The Journey Toward The Man Booker International Prize Begins Again for The Shadow Jury

Just as the drab chill of winter seems it will drag endlessly on, along with the flu it has brought me just before Valentine’s Day, a bright spot appears on my reading horizon: the formation of the Man Booker International Prize Shadow Jury.

There are some changes this year, as a few former members have stepped down, but new members have stepped up, and I’m so pleased to introduce the 2018 panel to you here:

Tony Malone is an Anglo-Australian reviewer with a particular focus on German-language, Japanese and Korean fiction. He blogs at Tony’s Reading List, and his reviews have also appeared at Words Without Borders, Necessary Fiction, Shiny New Books and Asymptote. Based in Melbourne, he teaches ESL to prospective university students when he’s not reading and reviewing. He can be found on Twitter @tony_malone.

Lori Feathers lives in Dallas, Texas and is co-owner and book buyer for Interabang Books, an independent bookstore in Dallas. She is a freelance book critic and board member of the National Book Critics Circle. For the last two years she has served as a fiction judge for the Best Translated Book Award. Her recent reviews can be found @LoriFeathers

Bellezza (Meredith Smith)is a teacher from Chicago, Illinois, who has been writing Dolce Bellezza for twelve years and has hosted the Japanese Literature Challenge for 11 years. Reading literature in translation has become a great passion, especially since the five years she has been a shadow juror for the IFFP and now the MBIP. Her Twitter name is @bellezzamjs

David Hebblethwaite is a book blogger and reviewer from the north of England, now based in the south. He has written about translated fiction for Words Without Borders, Shiny New Books, Strange Horizons, and We Love This Book. He blogs at David’s Book World and tweets as @David_Heb

Vivek Tejuja is a book blogger and reviewer from India and based in Mumbai. He loves to read books in Indian languages and translated editions of languages around the world (well, essentially world fiction, if that’s a thing). He also writes for Scroll.In and The Quint. He blogs at The Hungry Reader and tweets as @vivekisms. His first book, “So Now You Know”, a memoir of growing up gay in Mumbai in the 90s, is out in April 2018 by Penguin Random House.

Paul Fulcher is a Wimbledon, UK based fan of translated fiction, who contributes to The Mookse and The Gripes blog and is active on Goodreads, where he moderates a MBI readers’ group. He is on the jury of the Republic of Consciousness Prize (@prizeRofC), which rewards innovative fiction, including in translation, from small independent presses. His reviews can be found at @fulcherpaul and via his Goodreads page.

María José Navia lives in Santiago, Chile. She has an M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought (NYU) and a PhD in Literature and Cultural Studies (Georgetown University). She is currently an Assistant Professor at Chile’s Catholic University. She is also a published author (one novel, two collections of short stories) and is in the process of translating Battleborn (by Claire Vaye Watkins) into Spanish. You can read one of her stories, in English, in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of World Literature Today. She blogs at Ticket de Cambio and her twitter name is @mjnavia

Naomi Morauf is a voracious reader and avid tweeter with a particular interest in translated and speculative fiction. She moved to London for her philosophy degree and fell predictably into its clutches, working in media analysis as a broadcast editor before moving into book publishing. A Creative Access alumna and active member of the Society of Young Publishers and BAME in Publishing, she is a regular at Post Apocalyptic Book Club and the Dark Societies series of events. She is currently reviewing submissions at Unsung Stories.

Oisin Harris lives in Canterbury, UK and is an editor-in-the-making with a Publishing MA from Kingston University and an English degree from Sussex University. He is an academic librarian, and a freelance editor and proofreader. He has written about Women in Translation, Book Histories and how they can affect Book Futures, as well as on Islam and Literature in the West. When not reading or writing he can be found on Twitter @literaryty

Frances Evangelista is an educator from the Washington DC area who has been blogging about books for over ten years at Nonsuch Book and chatting on Twitter about the same @nonsuchbook. She has participated in a variety of projects including a Man Booker Shadow Panel for the last three years, and is eager to spread her wings with this MBIP panel.

