March 2017 Wrap-Up

March was a bit of a funny month, with a fair amount of time spent waiting for the Man Booker International Prize Longlist to finally (!) appear.  I did manage to occupy myself in the meantime, writing my first external post for the year, a review of Christian Guay-Poliquin’s Running on Fumes for the Québec Reads site.  However, I was relieved when I was finally able to get started on my Shadow Panel duties, and you can see some of the fruits of that labour below.

Speaking of which…

Total Books Read: 12
Year-to-Date: 32

New: 10
Rereads: 2

From the Shelves: 4
Review Copies: 5
From the Library: 3
On the Kindle: 1 (1 review copy)

Novels: 8
Novellas: 0
Short Stories: 2
Non-Fiction: 1
Plays: 1

Non-English Language: 11
(3 French, 2 Japanese, German, Korean, Italian, Russian, Flemish, Hebrew)
In Original Language: 2 (German, French)

Books Reviewed in March were:
1) Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
2) Spring Garden by Tomoka Shibasaki
3) Sodome et Gomorrhe (Sodom and Gomorrah) by Marcel Proust
4) A Very Normal Man by Vincenzo Cerami
5) Der Schlaf der Gerechten (The Sleep of the Righteous) by Wolfgang Hilbig
6) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne
7) War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
8) Theory of Literature and Other Critical Writings by Natsume Sōseki
9) Compass by Mathias Énard

Tony’s Turkey for March is:
Tomoka Shibasaki’s Spring Garden

Ironically enough, after the first of Pushkin’s new set of Japanese novellas took out the main prize in February, the second is trussed up as this month’s turkey.  While Spring Garden is nice enough in parts, I felt there were some major flaws, and it never really held my attention.  I wonder what the next choice will bring…

Tony’s Recommendation for March is:
Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream

Given that I’ve raved in many places about Schweblin’s superb debut in English, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a one-horse race.  However, March turned out to have a host of contenders, including Hilbig’s collection of atmospheric stories, Énard’s latest epic and even another slice of Proust’s memories.  A tough decision, but Fever Dream takes it by a nose 😉

April will see me continue to work my way through the MBIP books, but while I may possibly finish them before the official shortlist announcement, don’t count on all of them being reviewed by that point.  In fact, there’s a fair chance that our Shadow Shortlist may be delayed a little this year, both to give us more time to peruse the contenders and to keep the official judges in suspense.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of reading to do – see you next month, same time, same place 😉


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