01 April 2011


Books I finished in the first quarter of the year:

1. Kafka on the Shore by Murakami Haruki, translated by Philip Gabriel

2. Emotero by Mark Angeles

3. A Heart So White by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret Jull Costa

4. The Return by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews

5. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, translated by Mirra Ginsburg

6. Don Quixote, translated by John Rutherford [posts]

7. The Elephant Vanishes by Murakami Haruki, translated by Alfred Birnbaum and Jay Rubin

8. after the quake by Murakami Haruki, translated by Jay Rubin

9. Drown by Junot Díaz

10. Caravaggio by Francine Prose

11. Crossing the Heart of Africa by Julian Smith

12. Seashells of Southeast Asia by R. Tucker Abbott

13. Translation in Practice, edited by Gill Paul

14. Chronicle of My Mother by Inoue Yasushi, translated by Jean Oda Moy

I wasn't able to review everything here though I wrote about or discussed most of these in my reading groups in Shelfari and LibraryThing.

As to which books I heartily recommend: Don Quixote and A Heart So White were ahead of the pack. I loved posting about Don Quixote. I may write one more post to wrap up the whole experience.

Which books to try at your own risk: Kafka on the Shore and after the quake were a pair of duds. And a few stories in The Elephant Vanishes didn't make positive impressions. No, I'm not giving up on Murakami (just look at the title of my post). I will read all his books. I'm already just about halfway there.

Translation in Practice is a practical and short guidebook on translating and editing translations. It could be downloaded for free in the Dalkey Archive Press site (here).

Seashells of Southeast Asia is a field guide to the identification of mollusc shells that I brought to the beach two weeks ago. Time willing, I may post something on it.


  1. Shame the Murakami books weren't to your taste, Kafka on the shore, was the reason i got into Murakami & the elephant Vanishes contains my favourite HM short story ( on seeing a 100% perfect girl one beautiful april morning). I've just finished Jay Rubin's book on the man - Haruki murakami & the music of words, which i enjoyed & gave me some interesting insights, not just into HM, but the art of translating Japanese.

  2. Ps. just checked out the Junot Diaz book, in your list and it sounds interesting, what did you make of it.
    Interesting fact both Junot Diaz & Haruki Murakami were influenced by Raymond Carver, it seems.

  3. Parrish, I much preferred Norwegian Wood to these recent books I've read. I find I'm not too receptive of his fragmented and repetitious style so far. I also have that book by Rubin which I'm planning to read after I finished all the books - I think 12 - that were discussed in it.

    Diaz's "Drown" is an okay read for me. It's a collection of linked stories about immigrant life in the U.S. It almost approaches the cohesiveness of a novel.

    Carver is on my reading horizon too. Murakami was supposed to have translated all his stories in Japanese. Roberto also name-checks him as a highly recommended short story writer.