We eagerly await the arrival of the long list on March 12, hoping to read and review every single book before the short list appears on April 12. Certainly the job will be done by the announcement of the winner on May 22. Be sure to check out our blogs, and Twitter-ings, as we read and discuss what consistently proves to be the most exciting reading I do all year.

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Books Read in 2017

Books Read in 2017

~January~

~February~

~March~

  • Dumpling Days by Grace Lin
  • The Golden Key by George MacDonald (short story)
  • The Years That Followed by Catherine Dunne (unfinished)
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (translated from Swedish by Henning Koch)
  • Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell, MBIP 2017 short list)
  • War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans (translated from Dutch by David Mckay, MBIP 2017 long list)
  • The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (translated from Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, MBIP 2017 short list)
  • Fish Have No Feet by Jon Kalman Stefansson (translated from Icelandic by Philip Roughton, MBIP 2017 long list)
  • Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg (translated from Polish by Eliza Marciniak, MBIP 2017 long list)

~April~

  • Mirror, Shoulders, Signal by Dorthe Nors (translated from Danish by Misha Hoekstra, MBIP 2017 short list)
  • Judas by Amos Oz (translated from Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange, MBIP 2017 short list)
  • Letters and Papers From Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (translated from German by Christian Kaiser Verlag)
  • Compass by Mathias Enard ( translated from French by Charlotte Mandell, MBIP 2017 short list)
  • Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer (translated from German by Katy Derbyshire, MBIP 2017 long list)
  • Earthly Remains by Donna Leon

~May~

~June~

  • A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  • Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare (translated from Albanian by David Bellos)
  • The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (for the JLC11)
  • The Stolen Child by Keith Donahue

~July~

~August~ 

  • Penance by Kanae Minato (translated from Japanese by Phillip Gabriel for JLC11 and Women In Translation Month)
  • Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Man Booker Prize long list 2017)
  • Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Man Booker Prize long list 2017)
  • History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Man Booker Prize long list 2017)
  • Autumn by Ali Smith (Man Booker Prize long list 2017)
  • Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders (Man Booker Prize long list 2017)

~September~

  • The Red-Haired Girl by Orhan Pamuk (translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap)
  • Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl
  • Billy and the Minpins by Roald Dahl
  • If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxes

~October~

~November~

~December~

It’s Time To Go Back

Christmas has been put back in the box. Gone are the faerie lights and evergreen boughs, the red ribbons and mercury glass, the candles, the cookies and the creche.

Now there is a small bouquet of fresh white roses in a crystal vase and austerity everywhere I look. It is time to go back to school tomorrow.

I will never have another Christmas Break. I will never go back in the beginning of January to finish a year half done. In May, teaching will go back in the box, never to come out again.

My friends will be sorrowful to be back at work tomorrow. There will be some complainers, who never should have been allowed in a classroom with children in the first place. Others will simply miss their leisurely mornings, sitting with coffee until lunch.  But, I am not one of them.

“I get inspiration from my everyday life.” ~Hayao Miyazake

I am embracing the time I have left. I am going to cherish each child who walks sleepily into the classroom tomorrow having had just a little too much Christmas. We will be eager to see each other, tell stories of the last twelve days, and open our books.

I am ready to resume the routine, anticipating what each new day will bring.

The World Almanac and Book of Facts for 2018

I’m a girl who grew up in a nondigital world. When we needed to know something we went to the library; we researched information using books. Facts were readily at our disposal without any need for power or hand-held devices.

The children in my class have Chromebooks. They can access Google and YouTube and PebbleGo anytime they want. It is helpful in many ways. But, nothing can compare with holding a book of facts in your hands.

Normally, I am all about reading fiction. When we put together our “Best of 2017” lists, as book bloggers like to do, I had read 3 nonfiction books. Three.

