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varamo-gwyn-copy

This blog has been sadly neglected of late, as a return to grad school and a sudden job offer in publishing necessitated two cross-country moves in 12 months. But I couldn’t miss out on posting for International Translation Day, even if just to post a list of some of my favourite translations in recent (and not so recent!) years. I’ll stick with perhaps some lesser known authors and mainly indie presses. There’s some linguistic variety here (Korean, Turkish, Norwegian, French, Italian, Czech, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Russian, Angolan Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish…), but I’m doing this without the benefit of having my bookshelf nearby (sadly it is 4,000 km to the left of me), so these are the off-the-top of-my-head, less-obvious picks (besides the usual faves Borges, Saramago, Gogol, Kafka… you know the drill), and I’m certainly forgetting some great reads. Feel free to comment and recommend some of your own faves to me, as I do love an infinite TBR list!

  1. Mr. Gwyn by Alessandro Baricco (McSweeney’s)
  2. No One Writes Back by Eun-Jin Jang (Dalkey Archive Press)
  3. The Man Who Walked Through Walls by Marcel Aymé (Pushkin Press)
  4. The General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa (Archipelago Books)
  5. The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto (Biblioasis)
  6. Collected Stories by Clarice Lispector (New Directions)
  7. Spilt Milk by Chico Buarque (Grove Press)
  8. The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am by Kjersti Skomsvold (Dalkey Archive Press)
  9. Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal (Harcourt)
  10. Varamo by César Aira (New Directions)
  11. The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Press)
  12. The Garden of the Departed Cats by Bilge Karasu (New Directions)
  13. The Goddess of Fireflies by Geneviève Petterson (Esplanade)
  14. Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret by Ondjaki (Biblioasis)
  15. Life Embitters by Josep Pla (Archipelago)
  16. The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux (Biblioasis)
  17. The Club of Angels by Luis Fernando Verissimo (New Directions)
  18. Eleven Prague Corpses by Kirill Kobrin (Dalkey Archive Press)
  19. Circus Bulgaria by Deyen Enev (Portobello)
  20. The Blue Fox by Sjon (FSG)
  21. The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz (Penguin Classics)
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2015 Wrap

This blog has been on an unexpected hiatus for most of the year due to some significant life changes, including leaving my job to return to school; moving my library (and myself) 1200 kilometres to the left; adapting to a new city; and struggling with being on the learning side of the lectern for the first time in a decade, surrounded by people 15 years my junior. The pace of this new program is such that I have no time for pleasure reading, but the few books that I have managed to squeeze in this year have included some great ones, and I want to share them with you.

My first read of 2015 is still my favourite read of the year: Barbara Comyns’ Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead. Dark, macabre, funny, and sad. A remarkable book. I also read Comyns’ The Vet’s Daughter, which I enjoyed, but which was much darker in tone.

Here are my top 10 reads of the year:

  1. Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead – Barbara Comyns (Dorothy Project)
  2. The Dig – Cynan Jones (Coffee House Press)
  3. H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald (Hamish Hamilton)
  4. Beatlebone – Kevin Barry (Doubleday)
  5. The General Theory of Oblivion – José Eduardo Agualusa (Archipelago Books)
  6. Uprooted – Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  7. The Story of My Teeth – Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Press)
  8. Beauty Secrets of the Martyrs – Verity Holloway (Invisible Milliner)
  9. The Beautiful Bureaucrat – Helen Phillips (Henry Holt)
  10. Life Embitters – Josep Pla (Archipelago Books)

I had grand plans to read many more (and bigger) books this year, but life got in the way of that, so here are a few of the books that I wasn’t able to get to that will be first on my list when things slow down (hopefully) in May. I’ve read enough of the opening chapters to know I’ll enjoy them, but couldn’t immerse myself in the act of reading the way I like to, what with my mad schedule, so they all had to be postponed so I can give them the reading they deserve:

  1. Delicious Foods – James Hannaham
  2. The Fishermen – Chigozie Obioma
  3. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
  4. The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen
  5. Blood-Drenched Beard – Daniel Galera
  6. Undermajordomo Minor – Patrick deWitt
  7. The Vorrh – Brian Catling
  8. The Incarnations – Susan Barker
  9. Archivist Wasp – Nicole Kornher-Stace
  10. The Wilds – Julia Elliott

I wish all of you the best in the coming year. May you have ample reading time and a TBR list full of fantastic books!

 

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Hello world!

Towers from the top of Blarney Castle, Ireland

Well, I’m years behind on the blogging phenomenon, but here goes. I’m hoping this blog will soon be full of photos and musings on my travels and literary adventures. The photo above is a shot from the top of Blarney Castle.

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