Wondering what 2014 releases I’ve missed out on reading so far

October 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m going to be adding to my 2014 Releases/Reviews post this weekend, as I hope to get over 90% of the listed books reviewed (and 100% read) by Christmas, so I can have a good year-end Best of 2014 series of commentaries on the best of these books.  But doubtless I’ve missed whole swathes of literary genres, many of which almost certainly have produced some excellent books.

Care to suggest works that might be considered among the year’s best that I do not have listed in my post?  I do plan on buying some more books next month after I finish catching up on bill payments related to my recent time off work due to a lower back injury.

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September 2014 Reads

October 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Due in part to my back injury keeping me out of work for most of the month, I had more time available for reading.  Finished 51 books this month, my highest for the year so far.  Managed to finish above the 1 book/day pace for the first time since January and I moved closer to achieving most, if not all, of my 2014 reading goals.  Here are the books I read (and in a few cases, re-read) for the month of September:

229  Niccolò Ammaniti, Come Dio Comanda (Italian; Premio Strega winner; very good)

230  Jeff VanderMeer, Acceptance (already reviewed)

231  ANtonio Pennacchi, Canale Mussolini (Italian; Premio Strega winner; good)

232  Neel Mukherjee, The Lives of Others (Booker Prize finalist; already reviewed)

233  José Saramago, O Evangelho segundo Jesus Cristo (Portuguese; might review in future)

234  Marc Elder, Le Peuple de la Mer (French; Prix Goncourt winner; good)

235  J.R.R. Tolkien, El hobbit (Spanish; very good)

236  J.R.R. Tolkien, Hobbitus Ille (Latin; already reviewed)

237  J.R.R. Tolkien, Lo Hobbit (Italian; very good)

238  Jonathan Littell, Les Bienveillantes (French; already reviewed the English translation)

239  Francesco Piccolo, Il desidero di essere come tutti (Premio Strega winner; very good)

240  José Saramago, Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira (Portuguese; might review in future)

241  Jesus Torbado, Las corrupciones (re-read; Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

242  Howard Jacobson, J (Booker Prize finalist; review forthcoming)

243  David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks (Booker longlist; review forthcoming)

244  Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (Bailys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner; already reviewed)

245  Angélica Gorodischer, Prodigios (Spanish; very good)

246  Grozdana Olujic, Wild Seed (re-read; very good)

247  Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night (poetry; National Book Award longlist; already reviewed)

248  Clarice Lispector, Uma aprendizagem (Portuguese; very good)

249  Jeff VanderMeer, Autoridad (Spanish; already reviewed the English original)

250  Kate Zambreno, Green Girl (excellent)

251  Nathalie Kuperman, La Loi Sauvage (French; Prix Medicis longlist; review forthcoming)

252  Valérie Zinatti, Jacob, Jacob (French; Prix Medicis longlist; review forthcoming)

253  Christine Montalbetti, Plus rien que les vagues et le vent (French; Prix Medicis longlist; review forthcoming)

254  David Soares, Batalha (re-read; Portuguese; already reviewed)

255  Justin Taylor, Flings (short story collection; review forthcoming)

256  Dylan Landis, Rainey Royal (review forthcoming)

257  Ludmila Ulitskaya, Sónechka (Spanish; very good)

258  Italo Calvino, Il castello dei destini incrociati (Italian; very good)

259  Italo Calvino, The Castle of Crossed Destinies (re-read; very good)

260  Spencer Reece, The Road to Emmaus (poetry; National Book Award longlist; review forthcoming)

261  Linda Bierds, Roget’s Illusion (poetry; National Book Award longlist; review forthcoming)

262  John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van (National Book Award longlist; review forthcoming)

263  Kelly Barnhill, The Witch’s Boy (YA; already reviewed)

264  Elizabeth McCracken, Thunderstruck & Other Stories (short story collection; National Book Award longlist; review forthcoming)

265  Gail Giles, GIrls Like Us (YA; National Book Award longlist; review forthcoming)

266  Donald R. Hickey (ed.), The War of 1812:  Writings from America’s Second War of Independence (non-fiction; history; Library of America edition; excellent)

267  J.R.R. Tolkien, Morgoth’s Ring:  The Late Silmarillion Part One (re-read; very good)

268  Hedwige Jeanmart, Blanès (French; Prix Medicis longlist; already reviewed)

269  Pierre Demarty, En face (French; Prix Medicis longlist; review forthcoming)

270  Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington (eds.), Phantasm Japan (anthology; already reviewed)

