Category Archives: Translation

In Review January 2022

 Monthly Recap Time!

Total of Twelve!

Number of pages: 3159, number of hours: ~31 ♦ Total pages for year-to-date: 3159 ◘ total hours: ~31

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Audiobooks: Five Tuesdays in Winter, Matrix, some of Beautiful World Where Are You? (back and forth with eBook), and When We Cease to Understand the World (4)

Hardcovers: The Sentence, Intimacies, The Mermaid Chair, The World Played Chess (4)
Tradeback: Giovanni’s Room, In Concrete (2)
Paperback: Sonnets from the Portuguese (1)
eBooks: Beautiful World, Our Country Friends (2)

I did not give Our Country Friends good due. In the throes of TOB chasing, I was impatient with what I wanted to read with the timing the library was throwing them at me. I attempted to read the first chapter, read the last chapter and flip through the middle but got lost and then frustrated. I got the sense I was supposed to like Vinod and I did like app developer (though the app? what WAS that? I couldn’t figure out how that was to work. Dark arts or black magic…) The MC, his wife, the Actor — blech. Ed seemed interesting. Long story short, I think I would have liked it if I was sitting by a pool, in a beautiful setting, with all the time in the world… I will have to read another book by this Shteyngart. (I have Lake Success and Absurdistan on my tbr.) Three slices of pie, YES to pie mentions! No flavors – just a “cutie pie” about a pregnant Corgi and a “slice of pie” reference.

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I will share thoughts on Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets when I post the first edition of my Poetry Posts for this year. Right after I finish Rachel Long’s My Darling From the Lions.

I gave three stars to the translated work When We Cease to Understand the World. It’s supposed to be fiction but reads LIKE history, nonfiction. I listened to the audio which I believe helped me get through it. I may have struggled with print. BUT, that said, I might have rushed through the listen as I was wondering “what the heck *IS* this?” Pretty sure my spoof attempt of a review on goodreads was cynical and disrespectful. Maybe I was looking for the awe in all the wrong places. It’s a wild ride, for sure! Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura was a quiet introspective novel set in The Hague. I thought it captured a mystery of place, of people, of relationships, of risk in an off-balance slightly tense way. I’m not sure how memorable it will be in a few months, I’m still perplexed about some things. But I did not mind reading it. I did not need to jump to the end, jump around the middle, etc. I was a straightforward read. Whew! I’m sure I totally missed a ton of stuff and the TOB will set me straight. LOL. Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

But When the World Played was a read-the-first-then-the last attempt and it fit that method well enough. This was a book club book about a father that receives a diary from a Vietnam Vet that he met 20 years prior when he was in high school working construction. He reads the diary, reads about the horrors and the loss of faith the man experiences and at the same time, he is helping his son, a college freshman, deal with tragedy. I just didn’t have the time to read all the books from the library by their due dates. Giving this one three stars and don’t know if any pie was mentioned.

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February is LetterMo. I’m thinking of applying an alphabet theme to each day required to send a note. I’m committing to using only paper/stationery/postcards in house. Additionally, I’m taking a Facebook/Instagram break. I have the TOB books and a Classic that came through from the ILL which I didn’t expect so soon, They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple. (YAY! but WHY NOW?!?!)

Currently listening to Libertie, currently reading All’s Well. Have Subdivision in the house (Thanks Jessica!), assuming I can get The Echo Wife easy enough (on hold at Libby, will probably drop tomorrow?), and will likely have to burn my Audible credit on The Confession of Copeland Cane. Should be able to be a #TOBCompletist, no problem.

Happy February! Happy #LetterMo!

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

In Concrete

Thoughts by Anne Garrétta, Deep Vellum 2021, 185 pages

Translated by Emma Ramadan, co-owner of one of my favorite indie bookstores: RiffRaff in PVD

Challenge: TOB 2022

Genre/Theme: I have no idea!

Type/Source: Tradeback / Personal purchase from Watermark Books

What It’s About: Two precocious French girls adore their tinkering big-idea whacky fix-it father and help him pour concrete to fix up the summer house amongst other things/places/etc. They defend the honor of neighbors and attempt to ditch school (well, our narrator does) and she tells her little sister stories of the escapades while waiting for rescue when said sister becomes encased in a cement mixing & pouring mishap. FULL of amusing wordplay and punny turns of phrase.

Thoughts: A fun book — if you aren’t trying to rush through it to get it done. Alas!

I really had to force myself to slow down and not rush this. I became enthralled with curiosity for HOW the translator managed to capture and play with the words in English, only assuming the jokes must have been different in the French. My questions were answered; the book includes notes from the translator. Fascinating stuff.

No grout about it!

Very clever, a lot of fun. Their POOR MOTHER! The entire family is quite endearing. I get how some thought it a bit overdone, perhaps; but I decided to relax and go with it and feel rewarded for my effort.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Easy as pie? no way.

“Once little sis and I had unblocked our glands, it was easy as pie.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Whereabouts

Thoughts by Jhumpa Lahiri, Alfred A. Knopf 2021, 163 pages

Translated from Italian.

