#Womenintranslation Month

I’m sporadically  participating in Women in Translation month.  I didn’t catch wind of this awesome project  till it was in full swing, therefore, I didn’t have much time to prepare or research books I might be interested in reading. If you’d like to know more about the project, I suggest you visit Meytal Radzinski at her blog,   Biblibio. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe she created Women in Translation month. Her blog has great stats, information, reviews and recommendations for  those interested in diversifying their reading.

  I coincidentally happened to be reading Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami at the time, so I figured better late than never. If you read my Best of July post, then you’ll know I enjoyed Manazuru quite a bit. It’s everything I’ve come to know and love about Japanese literature. 

The next book I’ve finished for the project was Self-Potrait in Green by Marie Ndiaye.

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It’s a short book (103 pages) easy to finish in one sitting. Self-Portrait in Green is translated from the original French by Jordan Stump. I picked  it up at   Powerhouse Arena books , a neat indie bookshop in Brooklyn. I hadn’t heard anything about the novel prior to picking it up, or even knowing who  Marie Ndiaye was. It was sitting on a display table and the cover intrigued me. (Indie bookshops have the best displays) Contemporary French literature for some reason isn’t as popular in the U.S., at least not with readers I know.

I can’t quite figure out my feelings towards the book. It’s bizarre, but in a good way, and it makes me curious to read the original French.  The narrator recounts her life and those of women she’s known who she thinks of as “green women”. The women’s lives are  based in tragedy with two underlying connections: their association to the narrator, and the color green. Why green? I never quite figured that out. Maybe some connection to nature and the tragic state it’s declining into…? (Clearly my English degree skills are on par).  If you like something different, something border lining the grotesque and surreal, I think you’ll appreciate this. Have any of you read anything by her? I’m curious to see if this kind of storytelling is  her norm. If so, I’ll for sure pick up more from her.

The last book I’ll probably get in by the end of the month is Happy are the Happy by Yasmina Reza.

happy and the   Happy are the Happy was translated from the original French by John Cullen. I’m only 20 pages in, but I’ve gathered this is a close look at relationships, both the trials and the mundane aspects of them. I’m not a huge fan of the writing style so far, but it’s still early in the game to have a definite opinion on it.

And that was my Women in Translation month. This a great project, and I wish I would have known about it sooner. Well, there is always next year.

Did you participate in Women in Translation month? What were your favorite reads from the challenge?

F.I.Y. I started grad school this week, so post and activity might me sporadic from now on. Will try to keep  my head in the game, (even if it’s only lurking on everyone’s post) as best as I can.

 

Happy reading 🙂

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#Readtodraw challenge

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“Beaming, she explained that all her life she’d dreamt of having green eyes rather than brown…”

This is my very first  #readtodraw picture! The Read to Draw  challenge was created by the very talented S.Z. Williams.  

I’ll let her explain what it is all about over at her blog, but basically, it’s a challenge to experience your reads through art. I’m not the best artist in the world, but this seems like fun, and isn’t it always great to see what we visualize in our heads come to life?

I drew an image from my most recent read, Self-Potrait in Green by Marie Ndiaye. I’ll talk a bit more about the book in a later post this week as it also correlates with my Women in Translation Month challenge.

Let me know if you’ll be taking part in the challenge so we can find each other on  Instagram!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday (or Monday) and Happy reading : )

 

 

Los Angeles’ Bookshops: Dave’s Olde Bookshop

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Mural infront of shop

I’m back with another  Los Angeles bookshop to show you!

First post: Pages, a Bookstore

We’re sill in the South Bay, but this time around we’re looking at a used  bookshop called Dave’s Olde Bookshop.

Directions: 2123 Artesia Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

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Dave’s Olde Bookshop is located in Redondo Beach and it is the largest used bookshop in the South Bay.It’s not hard to miss if you driving down Artesia plus the big Books! banner  won’t let you. It’s nestled on a corner right next to a  Hookah lounge and a grocery store. Parking is in the back, and there is plenty of it!

 I equate used bookshops to treasure hunts. Unpredictable treasure hunts. There is a lot of combing around in the hopes of finding books that have been on your wish list for eons. You might get lucky, or you might decide to hightail it out and shell out the extra cash at the fancy indie, the Barnes and Nobles down the street, or the highly convenient Amazon.  Used bookshops are resting grounds for recycled books, and often times they resemble just that. Whenever I’m in one,  my desire to organize usually trumps my desire to treasure hunt. Needless to say, I hit up Dave’d Olde Bookshop with a bit of trepidation, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

IMG_1284Dave’d Olde Bookshop is probably the most well organized bookstore I have ever been too. There were no books carelessly thrown in the aisles, no books piled up in random order on the shelves. and no mystery and horror hanging out in the romance section. Although, they did have Faefever in the romance section instead of Fantasy, but so does Barnes and Nobles,  so I’m not holding that against them. The books were separated by category and genre, and thankfully, in alphabetical order. I got the sense that the store was run and curated by readers, and that made all the difference.

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In addition to contemporary used books, Dave’s Olde Bookshop also sales rare and  collectable books. These can be found behind the counter.

In keeping with the theme of this project, I shopped with the intention of  finding authors I’d never heard of, and their debut novels. That became pretty difficult, especially in the face of so many books I’ve been coveting for quite some time at half price.  Since I was in a old bookshop, with a lot of really old and might I add hilariously bad 80’s covers, I decided to alter my search and buy something vintage by an author I’d never heard of. The store’s pride is their mystery section, and that is where I found these two.