271  Laurie Halse Anderson, The Impssible Knife of Memory (YA; National Book Award longlist; review forthcoming)

272  Henry David Thoreau, Walden (re-read; non-fiction; might review shortly)

273  Ali Smith, How to be Both (Booker Prize finalist; review forthcoming)

274  Claudie Hunzinger, La langue des oiseaux (French; Prix Medicis longlist; review forthcoming)

275  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Children of Húrin (re-read; review forthcoming)

276  J.R.R. Tolkien, Los Hijos de Húrin (Spanish; review forthcoming)

277  J.R.R. Tolkien, Deca Hurinova (Serbian; review forthcoming)

278  Angélica Gorodischer, Palito de naranjo (Spanish; review forthcoming)

279  Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress (short story collection; review forthcoming)

Updated Yearly Goals:

Spanish:  44/50 (ahead of pace by 7; 7 read this month)

Portuguese:  26/50 (behind pace by 11; 4 read this month)

French:  36/50 (behind pace by 1; 8 read this month)

Italian:  34/50 (behind pace by 3; 5 read this month)

Women writers:  104/279 (ahead of 35% pace by 2.27%; 22/51 read this month, or 43.1%)

August 2014 reads

September 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

August was a much busier reading month for me, due in part to being laid up for much of the second half of the month with a work-related back injury.  I finished 39 books in August, most of them first-time reads.  Also reviewed the majority of the books read then as well, with again around twenty reviews written during the month.  Here are the updated totals, including my 2014 reading goals progress:

190 Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World (Booker-longlisted title; already reviewed)

191  Cara Hoffman, Be Safe I Love You (already reviewed)

192  Nadifa Mohamed, The Orchard of Lost Souls (already reviewed)

193  Lorrie Moore, Bark (short story collection; already reviewed)

194  Frances Hardinge, Cuckoo Song (YA; already reviewed)

195  Ian Cameron Esslemont, Assail (already reviewed)

196  Joanna Rakoff, My Salinger Year (memoirs; already reviewed)

197  Mary Szybist, Incarnadine (re-read; poetry; excellent)

198  Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor (already reviewed)

199  Corrine Duyvis, Otherbound (YA; already reviewed)

200  Muriel Barbery, L’Élégance du hérisson (French; excellent)

201  Mary Rickert, The Memory Garden (already reviewed)

202  William T. Vollmann, Last Stories and Other Stories (short story collection; already reviewed)

203  Jeff VanderMeer, Aniquilação (Portuguese; already reviewed)

204  Terry Goodkind, Severed Souls (already reviewed)

205  Richard Powers, Orfeo (Booker-longlisted title; already reviewed)

206  Paul Kingsnorth, The Wake (Booker-longlisted title; already reviewed)

207  Dave Hutchinson, Europe in Autumn (review forthcoming)

208  Rachel Pollack, The Child Eater (already reviewed)

209  Felix Gilman, The Revolutions (already reviewed)

210  Richard Thomas, The New Black:  A Neo-Noir Anthology (anthology; review forthcoming)

211  Niall Williams, History of the Rain (Booker-longlisted title; already reviewed)

212  Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (re-read; Booker-longlisted title; already reviewed)

213  Richard Flanagan, A Narrow Road to the Deep North (Booker-longlisted title; already reviewed)

214  Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist (essays; already reviewed)

215  Kameron Hurley, The Mirror Empire (already reviewed)

216  Ludmila Ulitskaya, Daniel Stein, Interpreter (already reviewed)

217  Bryan Lee O’Malley, Seconds (graphic novel; already reviewed)

218  Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (review forthcoming)

219  Elsa Morante, History (already reviewed)

220  Richard House, The Kills (2013 Booker-longlisted title; review forthcoming)

221  Louise Labé, Œuvres complètes (poetry; French; very good)

222  Soumya Amnar Khodja, Rien ne me manque (French; very good)

223  Stanislao Nievo, Le isole del Paradiso (Italian; Premio Strega winner; very good)

224  Laurent Gaudé, Le soleil des Scorta (French; Prix Goncourt winner; excellent)

225  Tomasi di Lampedusa, Il Gattopardo (Italian; Premio Strega winner; good)

226  Brontops Baruq, O grito do sol sobre a cabeça (re-read; Portuguese; very good)

227  Elsa Morante, L’isola di Arturo (re-read; Italian; Premio Strega winner; already reviewed)

228  Elsa Morante, Arturo’s Island (re-read; already reviewed)

Updated Yearly Goals:

Spanish:  37/50 (ahead of pace by 4; 0 read this month)

Portuguese:  22/50 (behind pace by 11; 2 read this month)

French:  28/50 (behind pace by 5; 4 read this month)

Italian:  29/50 (behind pace by 4; 3 read this month)

Women writers:  82/228 (ahead of 35% pace by .9%; 53.8% for month, or 21/39 read this month)

Looking at my 2014 reading/reviewing goals, 2/3 into the year

August 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Today marks the 242nd day of 2014.  There are 123 days remaining in the year, so roughly 2/3 have already passed.  Thought I would post an update on my 2014 reading/reviewing goals, note some changes, and lament one or two that have already failed.  Here is a link to my original January 2 post on the topic.

