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Book Club 2018-2019 : The List

It’s that time of the year again.

Our Book Club has picked up 12 books for the next twelvemonth. We changed our ways this year and we picked countries and then tried to find one book per country. I’m happy with this new list as it will allow us to travel a bit around the world. We’re missing a book from Africa, though. Next year we’ll have to rectify that.

Here’s the list:

 

Month English title French title Writer # pages Country Year of publication
August The Secret River Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville 310 Australia 2007
September Not found in English Son Royaume Han Han 250 China 2015
October The Ice Princess La princesse des glaces Camilla Läckberg 381 Sweden 2004
November Not found in English Canicule Jean Vautrin 331 France 1982
December Deal Souls Les âmes mortes Gogol 477 Russia 1842
January Not found in English Le poids des secrets Aki Shimazaki 500 Japan 2010
February Pavane for  a Dead Princess Pavane pour une infante défunte Min-kyu Park 325 Korea 2014
March Excellent Women Des femmes remarquables Barbara Pym 252 Great Britain 1952
April Geek Love Un amour de monstres Katherine Dunn 442 USA 1989
May The Tapestries Le brodeur de Huê Kien Nguyen 383 Vietnam 2001
June House of Splendid Isolation La maison du splendide isolement Edna O’Brien 284 Irlande 1994
July A World for Julius Un monde pour Julius Alfredo Bryce Echenique 497 Peru 1970

The book that opens the new season is The Secret River by Kate Grenville.

I find the Gogol a bit daunting, so if you’ve read it, please tell me how it was. I need a bit of reassurance. I’m looking forward to reading my first Barbara Pym. I’ve heard a lot of good things about her from other bloggers. Edna O’Brien has been on my mental TBR for a while, it’s an opportunity to finally read something by her. I’ve already read Tarzan’s Tonsillitis by Alfredo Bryce-Echenique and I’m glad to read another book by him.

We have two crime fiction books, one by Camilla Läckberg and one by Jean Vautrin. Let’s hope that the Läckberg is better than the Indridason I’ve read. I’m a bit wary of too-famous-for-their-own-good Nordic crime fiction writers. I couldn’t find an English translation of the Vautrin, let me know if there’s one.

And the books for Vietnam, Korea, China and the USA are new-to-me writers. I don’t know what to expect.

As usual, if anyone wants to join us and read one of these books along with us, feel free to do so. There’s no rule, just post your review the right month and let me know about it. And if you’ve read any of those books, what did you think about them?

  1. Jonathan
    July 21, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    I’d been meaning to read Dead Souls for years and finally read it this year; I found it a treat to read—it’s fun, in a quirky Russian way. I also read Excellent Women which I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Geek Love was a favourite of mine from years ago but may well split opinion amongst your group.

    Like

    • July 21, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks for the pep talk regarding Dead Souls.
      I’m sure I’ll like Barbara Pym and we’ll see about Geek Love. At least it’s a good book.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. July 21, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    I’m a big fan of Barbara Pym. Excellent Woman was my first, and I haven’t looked back since. It probably has a bit more depth than some of her other early novels, so I’m sure it will give you some interesting things to discuss – especially when it comes to prospects for women in the 1950s. Happy reading.

    Like

    • July 21, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      She seems to be an engaging writer. Witty and dealing with society’s issues with apparently mundane stories. That’s how I imagine her books.

      Like

  3. July 21, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Dead Souls: greatest novel of the first half of the 19th century. Or something close to that. So much fun. Hugely inventive. Not a good source of daunt – short, light, playful, even goofy.

    Like

    • July 22, 2018 at 7:09 am

      Wow, that’s a great compliment coming from you with all the 19thC books you’ve read.
      I’ve wanted to read it for a long time, Gogol was one of Gary’s favorite writers. Lucky him, he could read him in the original.

      Like

  4. July 22, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Yes, I liked Dead Souls too, a clever satire!

    Like

    • July 22, 2018 at 7:18 am

      Thanks. Up to three very positive comments about it and none of you says it’s great but a difficult read.

      Like

  5. July 22, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Can’t give you any insights re Gogol since I’ve yet to tackle him (I find the prospect a little daunting). Edna O’Brien is wonderful though. I read The Secret River earlier this summer and thoroughly enjoyed it…
    your book club has hit on a great idea with choosing books for each country.

    Like

  6. July 22, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Dead Souls is funny and epic and wonderful and one of my favourite books! I hope you love it as much as I do! :)))))

    Like

    • July 22, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks. There are lots of positive responses to this choice. I read about the different translations, apparently there’s a modern one which is quite good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 22, 2018 at 7:46 pm

        The version I read most recently was translated by Robert Maguire and I thought it was excellent. I think it’s fairly recent.

        Like

  7. July 23, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Enjoyed Ice Princess and disliked The Secret River. Grenville was caught up in a huge argument in Australia about historical revisionism. (‘Huge’ in literary circles, I think it’s quite popular generally and in schools).

    Like

    • July 24, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      Good to know about Ice Princess.
      I’ll read the Grenville soon, we’ll see. I’m not sure I’ll be able to see the historical inacurracies in her book, though.

      Like

  8. August 14, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Interesting collection of books! I can add another thumbs-up for Dead Souls, Emma. As others have said, it’s funnier than you’d think 🙂

    Like

    • August 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Good news about Dead Souls. I think we picked an interesting list, I’m looking forward to all of them.

      Like

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