Tag Archives: Lit Hub

Summer Reading / Women in Translation Month 2021

17 Jul

Happy Summer! I am once again contemplating how to merge Summer Book Bingo with Women in Translation Month. This year, I’m a new parent (have I said anything about that on this blog???), so my reading time is quite constrained. I have given up on trying for a blackout and am just focused on reading five adult books by September 7 (I will have read Goodnight Moon 50,000 times by then. Luckily it’s a brilliant book! I love Kate Bernheimer’s essay on it in Lit Hub.)

I am two books into my goal. I very much enjoyed Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum, which I put on the “Made You Laugh” square. It is a dark book about depression with a sharp sense of humor, narrated in a voice I need to return to (I also enjoyed the voice of Kirshenbaum’s An Almost Perfect Moment). The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, which I put on the “Asian American or Pacific Islander” square is a beautiful novel which has one of those surprising-yet-inevitable telescoping endings that you just want to keep mulling over. The next square is “On Your Shelf,” and I’m reading R.L. Maizes’s story collection We Love Anderson Cooper. I am loving it. So this is a very fruitful book bingo thus far!

“Set in an Olympic Host City” is the square I am going to merge with Women In Translation Month. The Seattle Public Library has a list of recommendations on their blog here. I’m thinking I’ll opt for Valeria Luiselli’s Mexico City-based The Story of My Teeth (trans. by Christina Macsweeney). Then I also need a book for the “QTBIPOC” square; SPL once again has suggestions on their blog. Maybe I’ll re-read Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room as I so rarely make the time to re-read, but then again, branching out would be good too. Hmm…

In any case, if the thought of book bingo intrigues you, I also want to share the Women in Translation-focused bingo card Meytal Radzinski made. I made a WITMonth bingo card several years ago, but what I like about this one is it focuses in on specific regions so you get to zoom in on parts of the world you might not have explored yet.

What are you reading this summer?

DAUGHTERS OF THE AIR Reviewed in The Seattle Times and Included in Seattle Review of Books’ “Seattle Novels That Made My Year”

4 Jan

The term “dumpster fire” has been used in reference to 2017 at least several million times. At one point in October, I considered taking some classes on how to cope with anxiety and insomnia that were organized specifically in response to our collective ongoing sense of doom. I didn’t though—because I was overwhelmed! Ha.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND, illustrated by Yayoi Kusama.

From my New Year’s Day reading, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, illustrated by Yayoi Kusama.

Despite everything, I need to celebrate 2017 on a personal level. Daughters of the Air, which I’d toiled over for years, finally came out, and people are reading it and telling me they are enjoying it! Michael and I celebrated the holiday season with candles and latkes and lights and dim sum and snow (!) and The Shape of Water (a beautiful love story!) and chocolate peanut butter pie and New Year’s Eve back at the Hotel Sorrento’s Fireside Lounge for reading (me, Teffi’s Subtly Worded, him Hanna Krall’s Chasing the King of Hearts, which I’m happily adding to my Women in Translation Month queue), writing, live jazz, people watching, and bubbles. What more could I ask for?

Dark chocolate with candied roses

Dark chocolate with candied roses, a holiday treat. Resolution: eat more flowers.

The day after Shelf Awareness called Daughters “a striking debut from a writer to watch,” The Seattle Review of Books included it among five Seattle novels that made Paul Constant’s year:

Anca Szilágyi’s Daughters of the Air is a fantastic debut — a magical realist fairy tale set in gritty New York City. It’s the kind of book that leaves you utterly confounded at the end, as you try to remember all the twists and turns that you took along the way. It feels like an impossible book, somehow — a product of alchemy, a creation of unearthly talents.

Wow! The book hasn’t been panned yet, but when it does, I’ll hang on to these two reviews for dear life. I was also super happy to see Tara Atkinson’s novella Boyfriends included in the end-of-year list; I gobbled it one sitting and highly recommend it.

Yesterday afternoon, I was thrilled to see The Seattle Times reviewed Daughters too—my first review in a major American newspaper!

Anca L. Szilágyi’s intense debut novel, “Daughters of the Air,” locates a deeply personal story against the surreal backdrop of [Argentina’s Dirty War].

 

 

I’ll be moseying up to a newsstand later today so I can rustle up the paper and feel the newsprint on my fingers.

In other news…

  • Every year, I strive to collect 100 rejections. (Why? See this wonderful Lit Hub article by Kim Liao.) In 2016, I made it to 106, plus eight acceptances. In 2017, I garnered 93 rejections and 16 acceptances. This is actually bad in terms of my other annual goal, which is to be rejected 90% of the time. I need to aim higher.
  • There are just four spots left in my online Fiction II class at Hugo House, which begins on January 14. You can sign up here.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end of this longer-than-usual blog post! As a gift, here is a Goodreads giveaway for you. Already read Daughters? Leaving a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or Powell’s would help spread the word! You can do this regardless of how you obtained the book (other bookstores, my publisher, the library, and all that fun stuff).

Onward!

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