Category: Random

The 2024 International Booker Longlist

Posted March 12, 2024 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Prizes / 4 Comments

Adding this here as The International Booker Prize is my favourite literary prize to follow and I secretly hope to read all the books. At the time of posting this, I have not read any of these books, but now to start searching for all the books I currently don’t own.

  • Not a River by Selva Almada (translated by Annie McDermott)
  • Simpatía by Rodrigo Blanco Calderon (translated by Noel Hernández González and Daniel Hahn)
  • Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck (translated by Michael Hofmann)
  • The Details by Ia Genberg (translated by Kira Josefsson)
  • White Nights by Urszula Honek (translated by Kate Webster)
  • Mater 2-10 by Hwang Sok-yong (translated by Sora Kim-Russell and Youngjae Josephine Bae)
  • A Dictator Calls by Ismail Kadare (translated by John Hodgson)
  • The Silver Bone by Andrey Kurkov (translated by Boris Dralyuk)
  • What I’d Rather Not Think About by Jente Posthuma (translated by Sarah Timmer Harvey)
  • Lost on Me by Veronica Raimo (translated by Leah Janeczko)
  • The House on Via Gemito by Domenico Starnone (translated by Oonagh Stransky)
  • Crooked Plow by Itamar Vieira Junior (translated by Johnny Lorenz)
  • Undiscovered by Gabriela Wiener (translated by Julia Sanches)

The 2023 International Booker Longlist

Posted March 15, 2023 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Prizes / 4 Comments

The International Booker Prize is my favourite literary prize I like to follow. Every year I am excited to see the longlist and hope to be able to read it in its entirety. As I am in Australia, this is always a difficult task. When the longlist drops, I often scramble to see if my library has the books to reserve and every year I hope that I have read a large portion of the list to make things easier. This year is going to be a challenge, I do not own any of these books. I know I will not complete the entire longlist before the winner is announced, I create this post to make it easier for me to track my progress.

  • Ninth Building by Zou Jingzhi (translated by Jeremy Tiang)
  • A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding by Amanda Svensson (translated by Nichola Smalley)
  • Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel (translated by Rosalind Harvey)
  • Pyre by Perumal Murugan (translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan)
  • While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer (translated by Katy Derbyshire)
  • The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier (translated by Daniel Levin Becker)
  • Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv by Andrey Kurkov (translated by Reuben Woolley)
  • Is Mother Dead by Vigdis Hjorth (translated by Charlotte Barslund)
  • Standing Heavy by GauZ’ (translated by Frank Wynne)
  • Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov (translated by Angela Rodel)
  • The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé (translated by Richard Philcox)
  • Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan (translated by Chi-Young Kim)
  • Boulder by Eva Baltasar (translated by Julia Sanches)

The 2022 International Booker Longlist

Posted March 10, 2022 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Prizes / 0 Comments

  • Paradais by Fernanda Melchor (translated by Sophie Hughes)
  • Heaven by Mieko Kawakami (translated by Sam Bett David Boyd)
  • Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park (translated by Anton Hur)
  • Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu (translated by Tiffany Tsao)
  • Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro (translated by Frances Riddle)
  • The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman (translated by Leslie Camhi)
  • More Than I Love My Life by David Grossman (translated by Jessica Cohen)
  • Phenotypes by Paulo Scott (translated by Daniel Hahn)
  • A New Name: Septology VI-VII by Jon Fosse (translated by Damion Searls)
  • After the Sun by Jonas Eika (translated by Sherilyn Hellberg)
  • Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree (translated by Daisy Rockwell)
  • The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk (translated by Jennifer Croft)
  • Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung (translated by Anton Hur)

The 2021 International Booker Longlist

Posted March 30, 2021 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Prizes / 0 Comments

  • Wretchedness by Andrzej Tichý (translated by Nichola Smalley)
  • An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky (translated by Jackie Smith)
  • At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop (translated by Anna Moschovakis)
  • I Live in the Slums by Can Xue (translated by Karen Gernant Chen Zeping)
  • In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova (translated by Sasha Dugdale)
  • Minor Detail by Adania Shibli (translated by Elisabeth Jaquette)
  • Summer Brother by Jaap Robben (translated by David Doherty)
  • The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez (translated by Megan McDowell)
  • The Employees by Olga Ravn (translated by Martin Aitken)
  • The Pear Field byNana Ekvtimishvili (translated by Elizabeth Heighway_
  • The Perfect Nine by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (translated by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o)
  • The War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard (translated by Mark Polizzotti)
  • When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut (translated by Adrian Nathan West)

