The OF Blog: April 2013 Reads

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

April 2013 Reads

April was an odd reading month, as I barely read anything the first half of the month and then managed to read over half of the month's 35 reads/re-reads in its final week, a week that saw me bedridden for much of the time with multiple viral infections of my intestines, sinus, lungs, ear, and eyes.  Or maybe it was just my body telling me how much it hated the thought of administering state exams during that time.  Regardless, I managed to read/re-read 10 books by women, 16 books written in a language other than English, and 8 of those 16 being in Spanish.  Perhaps I'll even write a review or two once I shake the remnants of these mild infections.

98  Kate Atkinson, Life After Life (very good, despite some elements that threatened to torpedo the book)

99  Kim Stanley Robinson, 2312 (already reviewed)

100  Mary Beth Keane, Fever (very good novelistic retelling of the Typhoid Mary story)

101  Jean-Marie Blas de Robles, Where Tigers are at Home (outstanding; may review later)

102  James Salter, All That Is (very good)

103  Alliah, Metanfetaedro (Portuguese; promising debut collection of stories, some of which were "weird" in the good sense)

104  Ron Currie Jr., Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles (very good)

105  Fernando Pessoa, Livro do Desassossego (Portuguese; excellent)

106  Andrew Miller, Pure (may review this IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize finalist later; very good)

107  Gordon Lish, Peru (good)

108  Jonathan Dee, A Thousand Pardons (uneven, but mostly good)

109  Marguerite Duras, Détruire, dit-elle (French; excellent)

110  Marguerite Duras, L;amant (French; very good)

111  Laura Restrepo, Olor a rosas invisibles/The Scent of Invisible Roses (re-read; Spanish; very good)

112  M. John Harrison, Light (re-read; very good)

113  M. John Harrison, Nova Swing (re-read; liked it slightly less than its predecessor)

114  Sherman Alexie, The Toughest Indian in the World (collection; excellent)

115  Justin Landon and Jared Shurin (eds.), Speculative Fiction 2012 (contains two blog articles of mine; no further comment)

116  Kjersti A. Skomsvold, The Faster I Walk the Smaller I Am (another IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize finalist; will review in near future; excellent)

117  Silvina Ocampo and Adolfo Bioy Casares, Los que aman, odian (Spanish; only collaborative fiction this husband and wife team did.  A shame, as this "policial" was on par with those ABC co-wrote with Borges)

118  Arthur Phillips, The Tragedy of Arthur (IMPAC finalist; will be reviewed in near future; outstanding)

119  M. John Harrison, Empty Space (uneven, but mostly good)

120  May Swenson, Collected Poems (poetry; Library of America edition; very good)

121  Graciela Montes and Ema Wolf, El turno del escribo (re-read; Spanish; 2005 Premio Alfaguara winner; very good)

122  José Ovejero, La ética de la crueldad (non-fiction; Spanish; will be writing a post on this within the next few days)

123  Zoran Živković, Пет Дунавских Чуда (Serbian; review forthcoming; excellent)

124  Zoran Živković, The Five Wonders of the Danube (re-read; excellent; see above)

125  Javier Marías, Tu rostro mañana 1: Fiebre y lanza (Spanish; re-read; excellent)

126  Javier Marías, Your Face Tomorrow:  Fever and Spear (re-read; excellent)

127  Javier Marías, Tu rostro mañana 2:  Baile y sueño (Spanish; re-read; excellent)

128  Javier Marías, Your Face Tomorrow:  Dance and Dream (re-read; excellent)

129  Javier Marías, Tu rostro mañana 3:  Veneno y sombra y adiós (Spanish; re-read; excellent)

130  Javier Marías, Your Face Tomorrow:  Pison, Shadow and Farewell (re-read; excellent)

131  Michel Houellebecq, The Map and the Territory (IMPAC finalist; will be reviewed in near future; OK but not as good as most on list)

132  Javier Marías, Mala índole (Spanish; collection; very good)

And now that 2013 is roughly 1/3 over, here are updated 2013 reading goals:

132/366+ books (looks like 400 might be attainable, but 500 almost certainly won't be reached for the third consecutive year)

52/132 books read so far are (co) written or (co)edited by women.  39.39% of the total, slightly above the modest 33% goal I set (this takes into account possible multi-volume reads of a single author that might skew the percentages, such as the Marías reads skewed April's percentages downward, from 43% total at the end of March to the current 39.39%)

38/100 books read in a language other than English.  Slightly above goal so far this year.

15/50 books read in Spanish.  Slightly below goal so far this year, although 8 books read in Spanish for April is promising.

Will be reading Ildefonso Falcones' just-release historical fiction, La reina descalza, later this week, so there is a title for people to investigate (English translation likely within 1-2 years, maybe sooner for French and other major European languages).

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