Saturday, May 31, 2014

Used Book Buys May 2014

The Journey; Osaragi, Jirō (translator Ivan Morris)
Day In Day Out; Mora, Terézia (translator Michael Henry Heim)
My Brilliant Friend; Ferrante, Elena (translatorAnn Goldstein)
Dreaming in Cuban; García, Cristina
New Islands And Other Stories; Bombal, María Luisa (translators Richard and Lucia Cunningham
The Reader; Schlink, Bernhard (translator Carol Brown Janeway )
The Vintage Book of Latin American Stories; Ortega, Julio; Carlos Fuentes editors
Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln; Glückel ( translated with notes by Marvin Lowenthal)
Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839;
    Kemble, Frances Anne
In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1); French, Tana   
The Collini Case; Schirach, Ferdinand von (translator Anthea Bell)
The Crazed; Jin, Ha
Bodega Dreams; Quiñonez, Ernesto
In the Name of Salome; Álvarez, Julia
Tales of Faraway Places; Carlson, Melody   
East of the Mountains; Guterson, David

Where I Bought Them; What They Are
  The first two I purchased at  The Book Bower. Actually I went into town to renew my library card know.  The first is set during the post WW2 American occupation of Japan. Something to read for The Japanese Lit Challenge. The second is a little difficult. Refugees in Europe, but I'm not sure about the time period. Author seems to be Hungarian, writing in German.

 The rest are from the Friends of the Durham, Connecticut public library book sale. I went to the library to pick up a hold. The was a sign in the hall about the book sale close out "Bag of books $5." I had skipped the start of the book sale a week earlier. I didn't really think much would be left, but, heck, $5 and the bags were large grocery bags sooo...
 Ferrante is an author I've been meaning to try, Ha Jin and Julia Alverez are two authors I like but I haven't read either of these books.
 Some mysteries, a memoir, lots of translations, various locales (even the USA!), I'm going to like most of this. 
 There are three short story collections here, the two Latin American ones are sure things for me. the other one? It has it's own story...
 There was a gentleman browsing near me. We chatted a bit about our reading and our "finds." He pulled up Tales of Faraway Places and said it was short stories and I'd probably like it. Something about the way he said it made me think he may have been the person who donated it. So I put it in my bag. I really don't know if I want it but I wasn't going to fill up the bag anyway, so why question his suggestion?
 When I was finished, the bag was half full or half empty? Humm, it was at half capacity.  I could have picked up some marginal stuff, but I left it for others. It's not like I've nothing to read.

May 2014 Reads

Some really good books in May. As usual I'm all over the map, both geographically and figuratively. A dozen plus countries and a variety of subject matter.  Fifteen books didn't make a dent in my TBR pile since most of these were library books.  AND, I purchased 19 books,  rec'd 15 ARC's and other freebies, and have a stack of 8 library books.

All books on my May list are from libraries unless otherwise noted.

The best of the bunch, all amazing, each in its own way:
A Curse on Dostoevsky; Rahimi, Atiq; Polly McLean (Translator)
  The story is harsh, but there is an almost mystical, dream-like quality to the narration.
The Blazing World; Hustvedt, Siri
  Art as a gender statement. Amazing tour de force.
All the Birds, Singing; Wyld, Evie
  It's Australian Lit month. This was on the Bailey's Women's Prize longlist, it didn't make the  shortlist. I'd put it there in place of either of the two shortlisted ones that I tried to read and rejected (The Goldfinch and The Lowland).
Talking to Ourselves; Neuman, Andrés; Nick Caistor (Translator), Lorenza García (Translator)
  A family story told  in three voices: father, mother, ten-year old son. 
Shotgun Lovesongs; Butler, Nickolas
  Seems like an updated The Big Chill stretched out over a longer time period. But better.
Mr. Loverman;  Evaristo,  Bernardine (advance review copy)
  There is empathy and humor in this delightful tale. You like this guy in spite of yourself.
Casebook; Simpson, Mona
  A boy, with help from his best friend, spies on his mother and her boy friend and finds out more than he wants to. He has to decide how to deal with what he knows.
All the Light We Cannot See; Doerr, Anthony
  The stories of a young radioman in the German army and a blind French girl are told in parallel until their paths cross in German occupied St. Malo on the French coast in the summer of 1944.

A little less than the best:
The Painter; Heller, Peter
  Good but I liked The Dog Stars better. Personal taste, just wasn't as interested in this subject.
The Steady Running of the Hour; Go, Justin 
  Fine until the less than satisfactory ending. In fact, he didn't end it, he just quit.