The 2020 International Booker Longlist

Posted February 27, 2020 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Prizes / 0 Comments

  • The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (translated by Michele Hutchison)
  • The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili (translated by Charlotte Collins & Ruth Martin)
  • The Enlightenment of The Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (translated by Anonymous)
  • The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (translated by Stephen Snyder)
  • The Other Name: Septology I – II by Jon Fosse (translated by Damion Searls)
  • Tyll byDaniel Kehlmann (translated by Ross Benjamin)
  • Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano (translated by Sophie Lewis & Jennifer Higgins)
  • Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (translated by Sophie Hughes)
  • Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin (translated by Megan McDowell)
  • Mac and His Problem by Enrique Vila-Matas (translated by Margaret Jull Costa & Sophie Hughes)
  • Red Dog by Willem Anker (translated by Michiel Heyns)
  • Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq (translated by Shaun Whiteside)
  • The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara (translated by Fiona Mackintosh & Iona Macintyre)

The 2019 Man Booker International Longlist

Posted March 13, 2019 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Prizes / 0 Comments

This post will serve more as a place to link all my reviews together. Much like last year I do plan to read the entire longlist. I read all by one last year, leaving Going, Went, Gone for later, which turns out might mean never. This was an interesting selection, and I managed to only predict two of the thirteen books. So far I have read two already, which means I only need to read another eleven.

Most of my writing about the Man Booker will be over on Translated Lit before I post them here.

  • Jokha Alharthi (Arabic / Omani), Marilyn Booth, Celestial Bodies (Sandstone Press Ltd)
  • Can Xue (Chinese / Chinese), Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, Love in the New Millennium (Yale University Press)
  • Annie Ernaux (French / French), Alison L. Strayer, The Years (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • Hwang Sok-yong (Korean / Korean), Sora Kim-Russell, At Dusk (Scribe, UK)
  • Mazen Maarouf (Arabic / Icelandic and Palestinian), Jonathan Wright, Jokes For The Gunmen (Granta, Portobello Books)
  • Hubert Mingarelli (French / French), Sam Taylor, Four Soldiers (Granta, Portobello Books)
  • Marion Poschmann (German / German), Jen Calleja, The Pine Islands (Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail)
  • Samanta Schweblin (Spanish / Argentine and Italian), Megan McDowell, Mouthful Of Birds (Oneworld)
  • Sara Stridsberg (Swedish / Swedish), Deborah Bragan-Turner, The Faculty Of Dreams (Quercus, MacLehose Press)
  • Olga Tokarczuk (Polish / Polish), Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Spanish / Colombian), Anne McLean, The Shape Of The Ruins (Quercus, MacLehose Press)
  • Tommy Wieringa (Dutch / Dutch), Sam Garrett, The Death Of Murat Idrissi (Scribe, UK)
  • Alia Trabucco Zeran (Spanish / Chilean and Italian), Sophie Hughes, The Remainder (And Other Stories)

I Want To Do More

Posted December 18, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in What I Think About When I'm Not Blogging / 8 Comments

I have been talking about my future in blogging and other mediums for a while now. I still do not know what the right answer is. As my reading has shown, I want to spend more time talking about books in translation. I am so passionate about my new-found niche that I keep having thoughts of killing my blog and rebuilding it with a focus. Although I think this is a bad idea, I keep wanting to find new ways to promote world literature, because I think it does not get enough attention. It has improved in the past few years but there is a long way to go.

One of the reoccurring thoughts was to build something like Book Riot, Electric Lit or Lithub but have it focus solely on promoting books in translation. However, this idea is just far too big for one person and would require others to help. My past experiences with trying to get others involved have taught me that something like this rarely works unless everyone has the same level of passion. Which has led me to try and come up with new ideas to promote books in translation.

I currently have podcast called Lost in Translations dedicated to talking about books in translation, but I want to do more. I need ideas. I would love to grow the brand and offer more but I need to think smaller. I have decided to do more on the blog that is less reviews and more in the style of essays. Maybe I can incorporate my desire to improve my writing with my passion to promote translations. Maybe I need to start writing those articles promoting world literature but post them on my blog. I do not know, my desires to do more are far greater than my personal abilities. I have big ideas but need to focus on my capabilities.

