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text 2020-01-14 10:58
Reading progress update: I've read 445 out of 741 pages.
The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir,H.M. Parshley,Deirdre Bair

Hooray - I am able to post again.


So, here are some consolidated updates on de Beauvoir's classic:


Page 245:

The chapter on Montherlant was fairly rage-inducing. Next up: an analysis of D.H. Lawrence's work, which I predict will also make me want to reach for the sick bucket. Let's see how Lawrence fares in de Beauvoir's estimation.


Page 255:

Yep, yep. De Beauvoir's analysis supports the conclusions I have drawn from reading Lawrence. They are not showing Lawrence in a favourable light.


Page 282:

"Stendhal never describes his heroines as a function of his heroes: he provides them with their own destinies. He undertook something rarer and that no other novelist, I think, has ever done: he projected himself into a female character. He does not examine Lamiel as Marivaux does Marianne, or Richardson does Clarissa Harlowe: he shares her destiny as he had shared that of Julien."

Need to add Stendhal to the TBR.


Page 445:

Right, I thought Book 1 of the book was fabulous.

Having just finished Part 1 of Book 2, I have issues with the theories, explanations, and research that is presented here.

For one, whether it is mentioned or not, the entire first Part is deeply Freudian. Adler is mentioned, but overall Freudian ideas prevail. This may have still been relevant in 1949, but now feels VERY dated.
Also, I really can't stand Freud.

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text 2020-01-09 20:57
Reading progress update: I've read 169 out of 741 pages.
The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir,H.M. Parshley,Deirdre Bair

Despite H.M. Parshley's introductory assurances that his abridgment of the original text in the 1953 translation is minor, the audiobook (based on the most recent and unabridged translation) makes it very clear that the original translation (1953 by Parshley) misses out on material that is very noteworthy and very much is part of de Beauvoir's argument. 


Right now, I am mightily peeved that Parshley cut quite a few parts from the chapters on women's history. While Parshley may have felt that he was merely "reducing the extent of the author's illustrative material", the removal of said illustrative material kinda feels like a silencing or an glancing over or outright omitting of the fact that certain people, works, or ideas even existed. 

I certainly would not have known them had de Beauvoir not listed them for illustration. 

So, I am rather glad I am having both the old and the new translation at hand for comparison.


But, yes, I'm peeved at Parshley right now.

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review 2020-01-09 19:21
The Winter Queen
The Winter Queen - Boris Akunin,Andrew Bromfield

Not bad, but just not for me. 


I'm not keen on pastiche and this was very ... unoriginal. It felt like a story cobbled together with bits and pieces of other books: Sherlock Holmes, Conrad's The Secret Agent, some Chekhov...and possibly some early James Bond.


The writing was consistently good and there was certainly lots of fun to be had and lots of atmosphere to be enjoyed, but I just couldn't get excited about the story or the characters.

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text 2020-01-07 21:34
Reading progress update: I've read 24 out of 249 pages.
The Winter Queen - Boris Akunin,Andrew Bromfield

‘What it means is not for me to judge. But I have a good idea how things happened. Our well-heeled and pampered gilded youth decided to bid the world farewell. But before he died he wanted to give his nerves a bit of a thrill. I read somewhere that it’s called “American roulette”. It was invented in America, in the goldfields. You put a single shot in the cylinder, give it a twirl, and then – bang! If you’re lucky you break the bank, if not, then it’s goodbye and farewell.

Oh, this IS fun. 

It's a little bit like Sherlock (the BBC series, not Conan Doyle's original) but set in Moscow in 1876.

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text 2020-01-05 20:14
The 2020 Mount TBR Project

Hello! Happy New Reading!


After taking a break in 2019 from TBR busting, I am going to use 2020 for a new Mount TBR Project. It will take the same form as my previous Mt. TBR Projects but this year there are no physical stacks of books piled on the top of my living room shelves. If I have learned anything from the project in 2018, it is that being startled by a stack collapsing unexpectedly is a lot less stressful than having to empty the entire shelf to retrieve books that have fallen behind it. Also...new shelves: the shelves I put up at the start of last year are too tall to put stacks on top of them, BUT I have dedicated two shelves specifically to the Mount TBR Project.



I'm not one for setting reading challenges or specific objectives in connection with my reading - I really like flexibility and being able to just pick up whatever I feel like.  

However, I had Mt. TBR Projects in 2015, 2016, and 2018 and all were reasonably successful in curtailing the physical books on my shelves.

Last year, I gave it a miss in favour of flexibility, whim, and complete disregard for my poor, long-suffering shelves. It was fun. So much fun.

Of course, there was a drawback: I have accumulated a number of physical books over the last year that have just sort of gathered in stacks on top of my shelves again... and it is time to read them.



Rules - same as previously - are that I picked a stack of physical books off my shelves at home which I would try to read over the course of the year. If I pick another (yet unread) physical book off my shelves, I get to take one off the Mt. TBR shelves and put it on the regular shelf - as a substitute. In a change from previous years, new purchases (physical books only) will not be added to the Mt. TBR shelves - I will track these separately.

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