The OF Blog: November 2013 Reads

Sunday, December 01, 2013

November 2013 Reads

Read or re-read 43 books in November and have either matched or am on the verge of matching each and every of my 2013 reading goals that I have listed at the bottom of most of the monthly reads posts.  Going to add a few more goals to the list and update those that have been matched or should be within the next couple of weeks.

309  Andrzej Sapkowski, Feuertaufe (German; already reviewed)

310  Andrzej Sapkowski, La torre de la golondrina (Spanish; re-read; already reviewed)

311  Andrzej Sapkowski, La Tour de l'Hirondelle (French; already reviewed)

312  Andrzej Sapkowski, Der Schwalbenturm (German; already reviewed)

313  Andrzej Sapkowski, La dama del lago:  volumen 1 (Spanish; re-read; already reviewed)

314  Andrzej Sapkowski, La dama del lago:  volumen 2 (Spanish; re-read; already reviewed)

315  Andrzej Sapkowski, La Dame du lac (French; already reviewed)

316  Andrzej Sapkowski, Die Dame vom See (German; already reviewed)

317  Andrzej Sapkowski, Narrenturm (Spanish; re-read; already reviewed)

318  Andrzej Sapkowski, Narrenturm (German; already reviewed)

319  Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone (YA; 2013 National Book Award finalist; already reviewed)

320  Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck (YA; 2013 National Book Award winner; review forthcoming)

321  Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (YA; 2013 National Book Award finalist; good)

322  Matt Rasmussen, Black Aperture (Poetry; 2013 National Book Award finalist; outstanding)

323  Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog (Poetry; 2013 National Book Award finalist; good)

324  Soumya Ammar Khodja, Rien ne me manque (French; very good)

325  Jacek Dukaj, La Cattedrale (Italian; short fiction; very good)

326  Tom McNeal, Far Far Away (YA; 2013 National Book Award finalist; very good)

327  Dacia Maraini, Voices (good)

328  César Aira, Relatos reunidos (Spanish; short fiction; very good)

329  Fae Myenne Ng, Bone (good)

330  Maria Bellonci, Rinascimento privato (Italian; Premio Strega winner; good)

331  Manuel Maria de Barbosa du Bocage, Sonetos (Portuguese; poetry; very good)

332  Cesare Pavese, La bella estate (Italian; Premio Strega winner, very good)

333  Petrarca, Poesie (Italian; poetry; good sonnets but too brief of a selection)

334  Leandro França, A Trama das Numens (Portuguese; meh)

335  Andrzej Sapkowski, Camino sin retorno (Spanish; re-read; will review in future)

336  Andrzej Sapkowski, Etwas endet, etwas beginnt (German; will review in future)

337  Gonçalo M. Tavares, Histórias Falsas (Portuguese; re-read; excellent)

338  Mia Couto, Terra Sonâmbula (Portuguese; very good)

339  Lalla Romano, La parole tra noi leggere (Italian; Premio Strega; decent)

340  Mia Couto, O Último Voo do Flamingo (Portuguese; excellent)

341  Mia Couto, The Last Flight of the Flamingo (re-read; excellent)

342  Mia Couto, Cada Homem é uma Raça (Portuguese; short fiction; very good)

343  Mia Couto, Every Man is a Race (re-read; short fiction; very good)

344  Simone de Beauvoir, Une mort trés douce (French; very good)

345  Calixthe Beyala, Tu t'appelleras Tanga (French; good)

346  Moacyr Scliar, O Exército de um Homem Só (Portuguese; good)

347  Mercé Rodoreda, Aloma (Catalan; re-read; very good)

348  Herta Müller, Bassure (Italian; good)

349  Clarice Lispector, Laços de Familia (Portuguese; short fiction; excellent)

350  Herta Müller, L'Home és un gran faisà en el món (Catalan; very good)

351  Clarice Lispector, A Hora da Estrela (Portuguese; very good)

Year Goals:

Overall:  351/366 (should easily reach this, so might expand this to as high as 400, based on the increased reading time I'll have the last 11 days of the year)

Women writers:  123/351 (just over 35%; goal is a minimum of 33%, so I should reach this)

Foreign Language:  153/150 (expanding this one again, to 175 books, since I'll be reading a lot of foreign literature this month)

Spanish:  50/50 (will expand to 52, so I can say I averaged 1 Spanish-language book a week for 2013)

Italian:  24/25 (should reach this one within the next few days)

New Goals:

French:  19/25 (have several at various stages of completion, so I feel confident about this one)

Portuguese:  17/25 (been reading more Portuguese-language fiction recently, so while this might be a hard one to achieve, I'm putting in on there regardless)

German:  10/12 (have two more Sapkowski translations to read, so I should read this one)

Serbian:  11/12 (only one more to go to have averaged 1 Serbian book/month, so why not?)

Interesting that only a shade over 56% of my 2013 reads have been of books written in English or translated into it.  Lowest percentage since 2006, when just over half of my reads were in Spanish and the rest in English.

Comments/questions on any the books listed here?


Salamander said...

I just started reading fiction in Portuguese and I was wondering if you had any spec fic or magical realist recommendations. I'm almost finished with "O Alquimista" (it's pretty meh, though an easy read) and have "Terra Sonâmbula" and Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen's "Histórias da Terra e do Mar" queued up. Also interested in Lispector, though she doesn't do spec fic, I don't think. What other authors do you think I should check out?

Larry Nolen said...

Well, that's a treacherous question for me to answer, as there are several people I know/follow on Twitter who are from Portugal and Brazil who might call me out for missing some titles/writers! But here's a starter list:

Gonçalo M. Tavares' fiction straddles several of those imagined genre lines. Any of his fictions are worth reading.

José Saramago, of course. Virtually everything that he has written. Much of it has speculative qualities.

David Soares is a Portuguese writer that I've reviewed here in the past. His fictions mix in historical elements with speculative ones.

Jorge Amado is another that comes to mind.

The Brazilian steampunk scene is very active. Two anthologies, Steampunk and Vaporpunk come to mind. Quite a few writers there have written novels and collections that you might want to follow. Perhaps one of them will read this post and suggest more?

The rest that I own in Portuguese are works by poets. I am tempted to devote a month next year to just writing about favorite poets/poems.

Larry Nolen said...

P.S. I dislike Coelho's fiction quite heartily. Haven't read the de Mello Breyner Andresen. And some of Lispector's stories approach spec fic in tone, if not strict content.

Edgard said...


If you are interested in recent Brazilian spec fic, I'd recommend Editora Draco's books ( Almost all of them are available on ebook format in Amazon and iBooks.

Look also for 'Tarja Editorial' on Amazon. But be aware that they are ending their operation, so probably their ebooks will disappear soon. From this publishing house, Larry read "Metanfetaedro" and he seems to have liked it.

If you want something more classic, or specific, you can ask me on twitter (@EdgardSF). ;)

Salamander said...

@Larry, thanks for the recommendations. The authors you list seem right up my alley.

I just finished "O Alquimista" and *hurgh*. I don't think I'll be reading anything else by Coelho...

As for de Mello Breyner Andresen, I believe she's better known for her poetry. I chose the short story collection because I wanted to read something in fairly simple language for my first few books in Portuguese, but I think I'm ready to take the leap and start muddling through the more complicated classics.

@Edgard, thanks for the recs. I took at look at Editora Draco's site and there's a lot of interesting stuff there. When I get an ereader (someday, someday...), I'll definitely check them out again.

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