I hope to be blogging more in the future, it really is my favourite medium and I have tried many. I love my podcast, which needs guests if anyone is interested, but I do think writing might be my primary focus. Next year makes ten years blogging and I hope it will be a successful year for my writing. I write this to communicate the thoughts circling in my head lately and help get myself back into blogging. Between being made redundant and then NaNoWriMo, I have not dedicated much time to writing for the blog. I hope to do more, I miss it. It is almost like an addiction. If I am not posting something it feels like I am not writing, which is not always the case. I guess I just like the feeling of accomplishment I get when I post my writing on my blog.

I think in 2019 I will try transforming my blog more into a media type site, focusing more on writing articles and keeping people informed about world literature. I am not sure what this will look like, if this will mean a name change or anything else. I will just do my part to work towards creating the content I would like to see.

Distracted by Other Books

Posted October 2, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 12 Comments

My Thoughts and Reading in September 2018

For the past few months it has felt like I have really slowed down in my reading, and that felt a little demoralising. Granted, to use the world ‘demoralising’ when referring to one’s reading life is very much a first world problem. To think my biggest problems in my life is about my reading journey really does mean that I have a pretty great life. I am currently in a period of uncertainty with my job where I am unsure if I will be made redundant and yet my concern is directed towards how many books I have read in a single month. As much as I would love to keep my current job, I feel at ease around the whole situation, one path leaves me with work, the other leads to a pay out and more reading time. While I do experience a little worry, it only comes in short waves and honestly I feel like they would be stupid to get rid of me.

Getting back to my reading month, I started off by finishing The Shape of the Ruins. I had put this one aside for the entire month of August because it was Women in Translations Month. Which makes me feel like I have done this book a disservice. Setting down a book normally is caused by not enjoying what I am reading but in this case I was literally distracted by other books. I am more interested in being a part of this great reading event. Juan Gabriel Vásquez is an amazing writer and I feel like my recent discovery of his books is one of the highlights of the year, but when women in translation month came along I could not stop myself from focusing on that event. Do you ever get that feeling? Sometimes I want to go into the new month with a clean slate but there will always be other books to distract my reading journey. I have found my reading niche, and I am happy that my focus is solely on translations, probably because I am now being distracted by less books than before.

One of the highlights of September was a weekend away from everything. My wife had to go down to Brisbane for work, and I decided to come along for the ride. I had a few days in a hotel room with some books I wanted to read. This was an amazing experience. I took down Aracoeli, Fever and Spear and Wait, Blink to occupy my time. There is something refreshing about stepping away from the distractions of your life to focus on some reading. I think this reignited the passion within me and kicked my reading back into normal gear. I was not experiencing a reading slump but I think I was lacking the motivation to read as frequently as I normally do. As far as the three books are concerned, Fever and Spear was the clear highlight. I think I am not smart enough to fully appreciate Aracoeli, but I will get there and Wait, Blink was just a fun quirky read.

The National Book Award in America last year announced that they had added a translated literature award and this month we finally got to see what was on their first longlist. My initial reaction to the list was one of curiosity, mainly because I was unfamiliar with half the picks. There were some obvious choices like Flights which won the Man Booker International prize this year. However The Beekeeper is an interesting pick, mainly because it is the only non-fiction book to make the list. I do feel like I should read the entire longlist just to be a part of the conversation. I listen to a podcast called The Three Percent Podcast which focuses mainly on translations and the publishing world, and just listening to the way they talk so critically about this longlist makes me envious. I know I have only recently focused on reading translations but I hope to be able to get to a point in my life where I can just scoff at a longlist the same way as the hosts. This kind of reaction happens all the time when an award like the Man Booker International longlist is announced. I feel like that kind of familiarity towards the choices is definitely a reading goal for me. Out of the ten books picked, I had only read one of the books picked (Flights), but at the end of this month I have completed three more (Wait, Blink, Love and Trick). Two others are currently being read (Comemadre and Disoriental). Which is leaving me in a really good position to complete the rest of the list, which are Aetherial Worlds, The Beekeeper, One Part Woman and The Emissary. Expect to see reviews from all these books in the next few months.

