January 9, 2017 at 6:44 am (Books, Sundays, Lists, The Economist)
Tags: short story collections, nonfiction, book lists, translation, history
Yes, self is a year behind in her reading of The Economist. So pathetic.
Anyhoo, here are the books self picked to add to her reading list: four histories, three works of fiction, one book on Culture, Society and Travel.
- Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, by Susan Southard — “a searing account of five teenage survivors of the bombing of Nagasaki”
- Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles, by Bernard Cornwell — “a great and terrible story of a battle . . . fought 200 years ago, told with energy and clarity”
- The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East — “how a multinational Muslim empire was destroyed by the first World War”
- SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard — “about Rome from its myth-shrouded origins to the early third century”
CULTURE, SOCIETY AND TRAVEL
- Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, by Rebecca Herzig — “a curious account of hair-erasing, and why people have tried clamshell razors, lasers, lye depilatories, tweezers, waxes, threading and electrolysis to try and free themselves from hairiness”
- Seiobo There Below, by Laszlo Krasznahorkai — Seventeen stories, “a fitting winner of the 2005 Man Booker International Prize”
- Submission, by Michael Houellebecq — “France under Muslim rule,” 2022
- An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, by Jessie Greengrass — a “spectacularly accomplished, chilly debut collection of short stories about thwarted lives and opportunities missed”
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
January 3, 2017 at 10:33 pm (Artists and Writers, Books, Recommended, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: Chinese writers, discoveries, poetry, translation
from her collection Empty Chairs: Selected Poems, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern (Graywolf Press, 2015)
Our life, like the calendar
on the wall,
presents a stale picture.
Friends come at night
and I cook enough dishes to cover the table —
remembering to put salt in each.
You get chatty
without even drinking wine.
Everyone is happy and eats chicken feet
until the bones are sucked white.
At dawn, our friends are suddenly gone
like a breeze.
The sunflowers on the window curtain
are crazily bright
against the light.
Cigarette ashes and beautiful fish bones
are jammed down our throats.
Without looking at each other
we climb into bed.
Liu Xia is a Chinese poet and artist who has lived under strict house arrest since her husband, poet and activist Liu Xiaobo, was imprisoned in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” and received the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
November 14, 2016 at 9:52 pm (Artists and Writers, Books, Links, Publishers, Recommended, Women Writers)
Tags: Chinese writers, Mondays, Nobel, poetry, translation
Liu Xia is the wife of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize awardee Liu Xiaobo (Liu Xiaobo is currently serving an eleven-year sentence in China for the Charter 08 Manifesto).
The excerpt from Black Sail is in her collection, Empty Chairs (Graywolf Press, 2015)
Black Sail (translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern)
You reach out your arms and pull the man
close, quiet, until his hair floats like seaweed.
Then you calm down and light a cigarette — green smoke
rises. The next day, when firecrackers
clear the way for a full black sail,
you become a gust of wind, a cloud, an eye.
Lake Annaghmakerrig, Ireland
November 9, 2016 at 8:26 pm (Artists and Writers, Books, Personal Bookshelf, Publishers, Recommended, Women Writers)
Tags: Chinese writers, poetry, translation
Excerpt from “I Copy the Scriptures,” by Liu Xia
Day and night,
I copy the Diamond Sutra
My writing looks more and more
It proves that I have not gone
insane, but the tree I drew
hasn’t grown a leaf.
