Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last Half of August 2014 Reads

During the second half of August, I finished the book of Korean stories mentioned in my previous post. A varied and interesting collection. Glad I own it and can go back to it. My other reading during these two weeks stayed pretty much in North America, unusual for me to not be more geographically diverse, but that's the way it goes sometime. Of the two Canadian ones; one is partly set in France and the other is partly set in England. And one of the US ones is partly set in Europe and Israel. I also posted a brief review of Drifting (see previous August post) on Goodreads and LibraryThing.

The first part of the list is pretty much in the order of how much I liked the books (best liked to least liked). The second part is online stuff that I liked.

Dissonance; Lenard-Cook, Lisa
 Free finished copy from the publisher as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  Sometimes a book just hits the spot for the reader. This is a story of suppressed memory, self discovery, forgiveness, and redemption. A piano teacher in New Mexico inherits the musical scores and diaries of a Holocaust survivor an begins a search to find out why these things were left to her.  Loved it. This was not the one I hoped to win in the LT July batch, but I think I liked it better than I would have liked the ones I didn't win. I got lucky with this. 

The Three; Lotz, Sarah
  Library book. This hops all over the globe. US, Japan, South Africa, & England. An excellent first novel.
Road Ends; Lawson, Mary
 Library book. Set in a small northern Ontario town and in London. All about family and independence.

We Were Liars; Lockhart, E.
 Library book.  Every year they came to the idyllic island (near Martha's Vineyard) but during the fifteenth summer everything went wrong. First love, family quarrels, secrets, and unbearable memories.

The Cartographer of No Man's Land; Duffy, P.S.
  Library book. Back and forth narrative between France and Nova Scotia during First World War.

The Fever; Abbott, Megan
  Won in Twitter giveaway (Cary Barbor @Bksandauthors).  High school girls with mysterious illness. Inspired by same news story as  Conversion by Katherine Howe (which I read in May). Both books are good and take slightly different angles. Abbott has a bit of a mystery (other than the illness) involved; Howe makes many references to the Salem witch trials.

The Girls From the Five Great Valleys; Savage, Elizabeth
 Free finished copy from the publisher as part of the Goodreads First Read program. Reprint of a 1977 coming of age (five girls) novel. Set in Montana. Brief review on Goodreads and LibraryThing.

Some online Goodies
 Old Italian Gardens; Lee, Vernon.
 A1912 essay reprinted in Berfrois an online literary magazine. (also at:  Lee, Vernon. “Old Italian gardens.” . Quotidiana. Ed. Patrick Madden. 15 Nov 2006. 27 Aug 2014.)  I would love to hear this read aloud by a really good reader.This makes a nice companion piece to another online resource I read in August:
Gardens of the Roman World; Bowe, Patrick
 A beautiful book offered free online by the Getty Virtual Library.

Infanticide; Yamamoto Yuzo; Translation and introduction by Zeljko Cipris. In The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 34, No. 3, August 25, 2014
  Online. Full text of a one act play about poverty in Japan. Originally published (as Eijigoroshi) in 1920. Illustrated with historical photographs. There is also a good background essay.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mid-August Comments

So far in August I've followed my usual trend to wander over the map: Vietnam, Korea, Haiti, Japan, and the USA.

I have read something for Women in Translation Month - The Stars, The Earth, The River: Short Stories by Le Minh Khue (translated by Bac Hoai Tran and Dana Sach). These stories, set mostly in the north of Vietnam during and just after the war, give an interesting look at the conflict and its aftermath from an author who participated for the North.

Back in February I purchased ten volumes in  The Library of Korean Literature from The Dalkey Archive. I finally started reading them with My Son's Girlfriend, a book of short stories by Jung Mi Kyung, (Yu Young-Nan,Translator) which is also for WIT month. I've read the first two stories and I'm liking it so far.

Not in translation, but from a woman, is Drifting by Katia D. Ulysse. This concerns Haitians both in Haiti and as immigrants in the USA. I received this from the publisher, Akashic Books, via a LibraryThing giveaway.  I'm starting to be very impressed with Akashic. They published two of my favorite recent reads: Mr. Loverman (also won through LibraryThing) and Bedrock Faith (from my local library). I want to try some from their Noir Series.

As I predicted in my last post, I did get the new Murakami from the library. I hesitate to say it meets the Japanese Lit Challenge because I read it in less than five hours and it was not particularly challenging. I kinda shrugged my shoulders when I was done. Ah well...

For something completely different, how about  After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman, a cold case mystery set in Baltimore. A good read set in a place I've actually been. (I don't count changing planes in Narita Airport as having been to Japan.)

Now...back to reading

Sunday, August 03, 2014

So begins August (with good intentions)

Women in Translation Month

July was a month of good reading even though I didn't meet some of my goals. I did read a book for the Japanese Lit Challenge 8, but I didn't read anything for Spanish Lit Month and my Paris in July books were all originally written in English.

So why am I setting myself for this? Can I really set and keep a goal to read in a specific area? And keep up with the Japanese Lit Challenge?

Biblibio has set this up to:
  1. Increase the dialogue and discussion about women writers in translation
  2. Read more books by women in translation
How can I not try to participate? I have the books in my TBR stack(s). Plus, I have two good library sources.

I've finished two books so far in August.  Neither is in translation, but both are by women and neither author is from the USA. Road Ends; Lawson, Mary (Canadian, the book is set in northern Ontario and London.) and The Three; Lotz, Sarah (lives in Cape Town, South Africa--I'm not sure where she was born. The book is set all over the world.) So August, so far, is at least international.

So, next up, I'll try to make things count by reading some translated works by women that include some from Spanish and French (set in Paris, if I find something).

So this is what's on my TBR shelf that qualifies. Lots of choice (including three anthologies). I think that's plenty to choose from. I was surprised to find thirteen languages in the individual volumes, with the anthologies giving another ten (possibly more, I haven't checked them all). And I haven't looked at what's on my Kindle.

How and when to start: I have two library books to finish (out of renewals on both), but that shouldn't take more than a few days and they can overlap. So I should start tonight, maybe with some short stories. Another problem is a stack of ARC's (none are women in translation--what does that say?)

Of course, if I get a notice from the library that my hold for the new Murakami has been filled. Sigh...I will have to drop everything and read it as there will be no renewals for it.

Time to stop writing and start continue reading.