Saturday, September 16, 2017

September (third week) 2017 Reads

Another week of eclectic reading...

“Deal Me In 2017!”
Story:   In Our Forties by Kojima Nobuo (in Long Belts and Thin Men)

Card: 6 of Spades
I picked this card by C.J. Freeman because it shows a ruin--which is pretty much what the protagonist of the story ended up with.

Information about the card and the deck it comes from can be found on Bonnie Cehovet's Tarot site in her Review – Playing Card Oracles

from my shelves...

Long Belts and Thin Men: The Postwar Stories of Kojima Nobuo by

contents: The rifle -- The American school -- The smile -- Voices -- The black flame -- Buffoon in an alien land* -- The house of the hooligans*-- A certain day*-- In our forties.
*set in USA 

The Gurugu Pledge by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel; translated from the Spanish by Jethro Soutar

A tale of people from all over Africa living in a camp in northern Morocco hoping to get to Europe. Told with warmth and compassion, this is an excellent read. 

The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy
Not high literature, but an oddly compelling read. It was fun to ride along with Finn Murphy and see how he grew and developed a professional attitude toward his craft. His stories about his colleagues and customers reveal a world most of us only see from one side. I've moved over twenty times (about two thirds of those using professional movers) and I really appreciate guys like Finn.
Advance review copy

Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance  by Bill McKibben
A rather simplistic story about a secessionist movement. Sorry, this just doesn't make it as a movement. It's a rather elitist view to think that drinking locally brewed beer, shopping at farmer's markets, and boycotting Walmart and Amazon in favor of local small business is going to make things better.
Advance review copy

from the library...

Miraculous Mysteries  by Martin Edwards (Editor)
Interesting anthology of classic British locked room mysteries.
Contents: The lost special / Arthur Conan Doyle -- The thing invisivble / William Hope Hodgson -- The case of the tragedies in the Greek room / Sax Rohmer -- The aluminum dagger / R. Austin Freeman -- The miracle of moon crescent / G.K. Chesterton -- The invisible weapon / Nicholas Olde -- The diary of death / Marten Cumberland -- The broadcast murder / Grenville Robbins -- The music-room / Sapper -- Death at 8:30 / Christopher St. John Sprigg -- Too clever by half / G.D.H. and Margaret Cole -- Locked in / E. Charles Vivian -- The haunted policeman / Dorothy L. Sayers -- The sands of thyme / Michael Innes -- Beware of the trains / Edmund Crispin -- The Villa Marie Celeste / Margery Allingham.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong (Kindle edition)
Very good story about a thirty-year old woman coping with her father's dementia.

I found these three because of  references in  Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller (p 202) Búkolla the Magic Cow by  Nanna Árnadóttir, The Loa is here! [Lóa, but I'm not sure this is what was being referenced] and Kjölur highland route interior F35 in Iceland (Gullfoss to Varmahlíð - Blönduós)
And this because of p 204 Bladderwrack and from p. 211 Informational plaque about Jón Eiríksson

elsewhere online...
The Fortean Limes  a short story by Yoss: translated by Lawrence Schimel.

Top 10 contemporary short stories 
 "Ahead of 2017’s National short story prize, Jon McGregor reluctantly chooses ‘swoony’ work from recent years...."  Of course the Guardian asked the impossible of McGregor and everyone faced with the task would chose a different set of stories. But these all look good and there are links to where they can be read online.

Spotlight: Renzo Piano by Rory Stott
A look at the works of the Italian architect. Includes an interview.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

September (second week) 2017 Reads

“Deal Me In 2017!”
Story: The Fair Imperia from Balzac's Contes drolatiques. Droll stories collected from the Abbeys of Touraine. Translated into English, complete and unabridged. Illustrated with designs by Gustave Dorʹe. [no translator credit given]
A delightful farce involving an innocent young priest, a courtesan, a bishop, and a cardinal. Churchmen behaving badly.

Card: Jack of Diamonds
The Jack is a fit for the story since the young priest becomes a knave.
However, this particular card has little to do with the story which takes place in Germany (they are at the Council at Constance). The card is from a Russian deck which I purchased in the USSR in 1979.

