March 2021 Wrap-Up

MarchAs promised, March was spent tying up a few loose ends and getting ready for the impending period of International Booker Prize madness.  The month saw a couple of preparatory posts in the form of my customary (and laughable) predictions post, as well as the traditional introduction to this year’s Shadow Panel (yes,I’m back on board!).  Of course, given the longlist was announced earlier this week, we now know what lies ahead, so look out for some reviews very soon.

There was plenty to enjoy apart from the IBP stuff, though.  The latest in my series of rehoused posts saw the return of my irreverent take on Yōko Ogawa and her translator, Stephen Snyder, while I finally bowed to public demand (well, a couple of semi-interested requests on Twitter) and provided some insights into my personal J-Lit library.  In addition, my little helper, Hayley, made a welcome return to the site with her take on a Japanese children’s book coming out later this year.  Meanwhile, along with the usual review posts, I even managed to take a second look at one of the month’s books, taking advantage of having another version of one part to have an impromptu translation slam (see below for details…).

That’s a lot to get through, so while you catch your breath, let’s approach things slowly – by taking a look at the numbers 🙂

Total Books Read: 14
Year-to-Date: 39

New: 9
Rereads: 5

From the Shelves: 5
Review Copies: 7
From the Library: 1
On the Kindle: 1 (0 review copies)

Novels: 9
Novellas: 1
Short Stories: 3
Non-Fiction: 1

Non-English Language: 12
(3 Icelandic, 2 Korean, 2 Japanese, 2 French, Russian, Arabic, German)
In Original Language: 1 (German)

Books Reviewed in March were:

1) Nordic Fauna by Andrea Lundgren
2) Zabor or The Psalms by Kamel Daoud
3) Touring the Land of the Dead by Maki Kashimada
4) An I-Novel by Minae Mizumura
5) Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
6) In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova
7) Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba
8) Summer Light, and Then Comes the Night by Jón Kalman Stefánsson
Review and Translation Slam
9) Tower by Bae Myung-hoon

Tony’s Turkey for March is: Nothing

March, fortunately, was another turkey-free zone.  I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about Klara and the Sun and In Memory of Memory in my reviews, but bringing them into turkey contention would merely have been trolling you all – and I woudn’t want to do that, now, would I? 😉

Tony’s Recommendation for March is:
Minae Mizumura’s An I-Novel

There were plenty of enjoyable books this month, with Lundgren’s collection of stories and Bae’s imaginative take on high-rise living both big hits.  However, March provided two stand-outs, and it took me a very long time (much longer than usual) to decide which to opt for.  In the end, JKS misses out, but even if it’s Mizumura’s wonderful work of autofiction that takes out this month’s prize, I’d definitely urge you all to try both 🙂

I think you all know that April will be dominated by my IBP reviews, but I’m not going to rush things (and we at the Shadow Panel are certainly not sticking to the ludicrously tight official shortlist deadline).  I suspect I’ll be sprinkling a few other reviews among the IBP posts, and I have a feeling that my little helper may well be contributing at least one of her own.  Lots to look out for, then – come back soon!

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