from the collection Empty Chairs: Selected Poems by Liu Xia, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern (Graywolf Press, 2015)
November 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm (Books, Lists, Memoirs, Personal Bookshelf, Pianos, Recommended, Women Writers)
Tags: book lists, essays, Irish writers, Jane Austen, Japanese writers, mysteries, nonfiction, novel, Palestine, Philippines, Russian literature, translation, war literature, World War II
- Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission (history), by Hampton Sides
- A Short History of Women (novel) by Kate Walbert
- The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine (nonfiction), by Ben Ehrenreich
- Brazillionaires (nonfiction), by Alex Cuadros
- Northanger Abbey (novel), by Jane Austen
- Swimming Studies (memoir), by Leann Sharpton
- The Course of Love (novel), by Alain de Botton
- The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Sketches (travel book, poetry), by Matsuo Basho
- The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (essay collection), by Olivia Laing
- The Green Road (novel), by Anne Enright
- Girl Waits With Gun (mystery), by Amy Stewart
- The Girl on the Train (novel), by Paula Hawkins
- My Brilliant Friend (novel), by Elena Ferrante
May 2016 Read the rest of this entry »
October 6, 2016 at 7:44 am (Artists and Writers)
Tags: Literary Magazines, poetry, translation
The poem is in the New Letters Cuban issue.
Excerpt from Utopias, by Alfredo Zaldivar, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Randall:
I romanticized the tent they gave me
the fierce hand that caressed my skin
the assigned word
and promised touch.
I didn’t take into account the fragility
of the dying stag
who sleeps among beasts
the few doves who fly
when the lights go on.
I didn’t see the labyrinths surrounding the tent
the fear of conceding passion to terror.
I fled with such precision
that only my obsession for being on time
could ignore those flights.
Alfredo Zaldivar is co-founder of Vigia, a cultural arts magazine and publishing house based in Matanzas, Cuba.
September 27, 2016 at 2:21 pm (Artists and Writers, Books, Links, Lists, Personal Bookshelf, postaday, Publishers, Recommended, Women Writers)
Tags: AWP, fairy tales, Just published, Los Angeles, postaday, postaweek, Spanish writers, translation, writing conferences
All books are quests of one kind or another. To self, they represent explorations of new experiences.
New Edition of Don Quixote, at the AWP 2016 Bookfair in Los Angeles
From the Europa booth at the 2016 AWP Los Angeles Book Fair
from self’s own copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans, retold by Amy Ehrlich, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
This is how the fairy tale begins:
Far, far away, in a warm and pleasant land, there once lived a king who had eleven sons and one daughter. The princes wore stars on their shirts and swords at their sides, and their sister, Elise, sat on a footstool made of glass. These children were happy from the time they woke in the morning until they went to their beds at night. They never imagined another life.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
August 20, 2016 at 12:47 am (Books, Conversations, Traveling, Wall Street Journal, Writing)
Tags: Fridays, Ireland, Irish writers, poetry, reading lists, reviews, translation, Wall Street Journal
Earlier this year, self was in Ireland, cutting out book reviews from a copy of The Guardian at the breakfast table in the Main House of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. She was explaining to a writer from Belfast that back home in California she had file drawers full of book review clippings and now . . .
The writer just smiled.
What is it about the Irish? Self never has to complete sentences there. Never. They’re pretty observant and never waste words.
In the Wall Street Journal of Wednesday, 17 August 2016, there’s a review of Seamus Heaney’s last work, a translation of the Aeneid, Book VI, which according to reviewer Christopher Carroll, he completed just a month before he died:
- It is his last published poem, a poignant rendition of Aeneas’ arrival in Italy and journey into the underworld to see his dead father.
Right. Self is adding it to her reading list, as well as Heaney’s “Station Island” (1984) and “Route 110” (2010).
August 12, 2016 at 7:32 am (Artists and Writers, Books, Places, Recommended, Traveling)
Tags: Fridays, inspirations, Japan, Japanese writers, poetry, translation, travel
Even while I was getting ready, mending my torn trousers, tying a new strap to my hat, and applying moxa to my legs to strengthen them, I was already dreaming of the full moon rising over the islands of Matsushima.
— from The Narrow Road to the Deep North, translated from the Japanese by Nobuyuki Yuasa
1689, Basho made three major journeys in his lifetime. The Narrow Road was the result of the third and last. He was 50.
August 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm (Artists and Writers, Books, Flowers, Sundays)
Tags: Japan, Japanese writers, poetry, summer, translation, travel books
Who is it that runs with hurried steps,
Flowers of sasanqua dancing on his hat?
— translated from the Japanese by Nobuyuki Yuasa, in his Introduction to Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North
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