Yet, when The World Almanac and Book of Facts arrived at our door, I could not put it down. I flipped through it even as I walked to my husband asking, “Did you know…?” You cannot believe the amount of interesting and pertinent facts within its cover!

There is a Chronology of Events which covers November 1, 2016 through October 31, 2017 covering national and international add events. (There are even pages with the results of the 2017 presidential election and how each states voted.) The plethora of fascinating facts continues on every page, with topics such as these:

  • Obituaries for famous people who died in 2017
  • Notable Quotes of 2017
  • Economics including the world’s wealthiest individuals, leading businesses and largest companies
  • Employment
  • Crime
  • Military Affairs
  • Health with every subtopic you can imagine from eating disorders to common infectious diseases and basic first aid

Well, I could go on and on and on, but I tell you this is a fabulous resource to have to check on facts, to remember the year(s) gone by, and to consider the future. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

There’s even a section with the year in pictures.

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2017

1. Seicho Matsumoto: This Japanese writer is well known for his crime novels which also depict Japanese society.

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2. George MacDonald: A man who deeply influenced C. S. Lewis, I had not read any of his short stories before classes led by Dr. Rolland Hein at Wheaton College last winter.

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3. Amos Oz: When I read his book nominated for the Man Booker International Prize, I knew I was reading someone special.

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4. Mathias Enard: Fellow bloggers who love translated literature have long pointed out the merit of Mathias Enard. I first heard of him with his book Zone, but came to love his book nominated for the Man Booker International Prize this spring.

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5. Roy Jacobsen: He wrote one of my favorite books of the year, so evocative of Norway, but also a beautiful novel of family.

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6. Ismail Kadare: Our book club read Chronicles in Stone which was a fabulous novel about Albania, winning the Man Booker International Prize in 2005. The Traitor’s Niche was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2017.

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7. Kanae Minato: This author was brought to my attention from the Japanese Literature Challenge 11, and I devoured both of her fascinating, and disturbing, books.

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8. Mike MacCormack: This Irish writer penned my favorite book of 2017.

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9. Sebastian Barry: From him came my second favorite novel of 2017.

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10. George Saunders: He wrote the novel which won the Man Booker Prize for 2017.

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted here.

All The Books I Read in 2017 (each with a link to buy for free shipping worldwide)

~January~

~February~

~March~

  • Dumpling Days by Grace Lin (buy it here)
  • The Golden Key by George MacDonald (short story)
  • The Years That Followed by Catherine Dunne (unfinished)
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (translated from Swedish by Henning Koch) (buy it here)
  • Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell, MBIP 2017 short list) (buy it here)
  • War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans (translated from Dutch by David Mckay, MBIP 2017 long list) (buy it here)
  • The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (translated from Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, MBIP 2017 short list) (buy it here)
  • Fish Have No Feet by Jon Kalman Stefansson (translated from Icelandic by Philip Roughton, MBIP 2017 long list) (buy it here)
  • Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg (translated from Polish by Eliza Marciniak, MBIP 2017 long list) (buy it here)

~April~

~May~

~June~

  • A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (buy it here)
  • Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare (translated from Albanian by David Bellos) (buy it here)
  • The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (for the JLC11) (buy it here)
  • The Stolen Child by Keith Donahue

~July~

~August~ 

  • Penance by Kanae Minato (translated from Japanese by Phillip Gabriel for JLC11 and Women In Translation Month) (buy it here)
  • Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Man Booker Prize long list 2017) (buy it here)
  • Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Man Booker Prize long list 2017) (buy it here)
  • History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Man Booker Prize long list 2017) (buy it here)
  • Autumn by Ali Smith (Man Booker Prize long list 2017) (buy it here)
  • Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders (Man Booker Prize long list 2017) (buy it here)

~September~

  • The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk (translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap) (buy it here)
  • Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (buy it here)
  • The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl (buy it here)
  • Billy and the Minpins by Roald Dahl (buy it here)
  • If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxes (buy it here)

~October~

~November~

~December~

One Word

My favorite choices for a pertinent, life changing word of the year seem to come in groups of three:

  • Don’t look back.
  • Don’t question yourself.
  • Draw some boundaries.

