Early Wrap-Up for November 2021

I should in theory wait until tomorrow or the 1st of December to write my monthly summary, but I have other plans for this week, so will wrap up a little earlier. It has felt like a very long month, with the exception of my 4-5 days in Yorkshire, which simply flew by. With the exception of those few days of real holiday, my first in two years, I have been mostly ill (in fact, I had a headache for two of my days in Yorkshire too). I don’t know if my tussle with Covid in October left my body drained and my immune system struggling, but I seem to have caught every single one of the bugs from school and university, with at most a day or two of feeling fine in-between.

So, for anyone wondering where I got all my energy from – wonder no more, for my batteries have well and truly gone this month! I have just about managed to keep the day job going, spent most of my weekends in bed, and have resigned myself that I will be missing out on various projects I wanted to be involved in that have a 30th November deadline.

The only event I was able to attend (on one of the few days when I felt fine) was the Corylus event at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London on the 16th of November, where I got to speak together with the two Bogdans that I’ve been translating: Bogdan Teodorescu and Bogdan Hrib in a debate about BalkanNoir: Is Romania the Wild Wild East of Crime Fiction. The discussion was recorded and I hope we can share the link with you very soon.

Enforced bed rest and a wet mush of a brain might not be conducive to writing or translating, but it worked fine for reading, although admittedly some books were chosed for ease of reading – rather like porridge with honey to soothe a sore throat. I read no less than 18 books, helped by the fact that many of them were novellas. I have even reviewed quite a few of them.

My German Literature Month reads were all novellas, with one exception, so I managed to participate in #NovNov as well.

#GermanLitMonth and #NovNov Reads:

#GermanLitMonth that was not a novella (as you can see, I was scrupulously fair, had two Austrians, two Germans and two Swiss writers)

The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, transl. Philip Boehm

Additional #NovNov Reads:

Escapist Reads:

  • Dan Rhodes: Sour Grapes
  • Mary Elizabeth Braddon: The Doctor’s Wife
  • Brian Moore: The Doctor’s Wife (a review comparing the two of them coming soon)
  • Catherine Fox: Angels and Men
  • ECR Lorac: These Names Make Clues
  • Abir Mukherjee: A Necessary Evil
  • Bella Ellis: The Vanished Bride – all the four above were reviewed in a vlog
  • Alan Johnson: The Late Train to Gipsy Hill – imagine a fun spy novel, more goofy than seriously chilling, despite the rather serious subject matter
  • Christine Mangan: Palace of the Drowned – which did not live up to the blurb and premise – Venice in winter, an author suffering from writers’ block and waning popularity, a creepy old palazzo, an over-eager young fan. Let’s just say that it was verbose rather than truly atmospheric, neither Death in Venice nor The Talented Mr Ripley.
  • Margaret Kennedy: The Feast – review to come, hopefully

Surprisingly, only a third of the books I read this month were foreign language books – all of them German. Ten of the eighteen were by women writers and five were in the crime genre (a very low percentage by my standards).

Reading plans for December will be all about snow and frozen climes: Russians and Scandinavians will have pride of place, so that I can snuggle indoors under many blankets while the blizzard rages outside.

19 thoughts on “Early Wrap-Up for November 2021”

  1. It’s incredible how much you have read and reviewed while feeling poorly and working. You are a trouper! Hope your health gradually improves to how you used to be. Stay safe.

    1. Oh, thank you, Hemmie! I think the shortness of the books helped… and no housework! To the point where yesterday my son was moaning about the mess, which never troubled him before. (He did help to vacuum and clean the kitchen after moaning.)

  2. I hope you’ll soon be feeling better, and that December will find you able to really enjoy reading, events, your sons, and the holidays. With all my very best wishes, Jenny

    1. Taking it one step at a time, but it’s not easy giving up on some ideas or projects or submission opportunities which might not come round again for another year…

      1. I can understand that and yet you must be so run down by now. Your recovery might be that which most cannot wait. BTW, Alison has just spent 2.5 weeks in hospital but returns home today. More in that separately.

  3. You’ve achieved a lot, despite an allegedly mushy brain. I’ve been identifying quite a few of your choices as TBRs. Thanks – and get fully healthy soon.

    1. I’m glad I was able to tempt you. And thank you for your good wishes! I try NOT to tell myself that I might be getting to the age where my energy levels are just naturally lower…

  4. You have done a phenomenal job reading and reviewing, considering the sort of month you had health-wise. I hope you start to get your energy back, and that you’ll feel more like yourself soon!

  5. congratulations on all you’ve read, it’s horrible when you’re not feeling well. I hope you start to feel better soon and I love the sound of icy reads under cosy blankets!

  6. So much reading, well done. Happy to see you’ve been reading The Feast by Margaret Kennedy, I think it’s a great read. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  7. That’s a terrific month of reading, especially bearing in mind that you’re still feeling the after-effects of COVID! I do hope you feel better soon, Marina. X

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