I finished off the month reading African Psycho, which is obviously a parody on American Psycho but I think I enjoyed it more. Not because there was anything special about the novel, mainly because it was a very different book to what I expected. Half the book I felt was a struggle, and that seemed to be the author emulating that obsession found in American Psycho, but the ending really pulled the whole book together. Finally I ended the month on a low note, The Silence of the Girls, which was the book club pick for October. It was a boring retelling of the Trojan War told from the perspective of a female slave. There was so much potential in exploring the fears this woman might have faced but Pat Barker missed the opportunity. This was told from the first person perspective of the slave so we could hear her thoughts, but for the most part the author wrote lines like “I was scared” regarding a situating with nothing more. You know that old writing advice “show don’t tell”? Pat Barker should have listened to that advice. Just writing about this is making me angry and I have said more about this novel than the others because this will be the last time I put any effort into writing about The Silence of the Girls.

I mentioned that I am currently reading Comemadre and Disoriental. I also mentioned that I want to complete the National Book Awards longlist for translated literature, so I do need to mention that again. I have been feeling very motivated and I hope to take that opportunity to write more. I still have a few reviews to write but I also want to get back into BookTube. I love talking about literature and looking for as many ways to do so as possible. Have you seen The Literary Discord? For those who do not know, Discord is like a modern day forum, it was created mainly for games as a place to build communities, but other communities have utilised it as well, including me when I created The Literary Discord as another place to talk about literature. My plan to return to BookTube is to push myself to speak about books that do not get enough attention (translations). It is a way to practise speaking and develop my voice. I have this blog and my podcast that I am passionate about, I hope to be able to bring that same passion back to BookTube, because I lost it. I hope this new found energy continues for me and I hope you have all had a great reading month.

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Distracted by Other Books

Posted September 11, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 14 Comments

My Thoughts and Reading in August 2018

August is Women in Translations month, which means there is a big influx of people reading translations, even the publishers and big bookish media seem to promote the event. This feels like a double edge sword for me, while I love that more people are reading from my corner of the bookish world, there are plenty of cringe worthy moments to be had as well. There are people who like to make themselves the authority of the topic despite showing no interest previously in the male/female balance in the world of translations. Admittedly this reaction I have is just my grumpiness coming to play and in reality I should be thankful to see so many people participate in a month dedicated to reading women in translations. For those that did not want to dedicate a whole month, some BookTubers even put together a Women in Translations readathon, but I will not be discussing my problem with readathons here.

I had planned my reading month, thinking that while vacationing around Tasmania I would have more reading time than expected. I packed four books to read during the trip, plus a kindle but I only managed to complete one novel during that entire trip, and it was not even a book I was enjoying. Prior to my vacation, I had read Convenience Store Woman, a book that I still think about to this day. The hype surrounding this book is justified. I also read The Door with my wife, which was discussed on the latest episode of Lost in Translations. Before my trip, I scheduled six reviews for my blog, all being women in translations. I am pleased to say, that I am pretty much up to date with reviewing, as I have made the choice not to review every book I read. I want to spend more time writing essays and improving my writing abilities so while reviews seem to be an important aspect of my blog, I hope this means that I will write more.

Tasmania was an amazing experience, I have not been there before and I really enjoyed the cold weather. I got to experience snow falling for the first time, most non-Australians might think this is not as special as I make it out to be. The book I read while away was Oneiron; it was not for me, and I really struggled to get through it. I understand what Laura Lindstedt was trying to do by putting these women in this situation and have them reflect on their lives but I was disappointed. I did however start Aracoeli and I am having a much better experience. Elsa Morante is a wonderful writer and for those who do not know her, she is one of the authors that influenced the writing of Elene Ferrante.

During my trip I visited bookstores every chance I got, which did leave me with a much heavier bag by the end of the trip. I wanted to limit my purchasing by focusing on expanding my women in translation collection but I failed at that. So many stores seemed to have a very limited selection for translations, which is fast becoming the biggest downside of my reading niche. The feeling of leaving a bookstore empty handed is heart breaking for a book lover. However, if I started to complain about the amount of books I did end up purchasing, I would be lying to myself. I have so many amazing books to read, I just need to find the time.

After Tasmania we stopped in Melbourne for the weekend and attended the Melbourne Writers Festival. This year had an amazing line up and I think I want to write about what I saw in a different post. The festival has inspired me to be more active in my blogging and to write more pieces, so let’s see if it pays off. The final book I read before going back to work was Sofi Oksanen’s novel Purge. Previously I read When the Doves Disappeared which I liked but did not love, honestly, I think Purge is a far superior novel. Because it was Women in Translations month, I think it is necessary to check my reading stats to see if I have a balanced reading life this year. I am pleased to say that 75% of my reading have been translations, which is indicative of my passion. With 52% being books written by women. I hope to maintain this balance, but I know how easy it is to have the statistics change.

