The OF Blog: January 2014 Reads

Saturday, February 01, 2014

January 2014 Reads

January has been an interesting reading month.  I hadn't initially planned on doing this, but around the middle of the month, I realized that I hadn't completed any books written in English, so I decided that I would make January an English-free reading month.  I managed to read 32 books, with 12 of them being re-reads.  I read/re-read 8 of the Premio Alfaguara winners and reviewed 5 of them.  I read 4 poetry collections, 3 of them for the first time.  I am off to a good start to my goals in both the 50 books each in 4 languages and reading 35% women, being at or just a fraction of a percent behind the pace.  There is a disproportionate number of "heavy hitters" on this list, with the majority having won major awards in their home countries and/or being international bestsellers.  If only I had the time to write formal reviews of all 32, as these are certainly works worth considering at length...

1  Manuel Vicent, Son de Mar (re-read; Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

2  Clara Sánchez, Últimas noticias del paraíso (re-read; Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

3  Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Mar (Portuguese; poetry; excellent)

4  Gonçalo M. Tavares, Jerúsalem (Portuguese; excellent)

5  Marguerite Duras, Dix heures et demie du soir en été (French; very good)

6  Maryse Condé, Traversée de la Mangrove (French; excellent)

7  Elsa Morante, La Storia (Italian; excellent)

8  Michele Mari, Tutto il ferro della Torre Eiffel (Italian; excellent)

9  Gonçalo M. Tavares, Jerusalén (re-read; Spanish translation; excellent)

10 Alfonso Grosso, Florido Mayo (Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

11 Daniel Sueiro, Corte de corteza (Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

12 José Saramago, Todos os Nomes (Portuguese; excellent)

13 José Saramago, Todos los nombres (re-read; Spanish translation; excellent)

14 Jacques Prévert, Paroles (French; poetry; poems ranged from very good to outstanding)

15 Ferenc Molnár, I ragazzi della via Pal (re-read; Italian translation; very good)

16 Clarice Lispector, Felicidade Clandestina (Portuguese; short story collection; very good)

17 Gloria Fuertes, Obras incompletas (Spanish; poetry; very good)

18  Goran Petrović, Опсада Цркве Св. Спаса (re-read; Serbian; excellent)

19  Goran Petrović, Le Siège de L'Église Saint-Sauveur (re-read; French translation; excellent)

20  Goran Petrović, El cerco de la iglesia de la Santa Salvación (Spanish translation; excellent)

21  Luís Berenguer, Leña Verde (Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

22  Carlos Droguett, Todas esas muertes (Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; review forthcoming)

23  Manuel Vicent, Pascua y naranjas (Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; review forthcoming)

24  Silvina Ocampo and Adolfo Bioy Casares, Los que aman, odian (re-read; Spanish; very good)

25  Gabriel García Márquez, La hojarasca (re-read; Spanish; review forthcoming)

26  Gabriel García Márquez, El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (re-read; Spanish; review forthcoming)

27  Héctor Vásquez Azpiri, Fauna (Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

28  Maria Benedetta Cerro, La Congiura degli Opposti (re-read; Italian; poetry; very good)

29  Colette, La Vagabonde (French; very good)

30  Edoardo Nesi, Storia della mia gente (Italian; Premio Strega winner; good)

31  Melania G. Mazzucco, Vita (Italian; Premio Strega winner; very good)

32  Bruno Schultz, L'epoca geniale (re-read; Italian translation; short fiction collection; very good)

2014 Goals to Date: 

Spanish:  15/50 (ahead of pace by 11)

Portuguese:  4/50 (roughly on pace)

French:  5/50 (slightly ahead of pace)

Italian:  7/50 (ahead of pace by 3)

Women writers:  11/32 (34.3%; slightly below 35% goal)

Premio Alfaguara winners reviewed (counting previous years):  7/24

Goals Not Yet Begun:

World Cup of Literature - will begin posts in late spring/early summer

World War I fiction - will begin posts in late spring

Thomas Wolfe (4 novels) - will begin in March or April

Gabriel García Márquez re-reads/reviews - read 2 books, but won't start writing reviews until the weekend


marco said...

I'm glad you liked Michele Mari.
Some other Italian recommendations I left out the last time:

Paolo Volponi - especially Corporale and Le Mosche del Capitale, though I'm not sure of the current availability


Dolores Prato - Giù la piazza non c'è nessuno
outstanding novel which unfortunately is not available in ebook format as yet


Filippo Tuena - Ultimo Parallelo which has been recently reissued both in paper and electronic formats.

Larry Nolen said...

Thanks for those recs, as I most certainly will track them down in the near future (and yes, I depend upon e-book format a lot, because it is much cheaper for me). It'll be a while before I feel confident enough to do excerpt translations, but sometime in the future (probably not 2014), I would like to review the Mari at length.

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