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As I told you on Sunday, I was showered with books last weekend.
To begin with I was very happy to find a Dutch copy of The Pillowbook by Sei Shonagon in my mailbox: Het hoofdkussenboek. This book fits almost all my current reading challenges! It has been on the list of my personal challenge of ‘Best Foreign Translations’ since 2008 and because of that I also entered it in the Classics challenge of 2009. I figured I could also add it to my JapLit challenge, even though I already accomplished the mission of just 1 book. Why stop? It seems like I will be reading The Pillowbook together with another participant: velvet from vvb32 reads, so that’s FUN!
Another book that I can add to the Japanese Literature Challenge is Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa. I read about it on Chick With Books’ blog (another JLC participant) and it reminded me of Taichi Yamada’s book Strangers, a much loved story! I could not help myself and ran directly to Bookdepository.com to order Be With You… And being in a bookshop (although online) I couldn’t resist buying something else: Trespass, by Valerie Martin. I liked her Orange Prize winning novel Property (2003) but I am not sure about her Mary Reilly, so now that she’s got a new book out I decided I should try some of this author’s other books. The story seems to be somehow compatible to Amy Bloom’s Away, which I recently read: that book being about an immigrant to the US from Eastern Europe a century ago, Trespass at the beginning of this century.
So, Mt. TBR has grown again… With lots of reading challenges to finish I hope I’ll be able to keep myself from hoarding anymore until the new year?!
So, what were my bookish things in the first week of September?
As I told you last week my online book group is reading Away by Amy Bloom in September. I’ve sent in my review (in Dutch). Maybe someday I’ll feel like transforming it into an English blogpost for Graasland, like I did on Wednesday with The Little Emperor (De kleine keizer) by Martin Bril, a book about Napoleon that is part of the What’s in a Name challenge, category ‘profession‘. I have read all 6 books for this challenge but still need to review half of them!
But hey, I quickly finished my reading for the JapLit Challenge this week: Butterfly in the Wind (Vlinder in de Wind) by Rei Kimura. A review is upcoming so I’ll keep my thoughts about this ‘biographical novel’ secret just a little longer!
The day I finished Kimura’s novel, the Bookcrossing bookray of To Kill a Mockingbird arrived from Portugal. Just in time because on Saturday I had to travel 5 hours by train! And you can’t travel without a book, can you? (Although I must admit I spent part of my journey preparing this Salon post ;)
With this book I finally picked up on the Classics Challenge again. I didn’t know much about it in advance, just that it is a classic. And from the movie Capote I learned that Harper Lee was Truman Capote’s assistant – but that he didn’t respect her much as an author. Unbelievable, because To Kill a Mockingbird gripped me from page 1!
The novel is also part of my personal 2008-2009 challenge. My last read from the list was in January (!) this year: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (which I will review for the What’s in a Name challenge, category ‘time of day‘). With 3 more books in my personal challenge and only 4 months to go, it feels good to be back on track!
This week ended with a bookish surprise when I got home from my long journey yesterday. There were no less than 3 books in my mailbox! I’ll tell you about them some other time :)
This is my first time participating in the Sunday Salon. So what bookish things happened to me in week 35?
I finally finished reading The Mapmaker’s Wife by Robert Whitaker. If it hadn’t been a Bookcrossing bookring that came highly recommended by people I trust, I would never have read this book. But now I spent a long time in South American atmospheres, unconsciously stimulating me to eat Moros y Cristiani (Cuban black beans with rice) and have a Mexican meal three times, while listening to the soundtrack of my favourite movie The Mission. I also wrote a review on Graasland because I am participating with this book in the What’s in a Name reading challenge, filing it under two categories: profession and relative. No, I’m not cheating ;) It was my second review for this challenge — but the last book I needed to read! That means I’ve been procrastinating on 4 other reviews… :\
After that I started reading Away, by Amy Bloom. And I almost finished it in one go! It is on the list for September in my Dutch online bookgroup (the Boekgrrls) and since it was nominated by me I had to write a reminder to the mailinglist. So I did ;) They’ll have to wait for my review until September has started though! But I can say I especially liked the vivid images of Lillian Leyb’s 1927 journey from New York to Alaska. It was no easy travelling!
Something that also ‘happened’ (ahum) to me this week: I subscribed to another reading challenge! O no, not again! LOL. But the Japanese Literature Challenge has a very easy target: read one (yes, 1) work by an author of Japanese origin before the end of January 2010. Well, I already started Butterly in the Wind by Rei Kimura: a biographic novel about Okichi Saito, the unwilling Japanese concubine of the first American Consul to Japan in the mid 1800′s. I might not stop at that because I LOVE reading Japanese authors — or books about Japanese culture (like non-fiction about origata I am also looking into: Giftwrapping, by Kunio Ekiguchi) — and there’s a chance I’ll be reading some along with other participants of the JLC. I’ll tell you about that when it happens ;)
This week’s Booking through Thursday asks everyone to share their Mt. TBR. Well, here’s mine!
As you can see my Mount To Be Read contains 14 books. 14? Not 15? No, better look closely and count again! :)
From top to bottom, small to large:
- Away (Amy Bloom)
- The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (Michael Chabon)
- Travels in the Scriptorium (Paul Auster)
- The Brooklyn Follies (Paul Auster)
- Drivetime (James Meek)
- Dead Air (Iain Banks)
- The China Lover in Dutch (Dromen van China, Ian Buruma)
- Butterfly in the Wind in Dutch (Vlinder in de wind, Rei Kimura)
- Dreaming Water (Gail Tsukiyama)
- The Language of Threads (Gail Tsukiyama)
- The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (Gail Tsukiyama)
- The Mapmaker’s Wife (Robert Whitaker) — just starting this one
- The Wasted Vigil (Nadeem Aslam)
- The Gargoyle (Andrew Davidson)
This stack shows what you might consider my ‘priority reads’. I have some more books lounging unread in several spots in my home, like The Chosen (Chaim Potok) and Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck). Hm, I really should put those higher on the list since they are part of several personal reading challenges ánd they are Bookcrossing books that like to travel!
But wait a minute… where are Revolutionary Road and Easter Parade by Richard Yates???
Good thing Booking Trough Thursday made me check my Mount! I guess I I have some rearranging to do — I don’t think my (literal) bookshelf will hold any more copies without coming off the wall.. So, bye for now!