The OF Blog: April 2014 Reads

Thursday, May 01, 2014

April 2014 Reads

Things were a bit better reading-wise in April, as I completed 28 (edit:  27, as I accidentally listed a book I re-read from January) books, but I still often went days, even a week or so at one point, between reading more than a handful of pages.  Job shifts (which unfortunately are still taking place, but that's a matter for another time) and extra responsibilities have left me many nights struggling just to write a little bit here before crashing for a new hours.  But with the tardy arrival of warm weather, I feel my energy and my desire to read increasing again, so May may be another story.

Made some progress in my 50x4 language/reading challenge, as roughly 75% of the books read this month were published in languages other than English, with a few others being translations into English.  Still more male than female writers read in those languages, but greater efforts have been made to locate good stories from divers backgrounds.  25% of the reads were re-reads; the rest are first-time reads.  Mixture of poetry and short story collections here, some by fairly well-known writers.  And with all this blathering, time to list the books themselves:

63  Nicole Krauss, The History of Love (good, but tried a bit too hard to make the narrative stretch into something that it couldn't quite support)

64  Mario Rigoni Stern, Storia di Tönle/L'anno della vittoria (Italian; World War I-set collection of two novellas that will be discussed at some future point on World War I Literature, Art, and Cinema)

65  Joca Reiners Terron, Não há nada lá (re-read; Portuguese; very good)

66  Claudio Magris, Microcosmi (Italian; Premio Strega winner; very good)

67  Sibila Aleramo, Una donna (Italian; good)

68  João Negreiros, O Mar que a Gente Faz (re-read; Portuguese; very good)

69  Alessandro Piperno, Inseparabili (Italian; Premio Strega winner; good but slightly uneven for me)

70  Giorgio Montefoschi, La casa del padre (Italian; Premio Strega winner; good)

71  J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo's Last Song (Illustrated short poem; slight but good)

72  Karen Russell, Sleep Donation (review in near future; novella)

73  José Ovejero, La invención del amor (re-read; Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; review forthcoming)

74  Gabriel García Márquez, Yo no vengo a decir un discurso (re-read; Spanish; non-fiction; good collection of short speeches over his lifetime)

75  Ugo Riccarelli, Il dolore perfetto (Italian; Premio Strega winner; very good)

76  Guillaume Apollinaire, Alcools (French; poetry; very good)

77  Albert Camus, L'étranger (re-read; French; excellent)

78  Gabriel García Márquez, Cien años de soledad (re-read; Spanish; already reviewed)

79  Vizconde de Lascano Tegui, De la elegancia mientras se duerme (re-read; Spanish; previously reviewed)

80  Susan Stinson, Spider in a Tree (very good take on the weirdness of Jonathan Edwards and the energy of the First Great Awakening)

81  Comte de Lautréamont, Poésies (French; poetry; very good)

82  George Seferis, Collected Poems (translated from Greek; excellent collection from a Nobel Prize-winning poet)

83  Sohrab Seferis, The Oasis of Now (translated from Persian; poetry; 2014 Best Translated Book Awards finalist; very good)

84  Elisa Biagini, L'ospite (Italian; poetry; this collection in translation formed half of the 2014 BTBA-winning poetry collection The Guest in the Wood; very good)

85  Marguerite Duras, Dix heures et demie du soir en été (re-read; French; very good) (forgot I had this back in early January)

85  Luisa González, A ras del suelo (Spanish; short fiction collection; good)

86  José Sobral de Almada Negreiros, A Engomadeira:  Novela Vulgar Lisboeta (Portuguese; novella; good)

87  Marie Ndiaye, Trois femmes puissantes (French; Prix Goncourt winner; will review after I finish the translation - and current IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize nominee Three Strong Women)

88  Françoise Sagan, Des bleus à l'âme (French; good)

89  Gabriel García Márquez, Olhos de Cão Azul (re-read; Portuguese translation; short fiction collection; very good)

Updated Yearly Goals:

Spanish:  25/50 (ahead of pace by 8; 5 read this month)

Portuguese:  11/50 (behind pace by 6; 4 read this month)

French:  12/50 (behind pace by 5; 5 read this month)

Italian:  16/50 (roughly on pace; 7 read this month)

Women writers:  29/90 (behind goal by 3%; 8/27 read this month, or 30% for the month)

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