While the vast majority of my blog posts over the past few years have been straight-forward, semi-analytical reviews, I have been known on occasion to break out of that mould and come up with something a little different. Some of these posts have actually been a lot more popular than the normal fare, and a few of them are also amongst my personal favourites. As I thought it was a shame that these posts had disappeared from the consciousness of the blogosphere, I thought it might be nice to collect them here on one page, so you can just follow the links to revisit them. Peruse, enjoy, ignore – it’s entirely up to you 😉
Part One – Odd Reviews
An oddity for its language, not its style, is my review of F.C. Delius’ Der Sonntag, an dem ich Weltmeister wurde. It deserves a mention here as it’s the only review I’ve ever written in German…
A while back, I got lost in Mrs. Dalloway on my way home from the the station, and after reading The Brothers Karamazov, I posed Dostoyevsky a few tough questions.
Kafka seems to bring out the worst in me. I became involved in the bureaucratic nightmare of The Trial, had a rather rude awakening after finishing The Metamorphosis, and was inspired to write myself into a three-act adaptation of The Castle (Act One, Act Two & Act Three) for German Literature Month 2011.
Another party I crashed was that of Vanity Fair, but if you’re looking for a guide to real classics then my dummies’ guide (in verse!) to The Iliad might be more to your taste.
While 1Q84 may not have been Haruki Murakami’s best work, it certainly inspired me to experiment a little: my review of Book One splits off into two parallel streams; Book Two sees me interview one of the supporting characters; and Book Three explores how things may have been different if Anthony Trollope had been around to give Murakami some advice…
Some recent experiments include an attempt to get my head around Enrique Vila-Matas’ Dublinesque and scattered diary entries of my attempt to scale The Magic Mountain.
Last, but certainly not least, is one of my more bizarre inventions, a literary restaurant called the Fusion Lit Bistro. So far, I’ve paid three visits to my favourite bookish diner: a solo visit to try out some mixed offerings; a lunchtime trip with Kazuo Ishiguro; and a group outing with the participants of German Literature Month 2012 to celebrate the Grimm Brothers (this one ends badly…).
Update – Once again, German Literature Month had me bringing out the bus. This time, we stopped off at ‘The Blue Angel’, where we had to deal with an unusual monster (with the help of a familiar fictional figure…). Read all about it by following the links here to Part One, Part Two and Part Three 🙂
Back for 2014, this year’s German Literature Month bus trip took to us to Vienna, where my Thomas-Bernhard-inspired post looked at some time spent at an art gallery with The Old Masters…
Part Two – Interesting Non-Review Posts
Translated fiction is one of my hobby horses, so it’s no surprise that I’ve written a few discussion pieces on the topic. Back in 2010, I wrote about my love for German and Japanese literature, and I followed this up with a piece praising translators of J-Lit into English.
Last year, I wrote a couple of more controversial posts on the topic. One was on novellas, a reaction to a post elsewhere which thought that nine of the best novellas ever came from the UK and the US. The other was a plea for people to read more translated literature, one which wasn’t always warmly received (see comments…).
Last year also saw my piece on the dilemma of criticising books received as review copies, while an earlier post took a more light-hearted look at the problems book lovers face when visiting the library 😉
Anyone for literary adaptations on television? Check out my posts (Part One & Part Two) of my experiences watching some Victorian classics brought to life on the small screen…
For those of you interested in travel, I’ve written a couple of posts on places I’ve lived in – with literary connections, of course. Before reading Helen Humphrey’s Coventry, I introduced the main attraction of my hometown, and I also examined the KinKi (Kansai) area of Japan, the setting for Tanizaki’s novel The Makioka Sisters.
And here’s some Sumo – just because 🙂
I’ll be adding to this page if and when more posts are deemed worthy of joining the collection – keep an eye out for more potty posts 🙂