Thursday, January 23, 2014

How to spend my upcoming vacation

I need help.

I haven't had much of a proper vacation in a year and a half. Since I started studying in the fall of last year, the stress, schoolwork, tests, work and a general lack of time has had a serious negative impact on my reading. And now, finally, I actually have a vacation. I'm going to the US. Ten days. Ten days to read.

Over the past week, I've made a list of books that I want to read. I looked at year-end lists, books that I've wanted to read for a long time, books that bloggers recently reviewed, and of course my own slightly directed intention to read more women in translation. I started compiling a list of titles to place holds on. And then yesterday I realized that the list had gotten to about 70 books. 70 books in 10 days? Not going to happen. I started trying to cut the list down, but was not entirely successful and am still left with a list that is clearly both too long and too incomplete (there is only a very small amount of non-translated literature; little sci-fi, fantasy, young adult, or kids).

Here's where you come in. I want to know which books out of these books you all think are absolute musts. Which of these 40-odd titles needs to jump up my list? Which of these will make my vacation the most magical? Which will change my thinking? And what's missing? What are the books that haven't even made the "short"list, but obviously belong?

* I've noted which books are also available as eBooks, but to be honest, for longer books I definitely prefer the print version. So they made the cut anyways. For now.

  1. In Translation: Translators on their work and what it means - Esther Allen and Susan Bernofsky (editors)
  2. The King of Trees - Ah Cheng
  3. Half of a Yellow Sun - Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi*
  4. An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter - Aira, César 
  5. Swimming to Elba - Avallone, Silvia
  6. The Twin - Bakker, Gerbrand*
  7. Billancourt Tales - Berberova, Nina Nikolaevna
  8. Selections - Nicole Brossard
  9. Vertical Motion - Can Xue
  10. The Luminaries - Catton, Eleanor
  11. Silences, or a Woman's Life - Chaix, Marie
  12. Alphabet - Christensen, Inger
  13. 70% Acrylic 30% Wool - Di Grado, Viola
  14. Visitation - Erpenbeck, Jenny
  15. The Russian Version - Fanailova, Elena
  16. Kamchatka - Figueras, Marcelo
  17. The Blindness of the Heart - Franck, Julia
  18. First Love & Look for my Obituary - Garro, Elena
  19. Everyone Leaves - Guerra, Wendy
  20. Summerhouse, Later - Hermann, Judith
  21. Piano Stories - Hernández, Felisberto
  22. Wake - Hope, Anna (to be released while I'm in the US)
  23. The True Deceiver - Jansson, Tove*
  24. The Shadowed Sun - Jermisin, N. K.*
  25. The Budding Tree - Kitahara, Aiko
  26. The Dispossessed - Le Guin, Ursula K.*
  27. Ancillary Justice - Leckie, Ann*
  28. Koula - Koumantareas, Menes
  29. Shades of Milk and Honey - Kowal, Mary Robinette
  30. Satantango - Krasznahorkai, László 
  31. Children in Reindeer Woods - Ómarsdóttir, Kristin
  32. The Three Fates - Lê, Linda
  33. The Hour of the Star - Lispector, Clarice
  34. I'd Like - Michalopoulou, Amanta
  35. Stone Upon Stone - Myśliwski, Wiesław 
  36. The Armies - Rosero, Evelio
  37. How to Suppress Women's Writing - Russ, Joanna
  38. Tenth of December - Saunders, George*
  39. Everything Happens as it Always Does - Stambolova, Albena
  40. The Goldfinch - Tartt, Donna*
  41. The Bathing Women - Tie, Ning
  42. Realm of the Dead - Uchida, Hyakken
  43. Code Name Verity - Wein, Elizabeth
  44. White Snake and other stories - Yan, Geling
And whatever else you recommend. Have at it, internet. Help me out.


  1. Of those I've read, I'll recommend:

    In Translation, 70% Acrylic..., Satantango and Stone upon Stone.

    Of those I haven't tried, the Aira would be my bet ;)

    1. I'm honestly not picky about which Aira, I've just heard so many good things I figured I should get on it...

  2. The Gold Finch and Half of a Yellow Sun are lengthy books but so good. Enjoy your time in the US.

    1. Lengthy is fine - it'll balance out all the poetry and novellas... thanks!

    2. This was the exact same recommendation I was going to make! I think they'd both be wonderful books for a vacation.

  3. I've read three of these (The Luminaries, 70% Acrylic 30% Wool, and Wake), and would happily recommend them all. But The Luminaries would always be my first choice, if you've got the time for it.


Anonymous comments have been disabled due to an increase in spam. Sorry!