I am late to the party but I’ve decided to join the Women in Translation month challenge! As there is no minimum amount of books to read, it’s a very low-effort challenge to join, thankfully, as I have many other books I want to read this month still – namely a thousand ARCs I’m getting quite late to get to. The odds that I’ll actually read all the books in this post are pretty slim, but writing a post always encourages me to actually read the books, so this is me putting peer pressure on myself.
I decided against writing a recommendations post (for now) because I’ve seen a lot of the stuff I’d recommend be listed already, and I do already talk about translated fiction quite often in my blog, if you want to check out: The Translated Literature Book Tag, Reading Latinx Books Project with @cbookrambling, What I Read for @AsianReadathon. Maybe next year I will write recommendations (or, if I cave in, sometime during this month).
Michelle helped me with a few recommendations – if you don’t know, she has a TBR Recommendation service and I think it’s such a fun thing to get recommendations according to your personal reading tastes, it’s the highlight of my day when I get her email. I highly recommend it, especially if you struggle to find books for challenges or personal goals (like I do). The books she recommended to me are Like Water for Chocolate, Girls of Riyadh and Empress, all of which sound really great.
Here are some books I’d like to read for WIT:
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
This sounds like a weird read and I own this for half a year already, so it’s high time I pick it up! The author is from Poland. Continue reading
In case you didn’t know, I’m Brazilian! I know I hammer this into people’s heads, but it’s a big part of my identity that I am not sure shows on my blog very often, especially on my reading. It’s recently come to my attention the glaringly obvious fact that I read mostly books from US & UK – in fact, I might read more Irish books than Brazilian. Which is unacceptable.
Realizing this was a reality check and so I’ve been taking steps to read more Latinx books. To do that, Michelle is helping me come up with a TBR according to my personal taste. In case you didn’t know, she is a wonderful blogger (and fellow Latin American, from Venezuela!) who’s offering TBR-picking services for bookworms! Not just of Latinx books 🙂
If you, like me, want to diversify your reading, she will choose a few books for you and email you her picks according to your personal taste & what you’d like to read – I asked her for some Latinx books, especially some written by women, and she delivered! I’m excited to read books that were not on my radar at all or that I hadn’t considered picking up before. I’ve only read 1 so far but I loved it already and it’s always so exciting to get her emails!
(I am advertising this because she absolutely deserves it, but I haven’t been neither paid nor asked to do this. I used her service, paid for it myself and really enjoyed it. For full disclosure, we are friends for a few years now.)
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American author, and this book is about the Mirabal sisters with a fictionalized accounting of their lives, from childhood until the day three of the sisters are murdered by Trujillo men. This is a fascinating, heartbreaking but also very inspiring read and such a gem! (And recommended by Michelle!) Continue reading
Categories: Literary Fiction, Classic Fiction, Translated into English
I decided to pick up Near to the Wild Heart in English because I was curious as to how Clarice Lispector’s work would be translated, her writing being so unique and at times impenetrable, plus the fact that I’d heard not very positive things about the translations.
This book tells the story of Joana, from childhood until adulthood, this girl who is different from everyone else, who is wild and full of desire and rage, instead of being quietly demure as would be proper.
Clarice Lispector’s writing, and Joana’s thoughts, are vague, poetic, beautiful and don’t always make much sense. I found it most times exasperating to read, and at other times meditative and interesting. It got particularly better (or easier to follow) in the second half of the book, where some semblance of plot occurs and characters interact more with each other instead of us just living inside Joana’s mind. I especially liked the interaction between Lídia and Joana, two character very unlike each other. Continue reading
Categories: Literary Fiction, Dystopia
The Memory Police tells the story of our unnamed narrator, a novelist living in an unnamed island where things disappear. One day many years before, it had been hats, and then ribbons, and those things were not missed. The islanders forgot about them and moved on. The disappeared things become slowly more important, and the islanders forget and move on after each one – but not everyone forgets what has been lost, and the Memory Police make sure those people are taken away. When our narrator finds out her editor and friend is one of those people who are unable to forget, she knows she must hide him, lest he end up like her mother – dead. Continue reading
Genres: Literary Fiction
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is Ocean Vuong’s beautiful collection of thoughts, memories and impressions written to his mother. He explores his childhood, the story of his mother and grandmother and what they sacrificed and lost to the Vietnam war and then moving to the United States in search of a better life.
I did not know what to expect of this book when I picked it up, although I heard amazing things about it, I did not even know anything about its story at all. And it blew me away. Continue reading
Genres: Literary Fiction
Convenience Store Woman is the story of Miss Furukura, who has been working at the same convenience store for the past eighteen years. Her life has not changes since her twenties, and that is how she thrives: she knows what the store needs, the correct level of enthusiasm to greet costumers, and what to say when. But as she gets older, the pressure increases for her to get married, changes jobs or, preferably, both. When she meets a man at the store looking for a wife so he can comply to societal norms, she sees in him the perfect convenient relationship to also get friends and family to accept her. But this bitter, small-minded man will create chaos in her perfectly orderly life, and perhaps not for the best. Continue reading