1.  Read (or re-read) at least 50 books each in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French.

As of right now (totals will change when I finish reading a few by midnight on the 31st):

Spanish:  37/50 – ahead of pace by 4
Portuguese: 21/50 – behind pace by 12 (might finish 1-2 by tomorrow night)
French:  28/50 – behind pace by 5
Italian:  27/50 – behind pace by 6 (should finish 2 by tomorrow night, however)

Since I’m planning on reading a lot more non-English literature in September and October, these totals will shift significantly.  Portuguese is the only one in real danger of not being reached, but even there I have almost 60 print volumes and over 30 e-book editions.

2.  Have 35% or more of my reading/re-readings this year be of works (co)-authored or (co)-edited by women. 

Currently at 80/224 2014 reads, or 35.7%.  Just above pace.  Have two more books by women that I want to finish by tomorrow, so percentage may rise slightly.

3.  To (re)-read and review each of the Premio Alfaguara winners, including those of the 1965-1972 incarnation.

I have only 8 out of 25 books left to review, so this is still very doable.  Planning on reviewing more in September and October.

4.  During the months leading up to the 2014 World Cup, reprise my 2010 “World Cup” series of posts by writing a combination of reviews of prominent writers from participating countries or summaries of national literature.

I wrote Group previews, but no real reviews of nationally-prominent writers of these 32 nations during that time.  Partial fail.

5.  Do an in-depth series of articles/reviews on a Southern writer.

Haven’t started this yet, but likely to start reviewing Eudora Welty’s novels in the coming month or two, along with a few more Faulkner reviews if I have the time.  Thomas Wolfe, however, will likely be shunted to next year.

Newer Goals:

1.  Write at least one post a day in 2014.  

So far, so good.

2.  Write 150 reviews in 2014.

I’ve written 103 so far, so slightly above pace.

3.  Read/review all the books listed in the 2014 Upcoming Releases post from January.

I’ve reviewed all but 20 of the books already released and am quickly closing the gap, writing at least 4-5 reviews/week for the past three months.  Already have over 80 2014 releases read/reviewed.

4.  Average at least a book a day read, as I’ve done since 2008.

Behind pace by 18 right now, but should catch up in the coming weeks.  Be off work due to injury certainly has given me more time to read, plus I like to read more when it’s cooler.

If you came up with reading goals, tell me how you’re doing.  Curiosity and all that.

July 2014 Reads

August 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Averaged exactly one book a day for the month of July, as I completed 31 books.  Most of these, unlike other months, were in English, as I concentrated on reviewing as many 2014 releases as I could manage.  20 of the 31 have already been reviewed, a few others were reviewed when I first read them in one language or another, and 4 will be reviewed in the coming weeks.  Not a bad reading/reviewing percentage, I suppose.

159  Dinaw Mengestu, All Our Names (already reviewed)

160  Adam Wilson, What’s Important is Feeling (already reviewed)

161  Evie Wyld, All the Birds, Singing (already reviewed)

162  D. Foy, Made to Break (already reviewed)

163  Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (eds.), The Time Traveler’s Almanac (already reviewed)

164  Andrzej Sapkowski, Il battesimo del fuoco (Italian; already reviewed the Spanish translation)

165  Andrzej Sapkowski, Baptism of Fire (already reviewed the Spanish translation)

166  Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You (already reviewed)

167  Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (already reviewed)

168  Edan Lepucki, California (already reviewed)

169  Edmundo Paz Soldán, Iris (Spanish; already reviewed)

170  Tom Rachman, The Rise & Fall of Great Powers (already reviewed)

171  Anna Hope, Wake (already reviewed)

172  Cristovão Tezza, O Professor (Portuguese; already reviewed)

173  Andrés Neuman, Talking to Ourselves (already reviewed)

174  Lev Grossman, The Magician’s Land (review will be posted on August 4)

175  Shane Jones, The Crystal Eaters (already reviewed)

176  Jorge Luis Borges, Ficções (Portuguese; already reviewed Spanish original)

177  Lydia Davis, Can’t and Won’t (already reviewed)

178  Ben Hatke, Julia’s House for Last Creatures (young children’s book; very good; gave copy away for my niece to read when she’s 2-3 years older)

