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Book Club 2014 – 2015 : new reading list

June 7, 2014 42 comments

book_club_2Our Book Club is currently reading Time After Time by Molly Keane and will be reading Anna Edes by Dezső Kosztolányi in July. Our new Book Club year starts in August and we’ve already picked the books for the coming year. We’ve chosen books from several countries, several genres, classics and recent ones and I think it will be an exciting reading year. I’ve never read most of the writers we’ve selected, and that’s a bonus. *drums* Here’s the list:

Book title in English

Book title in French

Author

Country

Month

Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me Demain dans la bataille, pense à moi

Javier Marias

Spain

August

The Awakening Eveils

Gaïto Gazdanov

Russia

September

To Kill a Mocking Bird Ne tirez pas sur l’oiseau moqueur

Harper Lee

USA

October

At Swim-Two-Birds Swim-Two-Birds

Flann O’Brien

Ireland

November

The Good Soldier Le bon soldat

Ford Maddox Ford

UK

December

On the Black Hill Les jumeaux de Black Hill

Bruce Chatwin

UK

January

The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro La tête perdue de Damasceno Monteiro

Antonio Tabucchi

Italy

February

Not available in English De là on voit la mer

Philippe Besson

France

March

Fathers and Sons Pères et fils

Turgeniev

Russia

April

Machine Man Non traduit en français

Max Barry

Australia

May

Labor Day Le grand-weekend

Joyce Maynard

USA

June

Going to Meet the Man

Face à l’homme blanc

James Baldwin

USA

July

By Marias, I’ve only read All Souls (Le roman d’Oxford in French) and I liked it but not enough to start another one. I’ve seen Marias praised a lot on other blogs, so I’m curious about my response to this one. In September, we’ll read The Awakening by Gaito Gazdanov. It is set in France, in Provence, even if Gazdanov is a Russian writer. So no promenades in sleight in this Russian novel but garigue expected. Then we’ll move to the USA. I suppose most of you have already read To Kill a Mocking Bird but we haven’t. I’m glad it’s on the list, I’ve wanted to read it for a long time. After that, we’ll fly back to Ireland and read At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien. He’s also a new writer to me and from the blurb of the book, I think that At Swim-Two-Birds should be right in my alley. Let’s hope the English isn’t too difficult or too full of Irish words I’ve never heard of.

According to Hemingway in A Moveable Feast, Ford Maddox Ford’s body odour was intolerable. That’s TMI to me, I’m not interested in writers’ bodily details unless they turn them into literature like Philip Roth. So I hope reading The Good Soldier will help me put Ford Maddox Ford back on his disembodied literary pedestal and that his prose will be so good it will erase any impression of him left by Hemingway.

Chatwin_Black_HillThen we’ll move our literary feast to Wales with On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin. The cover of its Penguin edition is consistent with my memories of Wales: lots of sheep. I’ve heard it’s an excellent book, so it should be a wonderful reading moment in January, the month made to read on the couch by a fire. Perhaps we’ll still be sitting there in February to read The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro by Antonio Tabucchi. Isn’t that an intriguing title? It’s a dark novel set in Porto. After reading a novel set in Portugal and written by an Italian writer, we’ll head to Italy with a French writer and discover De là on voit la mer by Philippe Besson. (From There, You See the Sea, not available in English, yet.) I’m happy to have a Besson on the list, I’ve loved to two ones I’ve read  (En l’absence des hommes and Un homme accidentel) and I highly recommend him. I find his prose addicting, it carries me away like a leaf in the autumn wind.

Then we’ll have something totally different with Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, another writer I’ve never read. Fathers and Sons is his masterpiece, I’m looking forward to it. After this classic, I’ll be delighted to meet with Max Barry again and read his Machine Man. Company, Syrup and Jennifer Government were fantastic, the kind of books you want to buy to your friends. I love Barry’s sense of humour and insight. We will finish our booking year with two American novels. We won’t read Labor Day by Joyce Maynard in September but in June, just before reading stories by James Baldwin.

I’m looking forward to this new reading year and of course, I’ll share my impressions of these books with you in future billets. Have you read any of these books?

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