Or, these seven:

  • You are not responsible for everyone’s happiness.

So choosing one word is a little tricky for me.

I did it once, though. Our principal had us write our word on a Post-It note and stick it up on the bulletin board for the year. It didn’t have our names, so we didn’t feel too vulnerable, and I loved looking at what people chose:

Love

Friendship

Father

It seems we want to focus on relationships when we choose a word to focus on for the year. But, being the introvert I am, relationships do not come first to my mind.

No, I’d rather focus on getting the detritus out of my life. My thoughts. My spirit.

I chose the word trust, all those years ago, to put on the bulletin board in the lounge. It didn’t help very much. Perhaps I did something wrong, like not focusing on it adequately enough. Perhaps it was not the right word for me. Or, perhaps the effectiveness is not necessarily a magic spell as much as an opportunity to think about change.

Whatever the case may be, I’m busy thinking about my word this year. A word that will help me, and help me help those around me. Hope? Fearlessness? Acceptance? Something as mundane as Confidence?

Remember – your one word is intended to be your guide, not your harsh standard. It’s not about doing more, but about being who you were created to be. ~Alece Ronzino on One Word 365 

Do you have one word you’re going to focus on for 2018? You can leave it for us in the comments. You can also leave it at One Word 365 and see what others have chosen. I can see mine slowly forming as I remember that it is supposed to reflect who we were created to be…

(Another place to find your word is to take the quiz here.)

Merry Christmas!

20171224_122956_hdr1459533701.jpgHow lovely it is to be reading in front of this picture window after church today.

While I have been blogging very quietly this year, and seem to be slowly fading away here at Dolce Bellezza, I do want to wish you a Merry Christmas.

May joy and peace, hope and love, abide with you this day and all of 2018.

xo, Meredith

German Lit Month Has Arrived

I remember the books I’ve read for the challenges sponsored by fellow bibliophiles with great fondness. I would not have found The Virginian by Owen Wister, had it not been for a Western Challenge hosted by James. I would not have read Kafka On The Shore had I not hosted the first Japanese Lit Challenge. I would not have read Skylight by Jose Saramago if not for Stu and Richard‘s Spanish Lit Month, nor Therese Raquin without Thyme for Tea‘s event, Paris in July. And, I would not have read Buddenbrooks had I not picked it up for German Lit Month which comes around each November.

While I have several books on my night stand for Richard’s Argentinean Literature of Doom event, namely Buenos Aires Noire recently sent to me from Akashic Books, I am sorely tempted to read Effi Briest for German Lit Month, which came wholeheartedly recommended by Tom the last time November rolled around. (Or, was it the year before?)

imageAssuming that I can come through conferences unscathed, meaning not depleted of every ounce of energy remaining since Halloween’s tricks and treats, that is the book I will embark upon, with Peirene Press’ Dance by The Canal closely following.

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The review site can be found here.)

Readathon Ready

The house is clean. The apples have been picked. The stack of books lie in wait. Tomorrow is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, a blogging event I took part of at its inception, now faithfully carried on by Andi and others.

Included in the stack above, from the bottom up, are:

Doorways of Paris by Raquel Puig

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Behind the Eyes We Meet by Melissa Verreault

Dance By The Canal by Kerstin Hensel

Melville, a novel by Jean Giono

The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Sweet Potato by Kim Tongin

Buenos Aires Noir edited by Ernesto Mallo

Not once have I read for the full twenty-four hours, and I’m sure I won’t tomorrow. For one thing, it is my husband’s birthday, and my parents are coming to help us celebrate. So at some point in the day I will need to make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

But, all the time before, and all the time after, I will be exacerbating the pain in my tailbone by reading as much as I possibly can. When I must lie down, it will be with the audio version of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day, to which I am listening as I drive to school each day. It is remarkable.

And you? How will you be spending the weekend?