Challenge: 20 Books of Summer, TOB Summer Camp

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, Woman Thinking About Life

Type/Source: Hardcover, Library

What It’s About: Our unnamed main character narrates these vignettes of her days and the places these days take her. She excels at solitude.

“The tenderness he sets aside for me is enough.“

Her father was stingy, stingy at love and felt his family was a burden. Her mother never found her footing and took it out on the daughter. Each chapter seemed to have powerful last lines.

I mourned those wasted tickets, and that trip never taken, more than I mourned for you.

Thoughts: Provocatively written. Is provocative too strong a word? I could not stop reading; it was an insistent little book. It “evok[ed my] interest, attention, or and admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.” (the definition of compelling.)

Disoriented, lost, at sea, at odds, astray, bewildered, confused, uprooted, turned around.

I’m related to these related terms. These words are my abode, my only foothold.

(from Nowhere, page 153)

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned. However, there is a chapter that mentions pastry often and another had me searching for cat’s tongue cookies.

We say goodbye, separate. Then we, too, become two shadows projected onto the wall: a routine spectacle, impossible to capture.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Candide

Thoughts by Voltaire, Project Gutenberg 2006 via iBooks (orig 1759), <200 pages

For the TRANSLATED Category of the Back to the Classics, thus allowing me to claim 9 completions for the challenge!

Translated from French.

What is this book about? The adventures of a naive and mostly optimistic young privileged white boy who is brought up to believe he lives in the best of times. It is a satire. He is often beaten, robbed, swindled, abandoned, arrested, beaten up again. On the other hand, he is often rescued, meets many interesting people, finds true love and creates amazing friendships.

Yea, . . . I wasn’t in the mood and am pretty sure I did not “get” the divine meaning of this folly.

Basically, mankind sucks. Make the best of it, if you can.

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Fever Dream

Thoughts  by Samanta Schweblin, Riverhead 2017, 192 pages

Translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Contemporary Lit?
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle-Amazon
 Why I read this now: It was next on the list with a prominent spot on the bracket chart. 

MOTIVATION for READING: This one has been on my want list for some time now! but I was often deterred by cost per page. Gulp. Please don’t ask how much I’ve spent this TOB.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is an odd fast-paced frantic story of poison.

It’s about … uh,

parents caring for their children, witchcraft, and the fuzzy blurring of dreams and reality? I think. And worms.

No, not really, no worms.

WHAT’s GOOD: The pacing, the atmosphere.

What’s NOT so good: It’s too short! But this likely makes it perfect.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I believe this one the Summer version of TOB which I failed to participate in for whatever reason (the reason was moving from NC to RI; my whole world turned topsy-turvy in a good way). So I missed the wonderful discussion but the few reviews I did read (mostly yesterday!) suggest big themes so if you are curious, read this book and then go find a few reviews.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

“Sooner or later something bad is going to happen,” my mother would say. “And when it happens I want to have you close.”

Your mother is not important.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The End of Eddy

Thoughts  by Édouard Louis, Brilliance Audio 2017, 4 hours 24 minutes

Translated by Michael Lucey, Narrated by Graham Halstead

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Coming of Age, LGBTQ
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now:  It’s only 4 and 1/2 hours long. 

MOTIVATION for READING: I knew I could get it in by the end of January and have my monthly book reading stats LOOK GOOD.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Eddy is different. He knows it, everyone knows it. Though Eddy’s family does not understand nor  support him, his mother and father *do* love him, in small not-overcoming ways. At times, there was a tenderness. Heartbreaking, really.

WHAT’s GOOD: It is startling and raw. I keep coming back to these two words.

What’s NOT so good: How about a warning that it is not shy about describing EVERYTHING. Not for the faint at heart.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I just feel that it was devoid of story. It is just a recounting of his childhood and all the ways he was demeaned by his family, his community, and himself; until he was able to escape. So it has a hopeful ending, which is nice.

RATING: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

March 2017 Recap

Collection of various thoughts…

The Winner of the Rooster! The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead over Homegoing by Gyasi Yaa. Bracket image below will take you to the final judgements.

This concludes the Tournament of Books.

Now, maybe, I can get back to real life.  My brackets; my list of favorites.

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Mini Review! a DNF (sorry Mary!) rather and a recap of our book club meeting: no one had read the book. Or, no one who showed to the meeting read the book! And, everyone had a good excuse so not a big deal, things happen, I get it. So the two of us there decided to go out to dinner instead…

The Little Paris Bookshop  by Nina George. I just couldn’t quite grasp my problems with it but it was cringe-worthy many times. The premise sounded just lovely: set in Paris on a barge setup as a book store! Nifty, right? and the proprietor has a knack of recommending just the right book. Aw… but he can’t fix his own life. OK. The barge becomes unmoored and so does the tale. THEN, killer to book-malaise when in mid-stream, I read a negative review. Done; moving on. I wanted to like it but I am no longer interested in finding out what happens. Two slice of freshly baked plum tart.

