It's time to start thinking about next month. If anyone has nominations for the poll, please post them this week. I'll set up a poll on Monday, which will be open until Saturday. Then everyone will have a week until the start of next month to get hold of the book.
Concerning how to do the poll: I've been wondering if I should tell people to comment below on what they want to read. I think it would be nice to increase the accountability a little bit. That does not in any way mean that I want people to feel guilty about not reading a book they voted for, there are all sorts of good reasons for doing that, but it would be nice to know from the start who is interested, plus you don't get notifications for a topic if you have just voted and not commented. Maybe we lose some people simply because they lose track of what's going on? Let me know what you think.
Some suggestions for new books:Jón Kalman Stefánsson: Himnaríki og helvíti (Heaven and Hell)
215 pages, Icelandic, has 63 different versions on Goodreads in a wide range of languages, including the big European languages, Scandinavian, Russian, Arabic, among others.
Note that this is the first book of a trilogy, and that the first book and the trilogy both have the same name.
Sjón: Mánasteinn: Drengurinn sem aldrei var til (Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was)
Amazon wrote:In a remote part of Iceland, a boy and his friend Barður join a boat to fish for cod. A winter storm surprises them out at sea and Barður, who has forgotten his waterproof as he was too absorbed in 'Paradise Lost', succumbs to the ferocious cold and dies. Appalled by the death and by the fishermen's callous ability to set about gutting the fatal catch, the boy leaves the village, intending to return the book to its owner. The extreme hardship and danger of the journey is of little consequence to him - he has already resolved to join his friend in death. But once in the town he immerses himself in the stories and lives of its inhabitants, and decides that he cannot be with his friend just yet.
Set at the turn of the twentieth century, Heaven and Hell is a perfectly formed, vivid and timeless story, lyrical in style, and as intense a reading experience as the forces of the Icelandic landscape themselves. An outstandingly moving novel.
142 pages, Icelandic, 28 different versions on Goodreads, mostly European languages
Knut Hamsun: Pan
Goodreads wrote:The mind-bending miniature historical epic is Sjón's specialty, and Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was is no exception. But it is also Sjón's most realistic, accessible, and heartfelt work yet. It is the story of a young man on the fringes of a society that is itself at the fringes of the world--at what seems like history's most tumultuous, perhaps ultimate moment.
Máni Steinn is queer in a society in which the idea of homosexuality is beyond the furthest extreme. His city, Reykjavik in 1918, is homogeneous and isolated and seems entirely defenseless against the Spanish flu, which has already torn through Europe, Asia, and North America and is now lapping up on Iceland's shores. And if the flu doesn't do it, there's always the threat that war will spread all the way north. And yet the outside world has also brought Icelanders cinema! And there's nothing like a dark, silent room with a film from Europe flickering on the screen to help you escape from the overwhelming threats--and adventures--of the night, to transport you, to make you feel like everything is going to be all right. For Máni Steinn, the question is whether, at Reykjavik's darkest hour, he should retreat all the way into this imaginary world, or if he should engage with the society that has so soundly rejected him.
134 pages, Norwegian, 162 different editions on Goodreads
Gustave Flaubert: Trois Contes (Three tales)
Goodreads wrote:Lieutenant Thomas Glahn, a hunter and ex-military man, lives alone in a hut in the forest with his faithful dog Aesop. Upon meeting Edvarda, the daughter of a merchant in a nearby town, they are both strongly attracted to each other, but neither understands the other's love.
120 pages (three different short stories), French, 254 different editions on Goodreads
Gaël Faye: Petit pays (Small country)
Goodreads wrote:Twenty years after Madame Bovary, Flaubert wrote Three Tales, each of which reveals a different aspect of his creative genius and fine craftsmanship.
In A Simple Heart, a story set in his native Normandy, in which every chapter, every place, every emotion corresponds to some person, some scene, some feeling in the author's past, he recounts the life of a pious and devoted servant girl. 'I want to move tender hearts to pity and tears,' he wrote, 'for I am tender-hearted myself.'
A stained-glass window in Rouen cathedral inspired him to write The legend of St Julian Hospitator with its insight into the violence and mysticism of the medieval mind. Herodias, the last of the three, is a masterly and powerful reconstruction of the events leading up to the martyrdom of St John the Baptist
219 pages, French, 58 versions on Goodreads, including languages like Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Arabic and Hebrew
Amazon wrote:Burundi, 1992. For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in his comfortable expat neighbourhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother and little sister, Ana, is something close to paradise. These are happy, carefree days spent with his friends sneaking cigarettes and stealing mangoes, swimming in the river and riding bikes in the streets they have turned into their kingdom. But dark clouds are gathering over this small country, and soon their peaceful idyll will shatter when Burundi and neighbouring Rwanda are brutally hit by war and genocide.
A haunting and luminous novel of extraordinary power, Small Country describes a devastating end of innocence as seen through the eyes of a young child caught in the maelstrom of history. It is a stirring tribute not only to a time of tragedy, but also to the bright days that came before it