I recently returned from walking a large portion of the Rota Vicentina Trail in Portugal. I would love to do it again.
This was an incredible twelve day hike on the coast (The Fishermans Way) and a little bit inland (The Historical Way). The trails were easy to walk and very well-marked. I may have spent longer staring at and contemplating the ocean than actual walking, but it was time well spent. Heading back to Berlin after two weeks living out of a backpack was good, but I miss the tranquility and flow of walking in sand, listening to the waves crash on shore, and the overwhelming beauty of Portugal.
Out of the 121 books I read this year, nine were outstanding: well-spent reading time. They are as follows:
The World Goes On Lászlo Krasznahorkai (Hungary), translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet, and Georges Szirtes, Tuskar Rock Press, 2017.
Chronicle of the Murdered House Lúcio Cardoso (Brazil), translated by Margaret Jill Costa and Robin Patterson, Open Letter, 2016.
Homesick for Another World Ottessa Moshfegh, (USA), Jonathan Cape, 2017.
I am the Brother of XX Fleur Jaeggy (Switzerland), translated by Gini Alhadeff, New Directions, 2017.
Old Rendering Plant Wolfgang Hilbig (Germany), translated by Isabel Fargo Cole, Two Lines Press, 2017.
The Imperfectionists Tom Rachman (UK), Quercus, 2010.
Berta Island Javier Marías (Spain), translated by Margaret Jill Costa, Hamish Hamilton, 2018.
Belladonna Daša Drndić (Croatia), translated by Celia Hawkesworth, New Directions, 2017.
Flights Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), translated by Jennifer Croft, Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017.
121 books read in 2018; 31942 pages
105 were books in English translation; 16 written in English
103 different authors: 74 male, 47 female
67 different translators: 36 male, 31 female
31 different countries
58 publishers with Fitzcarraldo Editions and FSG tying for the most with 7 each
oldest book published in 1933 and most recent in 2018
83 novels; 38 short story collections
My short story “Within Reach” was just published by borrowed solace in their new Home themed issue. For now it is only available with an inexpensive purchase of a digital issue. It is a beautiful journal with impressive photographs on each page. Glad to be a part of it.
My story 'Fragility' was just published by The Slag Review. Read it online at www.slagreview.com.
The Laughing Monsters Denis Johnson (USA), Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014. Jesus’ Son Denis Johnson (USA), Reclam, 1992.
The Laughing Monsters is a literary thriller which takes place throughout western Africa. There are exploitative spies, missionaries, and politicians, all pursuing their self-interests at the cost of Africans and the African environment. Superb settings and characters amongst a degraded environment, and a lot of fun.
One of the characters from a short story in Jesus’ Son says, “Because we all believed we were tragic, and we drank.” This quote sums up quite nicely what takes place in this excellent collection. From the Midwest, to the west coast, Johnson populates his stories with soul-searching characters who abuse alcohol and drugs in an endless pattern of self-destruction. And yet, these stories and characters stand out with their extreme humour and unavoidable sympathy, making this an excellent collection of well-written stories.