July reading round-up: #SpanishLitMonth. Plans for August: #WITMonth and more.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been participating in Richard and Stu’s Spanish Lit Month which has been running throughout July – a great opportunity to read some books written in the Spanish language (not just those by Spanish authors). As we’re nearing the end of July, I thought it timely to do a round-up of links to the book reviews I’ve posted to tie in with #SpanishLitMonth. So here they are:

  • The Infatuations by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (I read this one in April, and Stu kindly hosted my review as a guest post; I published it here at the end of June as a taster for Spanish Lit Month)
  • Nada by Carmen Laforet, translated by Edith Grossman
  • Never Any End to Paris by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Anne McLean
  • Severina by Rodrigo Rey Rosa, translated by Chris Andrews

And I’ll be posting my final contribution later this week:

  • Liveforever by Andrés Caicedo, tr. by Frank Wynne


Several other book bloggers have also participated in #SpanishLitMonth. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the reviews, and my ‘to buy’ list has expanded, for sure. Richard has been posting weekly round-ups with links to all the posts, so do take a look at his site if you’re interested in reading more.

Before I move away from all things Spanish, I’ve been very remiss recently when it comes to posting anything about wine, so I’ll aim to write a short piece about a couple of my current favourite Spanish whites – next weekend, all being well.

As July draws to a close, a new month will be upon us, and August sees a focus on Women in Translation (#WITMonth), championed by Biblibio. As you know, I enjoy reading translations (alongside books in the English language), and I’m currently trying to balance my reading to include a mix of books by female and male writers. So I’ll be joining #WITMonth in August to read and review some literature in translation from women writers.

So far, I’ve lined up the following reviews for August:

  • The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein (second book in Ferrante’s series of Neapolitan novels)
  • Sidewalks by Valeria Luiselli
  • The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein
  • Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder

Possibly one or two others if I can manage it.

And if you’re interested in joining #WITMonth and are looking for ideas on books to read, there’s plenty of information and suggestions on Biblibio’s blog. Alternatively, I’ve reviewed a few translations of books by women writers, and can recommend the following:

  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein (first book in Ferrante’s series of Neapolitan novels)
  • Nada by Carmen Laforet, translated by Edith Grossman (see #SpanishLitMonth above for a link to my review)
  • Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Allison Markin Powell
  • The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik, translated by Deborah Dawkin
  • The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke, translated by Jamie Bulloch

I’ve also reviewed Back to Back by Julia Franck, translated by Anthea Bell, which I thought very good, albeit rather intense and penetrating.

So that’s what ‘s coming up on the translation front. But if you’re interested in books in the English language, fear not. I have a few other reviews lined up for August, namely (in no particular order):

  • The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton
  • Speedboat by Renata Adler
  • Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
  • Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

And finally (for completeness), links to books in the English language I’ve reviewed in recent months:

Have you been following Spanish Lit Month?

What are your reading plans for August, translations or otherwise?

Are you thinking of joining in with Women in Translation (#WITMonth)? If so, which books are you considering?

19 thoughts on “July reading round-up: #SpanishLitMonth. Plans for August: #WITMonth and more.

    1. jacquiwine Post author

      Good to hear you enjoyed Strange Weather! I loved the quietly compelling, almost dreamlike nature of the story.

      Yes, this year was a good one for the IFFP; some very interesting books on the full longlist, too.

    1. jacquiwine Post author

      Oh, that’s a coincidence! Well, if you’re planning on blogging Love in the Time of Cholera, let Stu or Richard know as they’ve been collecting links to reviews. I read it a few years ago and enjoyed it very much. I’ve also read a couple of his novellas, including Chronicle of a Death Foretold (which I thought excellent).

    1. jacquiwine Post author

      Oh, that’s interesting as I’ve just finished reading Sidewalks, and I think Luiselli is an excellent writer. There’s a philosophical and melancholy tone to her essays, and I could have happily remained in her company for much longer than the 100 or so pages of this collection.

    1. jacquiwine Post author

      Thank you, erdeaka, that’s great to hear. I think you’d like Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels (My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name) as they give such a rich and vivid portrayal of a friendship between two girls from childhood onwards. I don’t know if you’ve come across them, but they are terrific books.

      There’s Americanah, too (which I’ve already reviewed). I don’t know if you’ve read that one?

  1. Bellezza

    What lot of information here, Jacqui! Loved The Days of Abandonment, Strange Weather in Tokyo, Crossing to Safety, Nights at the Circus, and, as you know, The Infatuations. I began the first story in Binocular Vision and am most impressed. Thanks for that great recommendation; you know I bought the book, didn’t you? Severina is also on the list. xo

    1. jacquiwine Post author

      We’ve quite a few in common there, Bellezza! Yes, I knew you’d bought Binocular Vision, and I’m glad you’ve enjoying it so far. You’ve quite a way to go before you get to Self-Reliance, but I think Pearlman saved the best story till last.

      I loved Severina, and I’ve added The Tunnel to my list (off the back of your recent review)!

      Are you thinking of reading any translations by women to join #WITMonth? I’m aware you’ve got your Japanese Challenge on the go, too.

  2. Brian Joseph

    Sadly I did not have the chance to participate in Spanish Literature month. If there is a repeat next year I will really try to join in.

    It looks like you have some great commentary lined up. I am looking forward to it!

    1. jacquiwine Post author

      Thanks, Brian. I hope Richard and Stu run it again next year; a couple of us have already mentioned that we’ll need another month to read all the Spanish lit books we’ve accumulated off the back of other bloggers’ reviews!

  3. Claire 'Word by Word'

    A great month of Spanish language literature Jacqui. I’m looking forward to your August reviews, if I can make a suggestion, maybe you might like to add in the Finnish artist and writer Tove Jansson</b since August is the month of her birthday and 100th anniversary #TOVE100!

    I haven't made a list of what I'll be reading for #WITMonth yet, but I already know that Elena Ferrante is at the top of the list and of course another Tove Jannson and maybe that Hanna Krall Peirene novella that’s been sitting on the shelf for a while! A good opportunity to read what’s been lying in wait!

    1. jacquiwine Post author

      Thank you, Claire. Yes, I’ve had a purple patch of reading this month!

      Tove Jansson is an excellent suggestion for Women in Translation. It’s been a while since I read The Summer Book so I ought to revisit Tove. Even if I don’t manage to in August — I have a 550-page chunkster to read for this month’s book group! — I’ll get to her soon, I’m sure. The True Deceiver, perhaps?

      Great to hear Elene Ferrante is top of your list as I rate her very highly indeed. Are you thinking of starting with My Brilliant Friend?

      Chasing the King of Hearts is excellent, very powerful, but Krall writes with a lightness of touch that counterbalances the weight of the experiences she describes. I really think you’d appreciate that book, Claire. It was unlucky to miss out on an IFFP longlisting this year…

  4. biblioglobal

    I’m happy to have come across your blog via Women in Translation month! I’m not sure how I hadn’t already come by. I loved The Mussel Feast also. I’ll look forward to hearing what you have to say about Sidewalks, that’s one I have on my reading list.

    1. jacquiwine Post author

      Thank you, and likewise, I’m very pleased to have discovered your blog, too! I’m still relatively new to blogging, so I suspect that’s why we hadn’t come across one another before.

      The Mussel Feast is great, isn’t it, and I like the way it works on a couple of different levels. Great to hear of your interest in Sidewalks; I finished reading it last week, and my review should be up in a week or two. Luiselli is a very talented writer, that’s for sure.

  5. Pingback: Weekend Wine Notes: Spanish Whites for #SpanishLitMonth, Godello and Verdejo | JacquiWine's Journal

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