The Paris Architect; Belfoure, Charles
  Should have exciting and interesting, but it fell flat on both counts.

Short Stories
The Cost of Lunch, Etc.: Short Stories; Piercy, Marge
  A good collection of stories written over several decades. Nice to look back on the 1960s and 70's

One excellent biography; one excellent memoir, both dealing with exile.  And a bio of a building.
The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World; Prochnik, George (advance review copy)
  A fantastic read!
The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis, #1-4); Satrapi, Marjane; translation of first part of Persepolis
Mattias Ripa (2003), translation of second part Persepolis 2 Blake Ferris (2004)
 A good use of the graphic format. 
House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address; Gross, Michael
  Not too bad, just a little more than I wanted to know about real estate development in New York City. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Round the World of Reading

May is Australia & New Zealand Literature Month 2014    

Not a challenge or contest, this is information, discussion and discovery.

June - Japan Lit Challenge
Information will be posted on June 1 at dolce bellezza  


July - Spanish Lit Month
 Two readalong books the first is Three trapped tiger by Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Richard's choice); second readalong book is News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Stu's choice).

Paris in July 
"It is a month long blogging event for anyone who loves anything about Paris and France. We blog about books, food, travel, film, fragrance, music, poetry, history, and almost anything else. It's like taking a virtual trip to Paris."

My World of Reading 2014 Map

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Lovin' the net

Trivia I wouldn't know if I hadn't forgotten which teams Roger Maris played on:

"The producers of It's My Turn cut out an erotic dancing scene from Bergstein's screenplay, which sparked her to go on and write a new script that would become the 1987 hit film Dirty Dancing."

Thursday, May 01, 2014

April 2014 Reads

Overall, April was a good reading month for me. Some really good stuff, some fun reads, and only a few disappointments. All were library books unless otherwise noted.

 These three are discussed in my post Something to Hide. (all 3 my copies)
Sworn Virgin by Dones, Elvira (trans. Clarissa Botsford)
The Combover by Bravi, Adrián N. (trans. Richard Dixon)
Happiness is Possible by Zaionchkovsky, Oleg  (trans. Andrew Bromfield)

 Next three excellent!
The Dog Stars by Heller, Peter
  Dystopian after the disaster, set in Colorado
In Paradise, Matthiessen, Peter
 Reflections on the Death Camps 
The Guest Cat by Hiraide, Takashi  (trans. Eric Selland)
 A gentle tale

Next two good, but not great. 
That Summer by Willig, Lauren (ARC from publisher)
 Chick-lit fluff set in London

Death of the Black-Haired Girl by Stone, Robert
  Mystery, academic setting

 I read these next five, in the order listed, for a 24 hour Read-a-thon. Liked them all. All  very different, which was what I needed for this. I should have read something else for final read, I don't feel I was alert enough to appreciate Mr D, Will re-read.
The Train to Warsaw by Edelman, Gwen
 WW2 ghetto survivors return to Warsaw after 40 years.
The Vacationers by Straub, Emma (ARC from publisher)
 Good treatment of an unfun family vacation on Mallorca.
This Dark Road to Mercy by Cash, Wiley
 Unfit father kidnaps his children from foster home, is pursued by bad guys, good guy dx-cop, & FBI.  Is better than the summary sounds. 
The Wives of Los Alamos by Nesbit, TaraShea
 Life in the compound where the research & testing of the A-bomb was done during
WW2. Told in multiple POV in the style of The Buddha in the Attic. Works well for me.  
Mr Darwin's Gardener by Carlson, Kristina (trans. Emily Jeremiah & Fleur Jeremiah) Must re-read this when I'm not falling asleep. (purchased)
  Didn't care much for these two:  
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Ferris, Joshua (ARC from publisher)
  Is it possible to be more boring than Karl Ove? Yes, but at least this was shorter. 
Textile by Castel-Bloom, Orly (trans. Dalya Bilu)

Short stories
  All of these were good 
The Heaven of Animals: Stories by Poissant, David James
 Stories, somewhat linked, ordinary people bear unbearable losses.
Soulstorm by Lispector, Clarice (trans. Alexis Levitin)
 I liked the first better than the last half.
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by Novak, B.J.
 Off beat, goofy at times. Fun to read

   Really, really liked the SF one.  Was disappointed by the two about Paris. Paris itself has never bored me, but the DeJean book did. I did not like Mazzeo's writing style.
The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Tarnoff, Ben
How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City by DeJean, Joan.
The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Mazzeo, Tilar J.