You may have thought that July was a kind of inofficial German Literature Month given that my blogging consisted of reviews of 3 German novels, 1 Welsh novel set in Germany and one post about my recent literary tour of Schleswig-Holstein. It wasn’t meant to be that way but it’s what happens when I spend the first half of the month in Germany, and the second half of the month reviewing what I read and did there. So be it.
I do still have the second part of my literary tour of Schleswig-Holstein to report on, and there will be further German-lit posts during August, given that there are plenty of related events at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival. (12 days and counting!) But my reading has moved on because, if everything goes to plan, I will be at the festival for 12 of the 17 days, and I have a lot of reading to complete before then.
The festival, already the largest in the world, is bigger and wider-ranging than ever this year. In fact, you could say it has gone global because you don’t have to be in Edinburgh to take part. The free online How to Read A Novel reading course that they are delivering in conjunction with Edinburgh University, using this year’s James Tait Black Award shortlist to investigate key blocks within modern fiction – plot, characterisation, dialogue, setting – is now up and running. I’m currently working my way through the first module and am finding it most illuminating. I’m pretty sure that you can still enrol if you wish to join in.
I’ve also started my reading for the festival, having read 4 novels in preparation. You can see these at the bottom of the Books Read in July pile above. 3 were fantastic, whereas I feel rather cool towards the fourth. Perhaps Jenny Erpenbeck will warm me towards Go Went Gone at her event on the 20th.
That I didn’t love Erpenbeck’s latest took me completely by surprise, as did the fact that I was mesmerised by Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, July’s Book of the Month, which left me breatheless at times. I don’t read much science-fiction but may well read more if the Bradbury is a marker of the quality to expect. I wouldn’t know where to start though, so please leave any recommendations you have in comments.
Anyway my book festival is opening with a workshop on the Bradbury and my review will follow that. My final read for the festival this year is likely to be Medea by Euripides – the trigger for that being David Vann’s latest novel. This is why I love the Edinburgh Book Festival – it expands my reading horizons; this year both in time and space. From Greece in the 5th century B.C to Mars in 2026. You can’t say farther than that.
I enjoyed July, and August will be another good month. But until then, here is this month’s blogging and reading statistics update:
2017 Reading Statistics
Total YTD: 64 read, 6 audio books, 7 DNF
July 2017: 8 read, 1 DNF