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Back in their heyday, these were a whooping 50 cent a piece! Ironically less than what I paid for them at the bookstore, but it’s all good. They have those delicious brown pages that smell divine.

IMG_1300  Death Mask by Ellis Peters

IMG_1301Death and the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters (This one won the Mystery Writers of America “Edgar” Award, and it  was named the Mystery of the year back in 1961)

Don’t know anything about them at this point, but I enjoy a good mystery and their synopsis’ sound promising. If on the off chance any of you have heard of these or read them, let me know!

 As Carl Sagan says, ” A Book is proof that humans are capable of Magic.” I will definitely be back to Dave’s Olde Bookshop to try and find some of that magic.

How to do you feel about your local used bookshop?

Happy Reading 🙂

Weekend Reads.

Decompressing from a really busy weekend with some tea and catching up on all the post I missed.  I went away for the weekend again, and had to rush back to L.A. Sunday for an event.  The days away were fun, and the event was  fantastic,  traffic, however, was not. As any booknerd is prone to do, I made good usage of my time in traffic by listening to audio books! I made a good dent in  Just Kids by Patti Smith.

Just KidsI’ve heard nothing but lovely things about this, and so far I agree with all of them. Memoir is usually hit or miss with me, and it looks like this one is going to be a hit. Her writing is so lovely. 

EmberThen I finished An Ember in the Ashes  by Sabaa Tahir. This is a YA fantasy novel with a bit of a desert setting. It took me by surprise, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve burned myself out a bit on fantasy this past year, especially YA fantasy, but reading this was perfect. It follows Laia and Elias, two teens who live very different lives. One has power and privilege, the other has poverty and fear.If you think you know where this is going, you’re wrong.  It was different, perfectly paced, and intriguing.

Manazuru Lastly, I finished Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami today during my lunch break at work. I started Saturday morning, and haven’t really been able put it down.  It’s official, Hiromi Kawakami is going to be my new obsession. I suspected as much after finishing The Briefcase a few months ago. Once again, she has woven a simple yet intricate tale of love, obsession, loneliness, and the mundane. Kei, the protagonist of Manazuru, is obsessed with the disappearance of her husband. Left alone with her thirteen year old daughter, she is still unable to let go. She travels to  Manazuru, a beach town that she suspects is pivotal in her husband’s disappearance. As you read the novel, you’re caught up in the tiny details of Kei’s life, and within those details, you can’t help but notice that not everything is as it seems.

I did pretty good for a busy weekend. How was your weekend, and what did you read?

Best of July 2015

July was an up and down month for me.  I dnfed a lot, but still  managed to finish thirteen books. I got into a fitness kick, which meant I spent most of the month with achy muscles. I went on a few much needed weekend getaways, and I discovered some yummy new foods. Can’t believe August is already here. One more month till this dreadful season is over. Cheers!

Books:

I started the month off with some much needed fun time reads, and that is exactly what I got with Ms. Marvel.
Mz. Marvel Ms. Marvel is all the rage on BookRiot, and since I’m such a noob to comics,  I tend to trust those peeps on mostly all of their comic recommendations.I enjoyed it. I thought it was light and funny and very necessary.

Jumping from light and fun, to dark depressing, I saw my self in Morrison land. God Help The Child, more like God help Me.

God HelpThis one was not an easy one to swallow. Toni Morrison’s writing is honest and despite the bleakness of her content, it’s a stark reminder to never forget  the world we live in.  God Help the Child will make you cringe and cry, and I  don’t know if that works for a recommendation, but there you go.

Also, check out this really great conversation between her and Farah Jasmine Griffin. 

The SecThe Secret In Their Eyes left me with a book hangover. It haunts you long after you finish it. It’s a glimpse into the dark side of Argentina’s history as well as the dark side of humans. The novel is very contemplative and  nostalgic, yet oddly uplifting. Its ending it not at all what you would expect, and that was part of its charm. Really lovely and melancholic.

Then I feel in a  Charley Davidson hole, and I’m just now resurfacing.

Char 1 Char 2Char 3Char 4Char 5Sixth GraveSeventh GraveChar 8

 

The Charley Davidson series is an ongoing urban fantasy series centering around Charley Davidson a.k.a. the grim reaper. It follows her exploits as a P.I. for both the living and the dead in Albuquerque,  New Mexico, her addiction to mocha lattes, and her complicated relationship with Reyes Farrow, the son of Satan.  It’s hilarious. I haven’t had this much fun with a series in too long, maybe since The Fever Series, and you all know how much I adore those. There are currently 8 books out and a novella. I’m thinking of doing a series spotlight for these because I want to talk about them a bit more. While there is mostly love for these, I do have some issues with last book, but I still highly recommend them with a caveat:  clear your schedule before starting.

Also, July was a really great writing month. I’ve been forcing myself to write at least 30 minutes a day, and it hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting it done!

Since coming back to blogging, I’ve been taking a different approach, one that isn’t so concentrated on reviews, and I’m finding myself enjoying this again. I’m still trying to find what works for me, and I know that I mostly want to focus on books and literature, but I want room to breath and talk about other stuff too. Hopefully you’ll still stick around 🙂

What was your July like?