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The Monthly Booking: May 2023

1 May 2023. Despite my optimism at the start of last month, spring has been somewhat slow to arrive – the cherry blossom has been a bit of a non-event, and it was blanket-and-cake weather for much of April. None of this has dampened my enthusiasm for being outdoors and walking about, which has inspiredContinue reading The Monthly Booking: May 2023

‘Wisdom resides in those who have wintered’

A review of Wintering by Katherine May Wintering, Katherine May tells us in the prologue to her book of the same name, is ‘a season in the cold […] a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world.’ It is, she says, whatever the cause – in her case, a hospitalised husband,Continue reading ‘Wisdom resides in those who have wintered’

The Monthly Booking: April 2023

1 April 2023. Spring is here in the northern hemisphere – in name, at least – and, for the first time in a long time, I have made myself a reading list. I was inspired by this month’s non-fiction title, Wintering, which I happened to see in the bookshop a couple of weeks ago. ItContinue reading The Monthly Booking: April 2023

‘Crossing languages and collecting butterflies’ [book review]

Putin’s Postbox by Marcel Beyer, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire German writer Marcel Beyer is a man of many talents. For the past three decades he has been publishing poetry, fiction and essays, translating poetry by Gertrude Stein and Michael Hofmann, and helping to shape the German-speaking literary scene in his roles asContinue reading ‘Crossing languages and collecting butterflies’ [book review]

‘Translation is amazing’ [book review]

Catching Fire: A Translation Diary by Daniel Hahn Translation is an art quite unlike anything else. For those who work in the field – and probably some who don’t – it is an endless source of fascination, frustration, and a particular kind of delight. Put a group of literary translators together in a room andContinue reading ‘Translation is amazing’ [book review]

‘Not an elegant, studied gesture but a convulsive act’ [book review]

A review of In the Margins by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein In our world of instant celebrity, Elena Ferrante is something of an anomaly. For three decades, she has been publishing – with wild success – under a pseudonym, her true identity known only to her Italian publisher. Though sheContinue reading ‘Not an elegant, studied gesture but a convulsive act’ [book review]

‘Cloth tells the story’ [book review]

A review of Worn: A People’s History of Clothing by Sofi Thanhauser ‘Unerringly, cloth tells the story of the rise and fall of our societies and cultures,’ writes Sofi Thanhauser in the conclusion to Worn: A People’s History of Clothing – a statement with which, having read this richly detailed book, I am more thanContinue reading ‘Cloth tells the story’ [book review]

‘The man who planted roses’ [book review]

A review of Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit Of all the great figures of twentieth-century literature, George Orwell is without doubt one of the most towering. As Rebecca Solnit rightly points out in her recent, creatively approached biography, he is one of the few writers – of any period; another is Shakespeare – to haveContinue reading “‘The man who planted roses’ [book review]”

The Monthly Booking: October 2021

Autumn is here, meaning – hopefully – more time for reading as the evenings draw in (something my overflowing bookshelves would definitely welcome). It’s also the perfect time to indulge in some more armchair travel, with books that will be taking me on journeys through England, Uruguay, Trinidad and beyond. Happily, and quite by chance,Continue reading The Monthly Booking: October 2021

‘Something had been brutally obliterated’ [book review]

A review of Black Box by Shiori Ito, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell Content warnings: rape, sexual assault. In April 2015, Shiori Ito, then a promising young TV journalist, met up in Tokyo with Noriyuki Yamaguchi, an older and highly respected journalist she had met during a stint working in New York.Continue reading ‘Something had been brutally obliterated’ [book review]