Olga Zilberbourg’s Year in Reading, 2021

Thanks to Dorian Stuber’s very bookish blog prompt, I got a chance to reflect on my reading in 2021. It proved to be very meaningful as I move forward. Thank you, Dorian!

Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau

Today‘s reflection on a year in reading is by Olga Zilberbourg (@bowlga). The author of Like Water and Other Stories (WTAW Press) and four Russian-language books, Olga co-hosts the San Francisco Writers Workshop; and together with Yelena Furman runs Punctured Lines, a feminist blog about post-Soviet and diaspora literature.

Look for more reflections from a wonderful assortment of readers every day this week. Remember, you can always add your thoughts to the mix. Just let me know, either in the comments or on Twitter (@ds228).

El Anatsui, Fading Cloth, 2005

My reading life this past year was dominated by my role as a juror for the 2022 Neustadt International Literary Prize. The first task we were given was to nominate an author based on the quality of their writing. After considering (and rereading) authors from Yoko Tawada to Jenny Erpenbeck to Polina Barskova, I finally settled…

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3 thoughts on “Olga Zilberbourg’s Year in Reading, 2021

  1. Vishy

    Loved your post, Olga 😊 Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on your reading adventures of 2021. I want to read Liudmilla Petrushevksaya’s ‘The Time: Night’. It looks so fascinating! Boubacar Boris Diop looks like a very fascinating author! I want to read his ‘Kaveena’. His prize winning book sounds very heartbreaking to me. I remember you saying that you loved Cristina Rivera Garza’s ‘The Iliac Chest’. I love Michael Henry Heim’s translations from German and Serbian / Croatian. He was the translator of Danilo Kiš’ works and it was interesting to read about how they worked on the translations together. Such beautiful books you’ve read last year. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for reading, Vishy! Honestly, I loved every book on the prize list. Micheline Aharonian Macrom’s novel Three Apples Fell From Heaven was amazing, though also really really tough psychologically ( it’s about Armenian genocide). But truly an impressive performance. And then there was the amazing book by Kwame Dawes, Prophets. I got a study guide to read that one, because it goes so deep on some aspects of Jamaican culture and religion. Each book was kind of like that, a window into a slightly different world. So, so much fun!

      Re: Heim, I started reading his translations of Danilo Kiš, but it’s a bit slow-going for me. Will return to that!

      1. Vishy

        Thanks for sharing, Olga 😊 Micheline Aharonian Macrom’s novel looks very fascinating but also heartbreaking because of its theme. Kwame Dawes’ Prophets sounds wonderful too. Will add these two to my list. I can understand your thoughts on Danilo Kiš. It was slow-going for me too, when I read his books. Hope you enjoy them when you get back to them. Happy reading!

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