Women in Translation

It’s August and it’s time for Women in Translation, WIT2020! If you aren’t familiar with this reading event, please check out Biblibio who started this project. I love the idea of a month to focus on women in translation.

I have plenty of books that I can use for this reading project but here’s a stack of some of the ones that I would love to read this month. The last two mentioned are not shown because they are are eBooks on my Kindle:

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor translated by Sophie Hughes. This book has been on my radar for a while and it was recently shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It all starts with the death of a witch and the violence and corruption that permeates this small Mexican village.

Flowers Over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti and translated by Erin Oklap. In this thrilling series debut set in the Italian Alps, an instinct-driven detective won’t let her aging body and mind prevent her from tracking a brutal killer.

The Houseguest by Amparo Davila and translated by Matthew Gleeson. A collection of short stories following characters who suffer from fear, paranoia, obsession and insomnia.

From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus and translated by Ann Goldstein. A young unnamed woman reflects on the life of her bewitching, eccentric, and fiercely emotional grandmother, whose abiding search for love spans much of the twentieth century

The House by the River by Lena Manta and translated by Gail Holst-Warhaft. An emotionally powerful saga following five young women as they realize that no matter where life leads them, the only constant is home.

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi and translated by Marilyn Booth. In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves, who has emigrated to Canada.

Don’t they all sound good? Let me know if you’ve read any of these titles. And, let me know if you are planning to join WIT Month. Would love to hear what you are reading.

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Month in Review

Can you believe it’s time to wrap up July? I had a good reading month and finished four books: The Only Child by Mi-Ae Seo, All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio, O Pioneers! by Willa Cather and The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin.

I loved O Pioneers! and hope to read more by Willa Cather. I’m still in the middle of a couple of books but I’ll tell you about those in another post.

Very happy to have participated in the Paris in July event. I’m still planning to participate in Spanish Lit Month and did you know that WIT Month (Women in Translation) is coming up? I’m really excited about that.

I need to go through some of my shelves and back issues of World Literature Today to select some reads.

As far as TV shows are concerned we watched The Pale Horse. Have you guys watched that? I have not read the Agatha Christie book it’s based on but from some reviews I’ve read seems like it’s quite different from the book. I liked the first episode a lot but was disappointed a bit with the second part. We also watched The Valhalla Murders and I really enjoyed that one. The mystery wasn’t that unique or complex but I really liked the two main characters. I hope there will be a second season.

So that’s the latest around here. My husband and I are still lucky to be working from home and we try to limit our outings. I’m ready for Fall to get here so we can go out for walks when it’s not 100+ degrees outside. Wishing you a great month ahead. Let me know if you read some good books this month and if you had a favorite.

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Paris In July: Books

I know I haven’t posted an update about my participation in the Paris in July reading event but I did manage to read two books with a Parisian setting this month. And, of course, I’m sitting here dreaming about walks along the Seine, touring the Louvre and eating croissants at a quaint cafe. One day but in the meantime let’s take a look at the books I read.

All The Flowers in Paris
By Sarah Jio

“But what does any of it matter now? Over time, Paris has become my hiding place, my cocoon, my escape from the pain of the past. I blink back tears. And now? Does he really think he can just waltz in and expect to behave as if nothing happened? That everything should just magically go back to the way it was?”

From the intro it may sound like Caroline is suffering from a romantic breakup but her life is a lot more complicated than that. She is soon involved in an accident that wipes her memory and as she visits places near her apartment she realizes that she may not have been a very nice person given how others react to her. If only she could unlock her memories.

The narrative takes the reader back to the same street of Caroline’s apartment but during Nazi-occupied Paris. Celine, her young daughter and father live comfortably and own a lovely flower shop but the menace of war is all around them and soon they won’t be able to escape the enemy.

I admit I was much more interested in the war time setting than the modern day. I also found a few things that just didn’t add up in Caroline’s story but overall did I was totally entertained by this book and would certainly read another by this author.

The Little Bookshop on the Seine
By Rebecca Raisin

“What exactly was I searching for? My friends were getting married and having babies. Buying houses and redecorating. Starting businesses. My life had stalled. I wasn’t an introvert, happiest hiding in the shadows of my shop, reading romances to laze the day away, between serving the odd customer or two – yet, it wasn’t enough. In small-town Connecticut, there wasn’t a lot to do. And life here – calm, peaceful – was fine, but that’s just it, fine was’t enough anymore.”

Sarah Smith may have a gorgeous boyfriend, steadfast friends and her little bookshop but she often feels like everyone is doing and she’s just sitting there waiting for things to happen to her. When her boyfriend is yet again gone on another photo journalism assignment across the world she is feeling sorry for herself and eagerly accepts to trade “bookshops” with her friend Sophie.

Sophie owns the popular Once Upon a Time bookshop in Paris and she needs to escape the City of Lights after a heartbreak so surely these two can easily swap bookshops. Of course Sarah, never having set foot outside of the U.S., is in for a rude awakening but at the same time this may be just what she needed to gain a bit of self-confidence and learn how to stand up for herself. She has to deal with difficult employees, a boyfriend who she thinks may want to break up with her and figuring out how to make the most of things.

I have to say I was expecting the whole boyfriend situation to go in a different direction but this is a romance. Often I lost patience with Sarah and how easily some people just took her for granted but overall it was a light-hearted story which took me along Parisian streets where I could imagine myself doing some window shopping.

Both of these books were Advance Review Copies from NetGalley.

Thank you to Marg and Tamara for hosting such a fun reading event. During this time when we can’t travel it was wonderful to imagine traveling to Paris via books and blog posts.

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