Some Plans: Spanish Literature – Japanese Literature and Mary Hocking

Japanese Literature Challenge

I’m not good at sticking to plans and projects these days. Especially not when I add reading lists to my intro posts. That jinxes it every time. Therefore, I’m not going to make the same mistake again and just let you know that I will take part in three events. Maybe these announcements will inspire the one or the other to join as well.

First up is Heavenali’s Mary Hocking Reading Month. I’d never heard of the author, nor was I familiar withHeavenali’s blog before I saw an announcement on Kaggy’s Bookish Ramblings. Browsing told me that Mary Hocking is right up my street and I decided, if I can get one of her many novels (many are out of print), I’ll join. So this is the only plan I’m sharing. I’ll be reading Mary Hocking’s The Very Dead of Winter.

The Very Dead of Winter

Here’s the blurb

This is a portrait of a family forced to confront the grievances of their shared past. In the very dead of winter they assemble at a remote country cottage enveloped in snow. Mary Hocking has also written “Good Daughters, Indifferent Heroes”, “Welcome Strangers” and “An Irrelevant Women”.

Should you want to join, there are quite a lot of used copies available. She’s written a lot of books, many of which have been published by Virago and are still in print. You can find a list on Heavenali’s blog.


July is Spanish Literature Month hosted by Richard (Caravana de Recuerdos) and Stu (Winstonsdad’s Blog). Two years ago, when they hosted the first Spanish Literature Month I had some wonderful plans and failed miserably. This year it should be different. I’ve been collecting books for the event, the general direction might be crime, but I’ll decide what I’ll read spontaneously.

Japanese Literature Challenge

Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Month 8 has started on the first of June and runs until the end of January 2015. On Bellezza’s blog you’ll find reading suggestions and links to the review site. This year I will read whatever I like, without taking into consideration whether or not the book has been translated into English. Hopefully I’ll be in the mood for something that has been widely transalated.

Will you participate in any of these events?

51 thoughts on “Some Plans: Spanish Literature – Japanese Literature and Mary Hocking

  1. I myself am having trouble with keeping up with my reading plans. Too much work and not enough reading! I am trying to join folks for a few events however.

    • Too bad but I know how you feel. But I was going to read something Spanish soon anyway and the Japanese Challenge has only just begun.
      I’ll manage at least one book. And I’ve started Mary Hocking.

  2. Much as I’d love to join in with Spain and Japan, reading plans just aren’t working for me at the moment!!

  3. Nice post, Caroline! I haven’t heard of Mary Hocking before. The blurb you have quoted looks quite interesting. ‘The Very Dead of Winter’ promises to be a fascinating novel. Happy reading!

    Spanish Literature Month sounds so exciting! I got Carmen Laforet’s ‘Nada’ recently. Hoping to read it soon. Now I am thinking whether I should wait till Spanish literature month starts 🙂

    I have always wanted to participate in Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Month. I don’t know whether this will the year when I will finally do that.

    Have fun participating in all these events, Caroline! Happy reading! I will look forward to reading your thoughts on some wonderful books.

    • Thanks, Vishy. I hope you can join in some of te events as well.
      I’ve gotten wiser – I haven’t added a litertaure list.
      The Very Dead of Winter is a quote form T.S. Eliot. The title alone sounds promising I think.
      Nada is a wonderfl book. i think it’s the book review that’s clicked the most often. I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.

      • Interesting to know that it is a T.S.Eliot quote, Caroline. Not adding the planned reading list was a very wise move 🙂 The title is definitely fascinating. I just saw your review of ‘Nada’. Looks like I missed it when you originally posted it – probably because it was before I discovered your blog. Looking forward to reading your review soon. And I want to read the book now 🙂 I am going to just pretend that it is July already 🙂

