WorldBookProject – From Africa to South America to Asia to Oceania to Europe

190 books I’ve read so far in my quest to read a book from each country and dependency. Out of about 257, just in case you’re interested. Of these, 83 were written by women and 11 had mixed authorship and for one, I have no idea who wrote it. Many thanks to the people who provided me with the books mentioned here: my parents, my friend Astrid and my Twitter-pal Julia. I can recommend all of them, although especially the second story in the Gatti might be better on stage. They are plays, after all.

182 Venezuela: Tagebuch einer jungen Dame, die sich langweilt by Teresa de la Parra *****

183 Micronesia: My Urohs by Emelihter Kihleng ****

184 Montenegro: Der Sohn by Andrej Nikolaidis ****

185 The Gambia: The Sun Will Soon Shine by Sally Sadie Singhateh ****

186 Azerbaidschan: Steinträume by Akram Aylisli ****

187 Monaco: Das imaginäre Leben des Straßenkehrers Auguste G. & Die Schlacht der Sieben Tage und der Sieben Nächte by Armand Gatti ***

188 Kurdistan & Germany: Die Sommer by Ronya Othmann *****

189 Greenland: Nuuk #ohneFilter by Niviaq Korneliussen *****

190 Benin: Autobiography of the Lower Eastside by Rashidah Ismaili *****

Women In Translation Month 2021

I’m so happy that I managed to participate in #WITMonth this year. The books I dived into were a very good mix of genres, regions, old and new – recommended by people from all over the world. Even if I liked some texts more than others, I’m glad about having read all of them.

Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin (Argentina, translated by Megan McDowell) *****

A Small Charred Face by Kazuki Sakuraba (Japan, translated by Jocelyne Allen) **

Adas Raum by Sharon Dodua Otoo (UK/Germany, translation into English by Jon Chopolizzi forthcoming) ****

Das Licht der Frauen by Żanna Słoniowska (Poland/Ukraine, translated by Olaf Kühl) ****

Inana and Ebih by Enheduanna (Sumerian city-state of Ur, translation here: https://web.archive.org/web/20080518180849/http://www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk/section1/tr132.htm) ***

Tentacle by Rita Indiana (Dominican Republic, translated by Achy Obejas) **

Kalpa Imperial: Das grösste Imperium, das es nie gegeben hat by Angélica Gorodischer (Argentinia, translated by Karin Will) *****

Germany – Glinzig Lakes and Meadows in Brandenburg

We moved from Thuringia to Brandenburg a couple of months ago and since we got bikes it’s been very enjoyable to explore our new home not only on foot. And how exciting it’s been here already – from a daily dose of herons and jackdaws to fly-overs by white-tailed eagles. Today, the weather was excellent for cycling too, so we went to the lakes of Glinzig, which are part of the Landscape Protection Area Wiesen- und Teichlandschaft Kolkwitz/Hänchen. We weren’t disappointed!

The trip went along a small canal called Priorgraben from Cottbus to Kolkwitz and every 50m or so, a nightingale was making sure all the other nightingales knew that this was his patch! It was glorious, like cycling through a tunnel of nightingale song.

In Kolkwitz we had our next magnificent sight. Right next to the road up on a pole was a stork nest with, yes, white storks.

Upon arrival at the lakes, we met some people walking their dogs. I was very happy when I noticed they kept them on a leash! The place itself was really tranquil, with the occasional noises by greylag geese. Some of those already had goslings.

We walked along the lake to take it all in, including the small birds like chiffchaff and treecreeper. And another highlight – we heard two cuckoos calling. So the great reed warblers, which we heard too, need to watch out for any new eggs.

Germany – On the Trumpet Tree

Right. It’s a Trompetenbaum in German. In English it’s called Catalpa. Apparently poisonous. But never mind those trivialities. What’s important here is that said tree grows in the parental garden, I can see it clearly from the window, and it hosts the most marvellous visitors.

First of all, and always welcome, is the array of Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Next, equally welcome by the photographers but not so much by the fish in the pond next to the tree, are the male and female kingfishers. This is the female – the lower part of the beak has an orange tinge.

Drumroll please.

Recently, said tree has been used as perch, much to the horror of all winged inhabitants of the garden, by a juvenile sparrowhawk and this one – an adult male.

WorldBookProject – Kazakhstan, Switzerland, San Marino and Togo

After a rather long break I’m back with an update from my project to read a book from each country and assorted territories. The choice for Switzerland lurked on a shelf and must have been there for a very long time – apparently it was first published in 1943. No idea how it ended up there between war and Iron curtain. The other books were presents from my parents. Thank you 🙂 .

178 Kazakhstan: Über Jahr und Tag – Muchtar Auesow

This quite long book deals with the last months in the life of Kazakhstan’s arguably favourite writer, Abai (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abai_Qunanbaiuly). In parts, I really enjoyed the descriptions of the bleak winter scenes and the interactions of the characters. On the other hand, I often had the feeling that things could have been shortened. Finishing this one was a bit of a chore, but I’m also glad I persevered.

179 Switzerland: Die lustigen Zipfelzwerge – Hedi Sutter

I was so glad when I rediscovered this gem. I read it as child and at some point I had to use a stapler to prevent it from falling apart. It’s a poem accompanied by lovely pictures. Fantastic to get small kids reading.

180 San Marino: Die Republik von San Marino – Giuseppe Rossi

Finding a book for San Marino was neither cheap nor easy, but a very good bookseller managed to do so. I’m fascinated by small countries and this one is no exception. The book is a thorough introduction, albeit from around 40 years ago. Here’s to a pandemic-free future and my travel plans!

181 Togo: An African in Greenland – Tété-Michel Kpomassie

I have a feeling that everybody who’s reading the world sees this book as the obvious option for Togo. It’s worth it – it feels very honest, it’s full of surprises and scares and quite horrifying experiences. A remarkable work; and I’d love to read more by this author.

Germany – Autumn Joys

I’ve always liked autumn. The changing colours, the passing flocks of geese on their migration, the smell of damp earth – it makes me feel alive. This autumn it’s a particularly strong feeling of joy because it’s my first proper one in three years and of course I’m trying to make the most out of it because nature certainly gives more joy than the news these days. So, enjoy with me 🙂 .

Germany – Autumn is coming

Well, actually it’s already here. But signs of summer still persist. I love the mixture of green and yellow and red on the trees.

In the gardens, lots of flowers are still offering a meal to the bees and other insects. Meanwhile, on the meadows, it looks a bit less so. Yet, not all is gone.

The shrubs are full of berries which will provide food for the winter.

And the birds, of course. The starlings are very audible and the occasional small or bigger flock can be seen changing trees. We usually don’t have big murmurations here. The black redstart was an unexpected sight, while the mallards have finished moulting and are back to glory. The neighbour’s garden is a paradise for green and great spotted woodpeckers.