A Spare Life

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Autumn 2021 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is what books we’d like to read over the next few months. I love setting a vague TBR and then seeing whether or not I actually get to them any time soon.

The City Where Dreams Come True by Gulsifat Shahidi
A collection of four short stories about Tajikistan’s civil war and the effect it had on the people. I have The City Where Dreams Come True and The Cost of Sugar on Kindle Unlimited and as I don’t really use that service much it’d be good to read them soon as then I can unsubscribe from it.

The Cost of Sugar by Cynthia McLeod
The Cost of Sugar has definitely been on more than one TBR but maybe now is the time to finally read it? It follows two Jewish stepsisters, Elza and Sarith, descendants of the settlers and their pampered existences become intertwined with the fate of the plantations as the slaves decide to fight against the violent repression they have endured for too long.

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
I read and really enjoyed King of Scars earlier this month so Rule of Wolves is definitely one I want to get to ASAP. I have the audiobook but might get the ebook too as I’m not sure which way I want to read it.

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid
I got The Wolf and the Woodsman via Illumicrate a few months ago and the cover is one that really stood out to me. Like many books on my TBR I don’t know much about it but I think it’s got a creepy forest and a fairy tale vibe – both are things I tend to enjoy.

Armenian Golgotha by Grigoris Balakian
This is a bit of an intimidating book as it’s a chunky non-fiction about a country’s genocide and it probably will be a book I need to take time with as it’s such a heavy topic.

The Scents of Marie-Claire by Habib Selmi
My Tunisia book for the Read the World Project, The Scents of Marie-Claire tells the story of the extraordinary relationship between the Tunisian-born narrator and the French Marie-Claire

A Spare Life by Lidija Dimkovska
A Spare Life has been on one of my seasonal TBR’s before and I did start it but didn’t get too far into it so would actually like to finish it.

Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix
I love the Old Kingdom series so am really looking forward to the latest instalment and am interested to see what this prequel adds to the story. I reread Sabriel last month for the first time since 2015 and will be continuing rereading the series until Terciel and Elinor is released in November.

The Desert and the Drum by Mbarek Ould Beyrouk
The Desert and the Drum is the first novel ever to be translated into English from Mauritania and is about a woman who leaves her tribe and tries to find her own path.

Chaka by Thomas Mofolo
Chaka is a mythic fictional retelling of the story of the rise and fall of the Zulu emperor-king Shaka.

What books are you hoping to read soon?

Women in Translation Month 2021 TBR

August is Women in Translation Month, which was started by blogger Meytal Radzinski, and a readathon that I like to take part in. As well as dedicating the whole month to reading books by women in translation there’s also a specific readathon hosted by Jennifer from Insert Literary Pun Here, Matthew Sciarappa and Kendra Winchester over on YouTube.

The Women in Translation readathon is a weeklong from Saturday 14th – Friday 20th August (midnight-midnight in your time zone) and there’s two prompts and a group read. The group read is Minor Detail by Adania Shibli (translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette) and the prompts are:

  • Read something that’s not a novel – poetry, an essay, manga, short stories, non-fiction, whatever as long as it’s not a novel
  • Read something that was in a language that is new to you – if you do tend to read translated works then think of a language you haven’t read from for a number of years or just have read very few works from that language.

I’d already picked out the books on my TBR that were from women in translation before the prompts were announced, so while all these books are novels, I could maybe complete the “new to you language” prompt as I very rarely read works from Japan and I believe A Spare Life is translated from Macedonian and I don’t think I’ve yet to read anything that was originally in that language.

All these books aren’t just for the weeklong readathon but are instead what I plan to hopefully read during the whole month of August. I’m slowly getting out of my year-long slump and hopefully this gives me a little extra push.

The Beast Player and The Beast Warrior by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano
These two were cover buys a couple of months ago and how could I not when they are so gorgeous! This is a YA duology about a girl who discovers she can talk to the huge, majestical beasts of her world and becomes entangled in politics and war as she tries to keep herself and the beasts safe.

The Madwoman of Serrano by Dina Salústio, translated by Jethro Soutar
This is one of the books where it seems difficult to summarise in a couple of sentences. The titular character lives in an isolated village where she appears to babble nonsense but maybe she tells the future especially when the life of a man from the village and the businesswoman who he raised when she was a little girl become connected to the fate of their home.

The Madwoman of Serrano was both the first novel by a female author to be published in Cape Verde and the first to be translated into English.

A Spare Life by Lidija Dimkovska, translated by Christina E. Kramer
Starting in 1984 in communist Yugoslavia, A Spare Life is the story of twins Zlata and Srebra who are conjoined at their heads from their childhood to young adults as they try to decide whether to go through with the dangerous surgery to separate them.

On Friday Night by Luz Argentina Chiriboga, translated by Paulette A. Ramsay and Anne-Maria Bankay
Honestly, I don’t know what this book is about as the back cover is all about the two translators and doesn’t have a blurb. Internet searches tell me that Luz Argentina Chiriboga is known for writing about women and the challenges they face as well as Afro-Hispanic cultural identity so I expect those themes may be in this book.

