one for too long!

If you are looking for inspiration for Women in Translation Month, here are some of my favourites from the past few years, all of them good fun, not too dark:

(This last one is coming out in translation in September via V&Q Books.)

17 thoughts on “Plans for August Reading: #WIT and #20BooksofSummer”

  1. That’s a very appealing pile of books! Glad you liked the Tokarczuk, and the Teffi is fab. I’m very partial to Feinstein’s translations of Tevetaeva, too, so I hope you get to that one. Happy reading!

    1. Yes, a little Tsvetaeva never comes amiss, and I really do like her translations of the great poet (needless to say, I have multiple different translations).

  2. Another really good post, thanks! Loved this line BTW, “Polly Sansom’s A Theatre for Dreamers will transport me to the Greek islands, which are very precious to me, although a bit less accessible to me during and after my divorce.” I’m glad you liked the collected Lispector stories. I’ve read two of her novels, the first and last. Challenging and intriguing.

    1. To be honest, the Greek islands were never all that accessible to me, since most of our holidays in Greece involved spending time with the in-laws/grandparents. But it’s the principle of it that counts…

  3. I’ll be following along with your reviews, Marina Sofia. You’ve got some great choices for writers here, and if I’m being honest, I haven’t read enough women in translation lately. Time to rectify that. I just wish each day had 50 hours, so I could catch up with all the ‘I want to read….’ books.

  4. It is so wonderful that you read Marlen Haushofer’s ‘The Wall’, Marina! It is one of my alltime favourite books! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it. That Tove Jansson’s book looks so chunky and wonderful! I have never seen such a thick Tove Jansson book. Happy Women in Translation Month! Happy reading!

  5. Wait… in the picture there’s a book by or about Elena Ceausescu. You do know that she was married to their dictator Nicolai Ceausescu, right? The country hated her even more than they hated him. I wouldn’t read anything she wrote, or even a book about her. Disgusting, horrible, woman. She made Marie Antoinette and Imelda Marcos look like sweethearts!

    1. I am Romanian and have more reason to hate Elena Ceausescu than anyone else. She really was even worse than her husband. However, this book was sent to me as a gift by a former English teacher of mine who also happened to be the official interpreter for Elena C. for a number of years. I am curious to see what she writes about that period (I believe the book was published 10 years ago or so).

      1. Okay… I didn’t know. From 1988 through 2016 my job was to work with the Jewish community of Romania, so I know a bit about her myself. Since you know it better than I, I’m not worried that you’ll believe lies told about her!

        1. No danger of that! Interestingly, my mother’s dentist also happened to Elena Ceausescu’s dentist. Not that my mother was so political or influential – she simply happened to travel on the train with this lady dentist and they became friends. She was terrified to ever talk about her notorious client and would have to drop everything at short notice if Madame had a toothache.

  6. Glad to know that you liked The Wall. It has been one of the highlights of my reading so far this year. I am currently about 50 pages into Drive Your Plow and really enjoying it.

  7. I’d love to join in with #WIT but my reading schedule is booked up with shadow judging reads. I’m going to try and sneak at least one in.

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