Monday, March 14, 2016

March (first half) 2016 Reads

Started March with a trip to the library to return a batch (10) of books and pick up four waiting holds. Checked out the four plus three from browsing. Actually returned more than I checked out. 

Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy ; Hotta, Eri
An examination Japanese history, politics, and foreign policy in the year leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It helped clarify a confusing period of history.
Library book.

The Yid ; Goldberg, Paul
Promos for this compared it to Catch-22 and it was a little like that, but I also thought of  The Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov (translated by Konstantin Gurevich and Helen Anderson). And the disposal of the bodies reminded me of the 1955 movie The Lady Killers. Whatever it reminds one of, it's a great book all by itself. Library book.

Zoli ; McCann, Colum
Gypsy life in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s through the 1950s. An agonizing escape to the West. Told from several points of view.  I just read McCann's Dancer, which I liked very much. I also liked his TransAtlantic and Thirteen Ways of Looking so I decided to read something else by this author. I was not disappointed. The title character in this novel is "loosely inspired by Papusza" a polish poet (1910-1987) so I decided to explore that more: see Online Reading below. Library book.

The Heart ; Kerangal, Maylis de;  Sam Taylor (Translation)
This amazing novel follows a multiple organ transplant procedure including the ethical considerations, medical decisions, bureaucratic necessities, and emotional impact on all concerned. The technical aspects never overwhelm the human nature of what is happening.
(note: this the American translation; the UK/Canadian translation by Jessica Moore is titled Mend the Living and is on the 2016 Man Booker International Prize longlist. French title: RĂ©parer les vivants)

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding ; Copleton, Jackie
Survivors of Nagasaki seek redemption and recognition many years after the tragedy. Worth reading. Library book.

Heat and Light ; Neerven, Ellen Van
I chose this because of the reviews linked on the 2015 Wrap Up: Diversity of the Australian Women Writers Challenge. I had to order this from Book Depository since it was not available at local libraries. It as worth the effort and price. I want to read more from this resource and/or 20 reasons you should read Blak  ("Blak" is not a typo).

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams ; Thomas, Louisa
Excellent biography of the wife of John Q. Adams. I enjoyed it in spite of the dreaded Adobe Digital Edition. Free from Penguin's First to Read program. 

And After Many Days ; Ile, Jowhor
Family life and politics in Nigeria. So-so read. Library book.

Ways to Disappear ; Novey, Idra
Uh, why did this get so many raves? A Brazilian novelist goes missing, her American translator goes to Brazil to search for her, stuff happens. I thought of the movie Romancing the Stone though I doubt that's what the author intended. Library book.

The Dance of the Seagull (Inspector Montalbano, #15) ; Camilleri, Andrea; Stephen Sartarelli (Translation)
Maybe I've read to many of these, or maybe this really isn't as good as the others I have read in the series. It seemed a bit tedious. My copy

Online Reading:

The Last Taco Truck in Silicon Valley by Michelle Richmond 
This is one of the first offerings from Technically Literate, CNET's (yes, CNET) new fiction "with a tech twist" site featuring Bay Area authors (and others). This story is fun with some animated illustrations. Looking forward to following this venture.

Some information on Polish poet Papusza (including some poetry in English translation) from - an interesting website to explore (operated by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute).

The next two are from Short Fiction, a print and online journal short stories from around the world. The online edition is free and has one or two short stories a month. Great illustrations. Archived.
Blue Limitless Emptiness by Lania Knight
Spare Room Ethics by Helen Oyeyemi (just picked up Oyeyemi's new story collection at the library today and am liking it.)

Tom Vowler on the Short Story, a guest post on The Literary Sofa Vowler is a novelist, short story writer, and editor of the literary journal Short Fiction (see entry above). I had already pledged to support his new short story collection on Unbound when I came across this post.

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