The Fury and Cries of Women by Angèle Rawiri, translated by Sara Hanaburgh
I have the ebook of this and I believe The Fury and Cries of Women follows Emilienne’s life through her university studies, marriage, children, work, and how she tries to search for what feminism means to her while dealing with cultural expectations and the taboos of sex and motherhood.Angèle Rawiri is Gabon’s first female novelist.

That’s six books written by women in translation that I’d ideally like to read next month. While I do appear to be coming out of my reading slump if I can read at least three of these I’ll be happy. Plus, four of these books are for my Read the World Project which is always helpful.

Are you going to try and read any books from women in translation in August? If you’d like any recommendations then be sure to check out @WITreadathon and @Read_WIT on Twitter.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Spring 2021 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week is a TBR of the books you’d like to read in the next few months. These are my favourite kind of Top Ten Tuesday posts as I like to go back and see how often the same books appear on my TBRs and if/when I actually read these books. If you’ve been to my blog before you might recognise some of these books because I’m pretty sure they have been on TBRs before. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump these past few months, but I hope to get out of it and reading more soon.

Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
I read Six of Crows years ago and with all the buzz of the Netflix show coming next month it made me want to finish that duology and give the original trilogy a go. I finished Shadow and Bone at the weekend and I’m kinda cheating with this TBR as I’m now over a third way through Siege and Storm so I think I’m going to finish the series soon.

A Spare Life by Lidija Dimkovska
Tome Topple, a readathon focussing on books 500 pages or more, started yesterday and my copy of A Spare Life is 490 so that’s close enough! Once I’ve finished the Grisha trilogy I hope Tome Topple will give me the motivation to read A Spare Life.

Shepherd of Solitude: Selected Poems, 1979-2004 by Amjad Nasser
While I’m still not a huge lover of poetry, I do like how quick poetry collections are to get through so they can be a good way to kickstart my reading when I’m in a reading slump.

The Cost of Sugar by Cynthia McLeod
I think it’s taken me a while to get to this as it’s an ebook and I go through phases of reading books on my kindle, and it’s been a while since I’ve actually picked up and charged my kindle.

An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie
This book has been on various TBR’s a few times now and I do still really want to read it! Like a lot of non-fiction, I think I get a bit intimidated by the idea of it but I know once I start reading it I’ll be really into it.

Angel Mage by Garth Nix
Angel Mage is another chunky book I hope Tome Topple will give me the motivation to read.

Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo
This is the first novel from Madagascar to ever be translated into English and it’s set in the nineteenth century and it’s about the relationship between a slave and his master’s daughter. Think this is another one I haven’t picked up even when I intended to because it’s an ebook and haven’t been in an ebook kinda mood for a while.

Hawkeye: Freefall by Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt
I love Hawkeye and this is the most recent bindup of a Hawkeye story and I cant wait to read it.

Palestine +100: Stories from a century after the Nakba by Basma Ghalayini
Like with poetry, I think short story collections are good way to help me out of a reading slump and a way to read something, even if it’s just one short story, each day.

What books are you hoping to pick up soon?

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. As Christmas is just a few days away this week it’s all about what books you’d like to receive from Santa – or just generally what books you’d like to come into your life soon.

A Spare Life by Lidija Dimkovska
Set in 1984, A Spare Life follows twins who are conjoined at the head, their life as they grow up considered freaks by even their family, and how they struggle to decide if they want to be surgically separated from one another.

Running by Natalia Sylvester
I saw Rincey from RinceyReads post about this book on Instagram and that sparked my interest.

Selfie and Other Stories by Nora Nadjarian
I love a short story collection to help me out with my Read the World Project. This one seems to be stories about women, in love, in confusion, in isolation – seems very fitting for 2020.

The Equestrienne by Uršuľa Kovalyk
A coming-of-age story of a teenage girl who lives in a small town in the east of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and finds friendship and confidence by joining a riding school.

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
A video from MyNameIsMarines is what brought this book to my attention. Think it’ll be one of those hard-hitting books but a good one.

In Praise of Love and Children by Beryl Gilroy
This is set in 1950s London and follows a Guyanese woman who, without an extended family support system or an understanding of her new home, finds comfort in her work with troubled children of fellow black settlers

Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie
This is one that got a lot of hype on Twitter when the character dynamics were likened to Finn and Poe from Star Wars, but the gayness is text rather than subtext. It’s been a long time since I’ve read some proper sci-fi, space adventures.

In the Forests of Freedom: The Fighting Maroons of Dominica by Lennox Honychurch
This is a non-fiction book about who the Maroons, escaped slaves, of the Caribbean island of Dominica challenged the colonial powers in a heroic struggle to create a free and self-sufficient society.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
I’ve heard good things about this book (my pal Ellie from Curiosity Killed the Bookworm even recommended it to me recently), it’s an alternate timeline where women are a lot more involved in the space programme.

The Radiance of the King by Camara Laye
The Radiance of the King is among the earliest major works in Francophone African literature and another book for my Read the World Project. It follows Clarence, a white man, who’s been shipwrecked on the coast of Africa and demands to see the king.

I hope you all have as good a Christmas/break as you can in these unusual times, and you get some great books.