  4. Speaking of Spanish literature, could I encourage you to find some time for the work of Arturo Perez-Reverte (with special reference to his masterpiece “The Club Dumas”)? That work is a real delight to read, as well as being a sort of adventure. I understand his other works (which I’ve not read yet) are often works of derring-do, but of a higher quality than most. I’ve recently picked up his novel “Purity of Blood” at a free book stall; it seems to be about the rescue of a young Jewish girl from the hands of the priesthood and the Spanish Inquisition. It features Captain Alatriste, who I understand is the hero of several of Perez-Reverte’s novels. Anyway, just thought I would put in a strong plug for “The Club Dumas”; it’s a bookish and a book-lover’s mystery, and features an unusual form of Satan (but i don’t want to give too much away!). I don’t think I’ve written a post on it, though I may have. It would’ve been within the last two years, if I did.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I haven’t thought of Perez-Reverte in a long time. I’ve actually read the book and watched the movie. The combination of topics was something that really appealed to me but my memory is sadly blurred by now. It must have been at least ten years ago that I read it. Maybe it’s time for a re-read. I’ll have to look into his other novels.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘The Club Dumas’, Victoria. I read Arturo Perez-Reverte’s ‘Captain Alatriste’ and ‘Purity of Blood’ (first two books in the Alatriste series) years back when they first came out in English translation. They were quite interesting and I found them similar to Dumas’ ‘The Three Musketeers’ series with respect to the swashbuckling adventures. I have always wanted to read one of his standalone novels. I will look for ‘The Club Dumas’.

  5. Caroline, I’m so glad that you’re joining the (Please Feel No Pressure) Japanese Literature Challenge. It’s supposed to be fun, yet the very word ‘challenge’ can be annoying. I’m hoping you’ll read all that you want to, when you want to. 🙂

    Also, I’m excited about Stu and Richard’s Spanish Lit month myself! I’m having a hard a time deciding what to read exactly. Best to wait until July comes, I think.

    • Yes, that’s what I’m doing as well. I’ll pick it once July is getting closer. Same for your Challenge. I just seem to never read the books I have on my list so I decided not to write one. Although I always enjoy writing list. Yeah well.

  6. I know what you mean by making plans and lists (I do and love doing both), but then I seem to jinx myself every time–more like take on more than I have time to handle. All wishful thinking, but it will never stop me! I read Mary Hocking last year:
    She’s marvelous and I immediately ordered a few more of her books. I hadn’t heard of Heavenali’s Mary Hocking month–will check it out and am tempted to join you as I have The Very Dead of Winter sitting quite close to the top of one of my reading piles! I will watch from the sidelines for the other two readalongs but they both sound great. I have my own summer reading plans which I think will keep me busy as it is!

    • Now that you mention it – of course I’ve read your review but I forgot the author’s name. In any case – when I read some of the descriptions on Heavenali’s blog I thought of you and that she sounded like an author you’d like.
      I’m not surprised you got a few of her books lined up already. In The Dead of Winter looks very good.
      Are you “summering in Italy” again? 🙂
      I’m tempted to do a Crime in July Month – just for me.

  7. I hope to join in the Spanish and Japanese lit events, but I start back at university in July so I’ll have to see how I go with time management. Good luck with your reading plans. I usually fail at sticking to reading a list of books and I was quite surprised that I did actually read the three Angela Carter novels I set out to read. 🙂 I haven’t heard of Mary Hocking but I’ll have to check her out. Having read your posts on Bodies of Light and Molly Fox’s Birthday, I got them from the library the other day and they look like books I’ll enjoy, if I can find the time to read them. The one big problem with reading book blogs is that my TBR list just grows and grows!

    • Don’t tell me. I tripped over a huge pile this morning, all books I bought because of some review and was momentarily tempted to stop blogging.
      I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Madden and Moss.
      Those list are fatal. I’m not doing it anymore. Carter’s novels are quite short, so it’s a bit easier, maybe. I’m finishing the second book right now.
      I guess uni has priority – but it will be great of you join the events. I’m very keen on discovering Mary Hocking. The writing seems beautiful.

  8. Not sure why, but I haven’t felt like reading anything lately. Won’t be able to participate, but I look forward to the discussions. I admire your ambitious reading plans, Caroline!

  9. I am in my 6th year of participating in The Japanese Literature Challenge. I plan to join in the Spanish Challenge also.

  10. I’m planning to join Stu and Richard’s Spanish Lit Month, and I have a few books lined up. I’m also hoping to read a couple of Japanese novels between now and the end of this year with the aim of tying them into Bellezza’s event.

  11. Thanks for reminding me of Spanish Literature Month.
    I’ve never heard of Mary Hocking, so I’ll be discovering her with your review.

  12. You always participate in many events 🙂

    I am only going to participate in Japanese Literature. Just finished my first review. I missed the challenge last year so I’ll make I don’t miss this year’s challenge.

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