We also didn’t pick a book for next month. My little afternoon club might not make it. Sniff, sniff.

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Pie Chart Time


Number of books read:  5
Number of audiobooks listened:  0
Related themes:  Set in Dublin, Literary: 2
Number of TOB books read:  1
Ratio Female:Male  1 : 4
Translated works:  2, German and Swedish
Number of books with pie:  2, an Apple and a Plum

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Sudden Death

Thoughts sdbyae by Álvaro Enrigue, Riverhead 2016, 264 pages

Translated from Spanish to English by Natasha Wimmer.

Audiobook published by Tantor Audio, narration by Robert Fass, 6 hours 57 minutes.

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Historical Fiction / Tennis Lit
Type/Source: Hardback AND Audio / Library
 Why I read this now: Selected due to shortness of the audiobook, in hopes that I could finish in January to be my 12th book of the month.

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB…

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I’m going to copy and paste one of the goodreads blurbs.

A funny and mind-bending novel about the clash of empires and ideas in the sixteenth century, told over the course of one dazzling tennis match

A brutal tennis match in Rome.

Two formidable opponents: the wild Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and the loutish Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo.

Galileo, Saint Matthew and Mary Magdalene heckle from the sidelines.

In England, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII execute Anne Boleyn, and her executioner transforms her legendary locks into the most sought-after tennis balls of the time.

Across the ocean in Mexico, the last Aztec emperors play their own games, as Hernán Cortés and his Mayan translator and lover scheme and conquer, fight and fuck, not knowing that their domestic comedy will change the course of history.

Over the course of one dazzling tennis match – through assassinations and executions, carnal liaisons and papal dramas, artistic and religious revolutions, love and war – Sudden Death tells the grand adventure of the clash of empires and the dawn of the modern era.

WHAT’s GOOD: It really is fascinating. And has its funny moments.

What’s NOT so good: It’s also too difficult to keep track of in my current end-of-month scramble to finish a book (impatience) and the wrestling with reading books I feel “I have to” and not what “I want to” — which I realize is messed-up thinking so let’s throw in the current state of the world affairs, my own crazy messy life stuff, and realizing I have a book club book to read by next week.

Allow me to share a few thoughts from my reader friends:

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FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m skimming the rest of this and do not think I will be missing anything (actually, as I miss EVERYTHING!) – in other words, I will be able to follow the upcoming TOB commentary and likely agree with everyone. If you are reading this, let me know if it has any pie.

RATING: Three slices of pie! I liked it, I’m just needing to move on. It does deserve more time and fuller attention than I care to give it at this time. I have my regrets and may I only mutter, someday…

Highly recommended for fans of lively history and TENNIS.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Germinal

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Thoughts gbyezby Émile Zola, eKindle Penguin Classics 2004 (orig 1885), 596 pages

Translation by Roger Pearson (and Notes and Introduction¹).

Audiobook gabnbylp Naxos Audio 2015, 19 hours 55 minutes, narrated by Leighton Pugh. (No translation information provided.)

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Lots of good stuff on Twitter, see hashtag #GerminalAlong. Good times talking about horrible times in the mining regions of France in the 1860s.

I found three pie mentions:
p.89 “Just you wait, you dirty little scamp. I’ll teach you to make mud-pies indeed!”

p.127 “… so to he had come to recognize them, the way one recognizes amorous magpies disporting in the pear trees in the garden.”²

p.171 “…You know it’s all pie in the sky³…”

I also consider these a cousin of pie – it’s a pastry filled with goodness, so it counts.

volauvent<– a vol-au-vent.

Zola amazes me. I’ve read Thérèse Raquin and was blown away by the grit and darkness, the skill in the story-telling, the audacity to write it in the first place. [My review of that here.] It doesn’t do much to inspire a love for much of humanity – he skewers everyone; but it is a reminder that literature is art. Germinal solidifies my understanding of the ‘naturalism literary movement’. Oh I wish I had majored in literature in college. Maybe I’ll go back when I retire.

Germinal couldn’t sound more boring and yet it is so alive! He makes history touchable / “feel-able” / real and I see why he is and was held in high regard. Skip it if you aren’t in the least bit curious, definitely read it if you want to experience history in all its grittiness and be transported to another place and time. Zola manages to capture so many motivations and is incisive yet gentle with all. Brilliant.

Rating:  Five slices of pie.

BIG SHOUT OUT to all my readalongers!  Especially Top Host Melissa (here’s her review).

 

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1 – I didn’t read the Notes and I read the Intro after, as recommended.

2 – Unverified internet research has told me that the word magpie came before ‘pie’ and may have influenced what we call these pastries. See here.

³ – I found a Slate magazine article explaining the phrase ‘pie in the sky’: … coined by a champion of the American proletariat. “Pie in the sky” comes from an early 20th-century folk song written by labor activist Joe Hill, aka Joe Hillstrom, a legendary member of the Industrial Workers of the World.

 

Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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