179  Can Xue, The Last Lover (already reviewed)

180  Scott Cheshire, High as the Horses’ Bridles (already reviewed)

181  Adam Sternbergh, Shovel Ready

182  Simon Ings, Wolves (already reviewed)

183  Joyce Carol Oates, Carthage (review in the next week)

184  Seamus Heaney, Beowulf (poetry; translated fiction; very good)

185  Frederick Rebsamen, Beowulf (poetry; translated fiction; best of the three verse translations I read)

186  R.M. Liuzza, Beowulf (poetry; translated fiction; very good)

187  J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf:  A Translation and Commentary (already reviewed)

188  Catherine Lacey, Nobody is Ever Missing (review in the next week or so)

189  Paula Bomer, Inside Madeleine (short story collection; review forthcoming)

Updated Yearly Goals:

Spanish:  37/50 (ahead of pace by 8; 1 read this month)

Portuguese:  20/50 (behind pace by 9; 2 read this month)

French:  24/50 (behind pace by 5; 0 read this month)

Italian:  26/50 (behind pace by 3; 1 read this month)

Women writers:  61/189 (behind pace by 2%; 33% for the month, or 10/31 read this month)

June 2014 Reads

July 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

June was a slower reading month for me, perhaps in part because I spent most of the month engaging in the “40 in 40” review project.  I managed to complete that by mid-July, but as a result, I only read 24 books in June.  14 of the 24 books have already been reviewed, with another one to be reviewed later this month.  At the halfway point of the year, was close or exceeded my yearly goals for the four foreign languages I targeted for more reading this year.  Now for the list:

135  Antonio Scurati, Il padre infedele (Italian; Premio Strega finalist; very good)

136  Giorgio Pressburger, Nel regno oscuro (Italian; very good)

137  Herta Müller, La bèstia del cor (Catalan translation; good)

138  Carmen Lyra, Cuentos de mi Tía Panchita (Spanish; short story collection; good)

139  Jorge Franco, El mundo de afuera (Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

140  Cristina Henríquez, The Book of Unknown Americans (already reviewed)

141  Kyung-sook Shin, I’ll Be Right There (already reviewed)

142  Kofi Awoonor, The Promise of Hope (Poetry; already reviewed)

143  Laura Restrepo, Delirio (re-read; Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

144  Hernán Rivera Letelier, El arte de la resurrección (re-read; Spanish; Premio Alfaguara winner; already reviewed)

145  Teju Cole, Every Day is for the Thief (already reviewed)

146  David James Poissant, The Heaven of Animals (short story collection; already reviewed)

147  Lily King, Euphoria (review forthcoming)

148  Porochista Khakpour, The Last Illusion (already reviewed)

149  Roxane Gay, An Untamed State (already reviewed)

150  Sean Ennis, Chase Us (short story collection; already reviewed)

151  Thomas Ligotti, The Spectral Link (short story collection; already reviewed)

152  Jérôme Ferrari, Le sermon sur la chute de Rome (French; Prix Goncourt winner; very good)

153  François Weyergons, Trois jours chez ma mère (French; Prix Goncourt winner; very good)

154  Giorgio Pressburger, Storia umana e inumana (Italian; Premio Strega semifinalist; decent but not as good as the first volume of this series, mentioned above)

155  Pierre Lemaitre, Au revoir là-haut (French; Prix Goncourt winner; very good)

156  Jâcques-Pierre Amette, La Maîtresse de Brecht (French; Prix Goncourt winner; very good)

157  Smith Henderson, Fourth of July Creek (already reviewed)

158  Rabih Alameddine, An Unncessary Woman (already reviewed)

Updated Yearly Goals:

Spanish:  36/50 (ahead of pace by 11; 4 read this month)

Portuguese:  18/50 (behind pace by 7; 0 read this month)

French:  24/50 (behind pace by 1; 4 read this month)

Italian:  25/50 (on pace; 3 read this month)

Women writers:  51/158 (behind pace by 3%; 8 read this month, or 33% for the month)

A summer reading/reviewing challenge I’m undertaking

June 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

Now that I am only working one job, for the summer at least, and have just begun an online Elementary French course, it’s got to be the perfect time for undertaking a time-specific reading/reviewing challenge, right?

Starting this weekend and lasting until mid-July, I want to review at least 40 works, many of which will be 2014 releases.  I have a backlog of reviews to write from this 2014 releases post I wrote back in January (and regularly update as upcoming releases come to my attention), plus there will be some books and/or poems that I will cover for the World Cup of Fiction posts during June-July.  I have about 2-4 hours of “free time” and I think that, if motivated, I could achieve this goal and help make others aware of interesting stories and poetry from around the globe.

And if I don’t succeed?  Well, the squirrels have been watching me closely recently and I fear it might get ugly…

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