August 2020 Wrap-Up – Women In Translation Month

While the weather has been relatively mild during our second month of lockdown, August did bring more than its fair share of rainy days, so it was good to have a number of bookish distractions to help us Melburnians through the days.  For one thing, this month was Women In Translation Month, and I managed to read some great new books, and revisit some old friends.  This year’s posts can be found below, but if you were wondering whether I manage to get to any women in translation outside August, this post should answer your question.

Another positive about this month was the decision of the Edinburgh International Book Festival to go digital, and make all the sessions free.  I managed to ‘attend’ eight talks, most looking at the International Booker Prize shortlist titles, and over the past week I summarised those sessions in a series of posts for those of you who missed them (click in the relevant place for Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four).

Of course, there was also the small matter of the belated announcement of this year’s IBP winner.  The judges’ choice was Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s The Discomfort of Evening, translated by Michele Hutchison and published by Faber & Faber.  You can see my review here, and even if the book wasn’t among my favourites from this year’s longlist, it was still an interesting read – congratulations to all involved 🙂

Well, that was a fairly lengthy introduction – I think we need to move on to the stats 😉

Total Books Read: 15
Year-to-Date: 99

New: 6
Rereads: 9

From the Shelves: 11
Review Copies: 4
From the Library: 0
On the Kindle: 1 (1 review copy)

Novels: 13
Novellas: 1
Short Stories: 1
Non-Fiction: 0

Non-English Language: 15
(8 Japanese, 2 Korean, 2 German, 2 Norwegian, Russian)
In Original Language: 2 (2 German)

Books Reviewed in August were:

1) Tropic of Violence by Nathacha Appanah
2) Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi
3) The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng, tr./ed. JaHyun Kim Haboush
4) The Man Who Couldn’t Die by Olga Slavnikova
5) People From My Neighbourhood by Hiromi Kawakami
6) The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi
7) Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann
8) b, Book, and Me by Kim Sagwa

Tony’s Turkey for August is: Nothing

I found Kim’s book a little light for my tastes, but it was still a decent read, and that’s as close as we came to a turkey this month.

Tony’s Recommendation for August is:
Fumiko Enchi’s The Waiting Years

Enchi never disappoints, and despite some stiff competition from Bachmann (and an eighteenth-century Korean princess), this month’s honours were never likely to go anywhere else.  The Waiting Years is perhaps the perfect book for #WITMonth, examining as it does the plight of women in a patriarchal society, but when you add the superb psychological development and writing, it only makes it better.  Definitely one for you all to try 🙂

September will be spent with a few books that have rolled in over the past month or so (somehow making it past the virtual border blockade), and I’ll be hoping for some nice weather, plus, if we’re lucky, the opportunity to leave the house more than once a day.  Whatever happens, though, you can all rest assured that I’ve got enough books to supply material for the blog for a good while yet – see you very soon for some more reviews 😉

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