I didn't read much this week. Well, I did read quite a bit but I only finished one book. I continued with an especially difficult part in the Two Month reading of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller
and I have a stack of other things "in progress."

from my shelves... 

Two or Three Years Later: Forty-Nine Digressions by Ror Wolf, translated from the German by Jennifer Marquart
Many of these very short stories (or "reports") concern observations of men who appear here or there or maybe somewhere else. Nothing much happens, but when there is action it is fabulous with improbable rescues at sea, a trek across Africa (but the narrator doesn't remember whether it was from East to West, or West to East) and exploding things. Goofy, surreal, whatever--I loved it.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

September (first week) 2017 Reads

There are more August days than September ones this week but I'll call it September since it posts on the 2nd.

“Deal Me In 2017!”
Story:   Prah by György Spiró (short play); translated from the Hungarian by Szilvia Naray-Davey
A man comes home early from work--not because he is ill, not laid off, not fired, but because....he is a lucky guy. You might say "on Cloud Nine."

Card: 9 of Clubs by Lisbon artist António Segurado
This work is titled I Am on Cloud Nine
The source page has detailed images of the card and a somewhat poetic explanation of the project.

from the library...

The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk, translated from the Estonian by Christopher Moseley
I really liked this fantasy/allegory with its combination of reality and flights of fantasy.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (kindle edition)
Novel of a family of 5 fictional siblings who were victims of the  Tennessee Children's Home Society scandal 

It is one of those intertwined stories where we see things from the point of view of a granddaughter of one of the children and from the memories of two of the children now in nursing homes. The story of the children is chilling. The contemporary story of the granddaughter is weak and chick-litish.

 from my shelves... 

My Heart Hemmed In by Marie NDiaye; translated from the French byJordan Stump (Translation)
Absolute perfect allegorical novel about a woman who, along with her husband, is a "perfect" teacher. But everything goes wrong for these two and they begin to lose their lofty opinions of themselves and begin to see themselves as others see them.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Bout of Books 20 Final Report

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 20

 I'm declaring it a successful Bout of Books. Even though I had a slow start and one day of online only reading, I read about 1500 pages, and did a couple of challenges.

What I read on a very quiet stay-at-home Sunday:

The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk, translated from the Estonian by Christopher Moseley
315 pages (127-442) Finished. It was a good fantasy allegory. Library book. 

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
207 pages (59% on Kindle) started this digital Library loan. 


Monday:         80 pages
Tuesday:       116 pages
Wednesday:  156ish pages
Thursday:      257 pages
Friday:             58ish pages
Saturday:         305 pages
Subday:           522 pages

Total:           1,494 pages (plus or minus given that I estimated the online stuff)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bout Update (6)

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 20

Nice and quiet Saturday
Saturday Challenge: "Who's the character you LOVE to HATE? For today's challenge, share with us one (or more!) of the characters you love to hate."

When you read a lot of noir stories--as I do--you kind of love to hate most of the characters. Otherwise the stories wouldn't be noir. Like Mrs Danvers (in Rebecca) and Amy in (Gone Girl), the dark characters are what make the stories work.

Montana Noir by James Grady & Keir Graff, editors
179 pages(98-277) Finished
(I liked all of the stories in this anthology but some more than others. I've highlighted my favorites from today. Of the three I read on Thursday,

  Fireweed / Janet Skesien Charles
  Dark monument / Sidner Larson
  All the damn stars in the sky / Yvonne Seng
  The road you take / James Grady
  The dive / Jamie Ford
  Bad blood / Carrie La Seur
  Oasis / Walter Kirn
  Motherlode / Thomas McGuane
  Trailer trash / Gwen Florio
  Custer's last stand / Debra Magpie Earling
  Red skies of Montana / Keir Graff

The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk, translated from the Estonian by Christopher Moseley
126 pages (12-137) Wasn't sure I wanted to stay with this but I'm 1/3 through so I guess it's a go.

Monday:         80 pages
Tuesday:       116 pages
Wednesday:  156ish pages
Thursday:      257 pages
Friday:             58ish pages
Sturday:         305 pages