The Monthly Booking: September 2020

Monthly Reading List September 2020
The Monthly Booking in September 2020

Women in Translation Month might be over, but I’m not done with women in translation yet. Not having a theme this month gives me the chance to catch up on some of the most hotly anticipated titles sitting on my shelves, including Alta L. Price’s translation of Anna Goldenberg’s I Belong to Vienna. This book is sitting on my virtual shelf, as it were, hence its rather blank appearance in the photo above.

September is a huge book month thanks to the raft of publication delays we’ve seen this year, and I’ll be reviewing a handful of these forthcoming releases as well. If you’re buying new books this month, try if you can to support your local independent bookshop and the absolutely fantastic work being done by smaller presses. Despite everything, there’s a lot of innovative publishing happening at the moment, so you certainly won’t be disappointed.

A good place to start is one of the other major excitements occurring this month: the launch of brand-new imprint V&Q Books. Based in Berlin but distributing in the UK and Ireland, the imprint is headed up by translator Katy Derbyshire and aims to bring ‘remarkable writing from Germany’ to an English-speaking readership. I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour celebrating the publication of their first three books, both here and with a review at Shiny New Books.

Before we get stuck into all that, my core list to read and review in September is:

Fiction

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes (Mantle/Pan Macmillan)

What the publisher says: ‘In A Thousand Ships, broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective, for fans of Madeline Miller and Pat Barker. [. . .] From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women embroiled in the legendary war.’

Non-fiction

The Moor: A journey into the English wilderness by William Atkins (Faber & Faber)

What the publisher says: ‘In this deeply personal journey across our nation’s most forbidding and most mysterious terrain, William Atkins takes the reader from south to north, in search of the heart of this elusive landscape. His account is both travelogue and natural history, and an exploration of moorland’s uniquely captivating position in our literature, history and psyche.’

Translation

I Belong to Vienna by Anna Goldenberg, translated from the German by Alta L. Price (New Vessel Press)

What the publisher says: ‘A defiant memoir from contemporary Europe: In autumn 1942, Anna Goldenberg’s great-grandparents and one of their sons are deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Hans, their elder son, survives by hiding in an apartment in the middle of Nazi-controlled Vienna. [. . .] A probing tale of heroism, resilience, identity and belonging, marked by a surprising freshness as a new generation comes to terms with history’s darkest era.’

Small Press

A Musical Offering by Luis Sagasti, translated from the Spanish by Fionn Petch (Charco Press)

What the publisher says: ‘Tracing a circular course that echoes Bach’s Goldberg Variations, in Luis Sagasti’s second book to appear in English he takes on the role of Scheherazade to recount us story after story, interwoven in subtle and surprising ways to create a tapestry that vibrates to celestial harmonies. He leads us on a journey from the music born of the sun to the music sent into space on the Voyager mission, from Rothko to rock music, from the composers of the concentration camps to a weeping room for Argentinian conscripts in the Falklands.’


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