Happy reading everyone.

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Distracted by Other Books

Posted August 2, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 7 Comments

My Thoughts and Reading in July 2018

I do not know if it is just a mid-year thing, or just a feeling but I have been feeling highly critical of my blogging lately. For the past month I have been plagued with the thought of deleting everything and starting fresh. Rebranding and focusing on my passion for translated literature. Ironically this is the month I celebrate nine years blogging as Knowledge Lost. There was a time where I had two blogs, the other was a dedicated book blog called Literary Exploration but I merged them into one a few years ago. Now I just want to dump all my writing and start fresh. Knowing full well that if I did take such an extreme action that I would regret it. Part of me loves that I can view my old writing and see how much I have improved, and the other just wants to make it disappear.

If I was to start fresh I would focus a hundred percent on translated literature, and look for ways to promote them. I would probably make it an extension of Lost in Translations. There is also a part of me that would love to see something collaborative dedicated to promoting translations, but past experiences make me wary of collaborations. I know something like this would be awesome but I know how quickly people lost their passion for a project like this.  These feelings are disconcerting because all I want to do is promote literature, particularly books in translation but I feel like no one is listening.

Knowledge Lost has always been a place to store all my writing and even if I feel shame towards most of it, I know I would regret losing it. I have to work past my feelings of angst towards past me but I do not know the best way forward. I do think this is just a feeling that will pass but it is taking far too long. I feel plagued and my mind is going around in circles. If this is the biggest life problem I have, I should be thankful. I am curious to see if I will come up with a satisfactory solution or if the feeling will just fade away.

A slow reading month might be the effects of these feeling but it has not caused me to slow down in writing. In fact I have set aside an hour every week day after work to just focus on blogging. This has helped me increase my output on posts. I participated in the Spanish and Portuguese reading month hosted by Winstonsdad’s Blog and Caravana de Recuerdos, mainly because I had a few books I needed to review from Latin America. I do think that being a part of a community helps push me to be more active and I really appreciate that. I need the motivation and if I end up not blogging, I normally get annoyed with myself.

The first book I finished in July was The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa, which was translated by legendary translator Edith Grossman. I enjoyed so much about this novel but the sex scenes really ruined the experience for me. I have already posted a review on this one and I do not think there is anything else to say about The Neighborhood. They Know Not What They Do by Jussi Valtonen, (translated by Kristian London) was the biggest let down of my month and might have contributed to a slow reading month. It was marketed as a psychological satire and the back says it is the book for fans of Jonathan Franzen and Dave Eggers. My experience was just a five hundred page generic thriller. While I can see how it might compare to something like Dave Eggers The Circle, I was far from impressed. I love a good satirical novel but I think there are two types, the one that thinks it is clever but is just exploring the same ideas repeatedly because it cares more about the plot or the one that subtly works in some ideas that will leave the reader thinking. Or to put is simply, the ones that tells you what to think and the ones that make you think. They Know Not What They Do very much had its own ideas and you can get that information by reading the synopsis.

Luckily the two other books I read this month were both amazing, one being The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson (translated by Thomas Teal) and the other was La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono, (translated by Lawrence Schimel). I want to talk about both in greater detail, so you might have to wait for the reviews. The True Deceiver is the second Tove Jansson novel I have read (Fair Play was the other) and I really appreciate the character studies she does in her books. Both feature two women and their relationship with each other and both are well worth reading. La Bastarda is the first novel by an Equatorial Guinean woman to be translated into English, which in itself is pretty exciting. I have so much I want to say, in regards to Fang culture and how this novel relates to Western culture but you will have to wait for the review. All I can say for now is that it is well worth reading.

I was distracted all month long with my thoughts on blogging but that did not stop me from being distracted by other books. I have currently three books on the go now and am eagerly awaiting August. Not because it is Women in Translations month but also because I will have some much needed vacation time, where I get to travel to Tasmania and then I will be attending the Melbourne Writers Festival. I bought two new books which might be read in August but surprisingly I did not add any new books to my wishlist. I know I have thought about all the other books I want to be reading but they were mostly other books I own. I hope August is a better month for me.

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