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text 2019-12-29 13:44
24 Festive Tasks: Door 19 - Festivus: Task 1
Hot Sur - Laura Restrepo,Ernesto Mestre-Reed
The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean
A Blunt Instrument - Georgette Heyer
The Hour of the Star - Benjamin Moser,Clarice Lispector,Colm Tóibín

Overall, 2019 was a phantastic reading year for me with decidedly more highs than lows.  Of the latter, my worst reading experiences were, in no particular order:

 

Laura Restrepo, Hot Sur: OK, forget the "in no particular order" bit for a moment.  A main character expecting me to empathize with her for siding with the psychopathic rapist of the woman she calls her best friend ... and actually trying to talk her best friend into agreeing her horrific experience was all just a "misunderstanding"?  Sorrynotsorry -- just, nope.  A hard DNF, and that main character deserved everything she had coming to her as a consequence.

 

Renée Ahdieh, The Wrath and the Dawn: Shallow, infantile in tone, and, most importantly, abominably bady researched.  I didn't DNF quite as quickly as Hot Sur, but I barely made it past the 1/3 mark.  I might have been marginally more understanding if it had come across as YA fantasy (which was frankly what I'd expected), but it's written as historical fiction -- and getting core historical details wrong in a book of historical fiction is just about the worst sin you can commit in my book.

 

Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon: Well, let's just say Mr. Kean is decidedly not Helen Czerski (which is NOT a good thing), and he also isn't half as funny as he apparently thinks he is.  What he seems to think is humor, to me comes across as arrogance and unwarranted judgmentalism -- and his research / fact checking on everything "non-physics" is plainly abominable.  Almost as importantly, his fractured narrative style and lack of clarity completely failed to translate to me his own professed enthusiasm for his subject.  Another book where I never got past the initial chapters.

 

Georgette Heyer, A Blunt Instrument: Heyer at her worst -- clichéd, biased, snub-nosed, with one-dimensional characters and a mystery whose solution is staring you in the face virtually from page 1.  I only finished it for confirmation that my guess was correct (which, dare I say "of course", it was), but it was a struggle of the sort I never experienced with Heyer before or since (and I've finished all of her mysteries in the interim).

 

Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star: I know Lispector is highly regarded, but she's obviously not for me -- I detest speech that is so deconstructed to barely make sense (even to mother tongue speakers, as it turns out); combine that with the drab narrative (if that word is even justified) of a drab character living a drab life, and you've lost me for good.  It was a blessing that this is a very short book; if it hadn't been, this would have been another DNF.

 

(Task: The airing of grievances: Which are the five books you liked least this year – and why?)

 

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text 2019-10-25 19:55
Weekend reads and a poll
The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest - G. Weston DeWalt,Anatoli Boukreev
The Muse - Jessie Burton
The Gospel of Loki - Joanne M Harris
The Master - Colm Tóibín
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
Longbourn - Jo Baker

It´s finally friday and I don´t have any plans for this weekend besides reading. Which is my favorite kind of weekend, tbh. 

 

BT and I are doing a buddy read of Anatoli Boukreev´s "The Climb" and I´m so excited to get started on a non fiction read. I just love a good mountaineering story and I hope this is going to be a good one. I certainly look forward to the transcript of the Mountain Madness Everest debriefing, which is at the back of the book.

 

And I got some new books over the last couple of weeks and who am I kidding, I want to read them all. So I thought I would let you decide what book I should pick up next after having finished "The Climb" and Pratchetts "Pyramids".

 

So here is the poll, which I will keep open until I have finished all my ongoing reads:

 

What should I read next?
The Muse
The Master
Longbourn
The Gospel of Loki
The Night Circus
 
 
I´m waiting with bated breath whether or not the poll is working (ETA: it´s working). So feel free to vote and have a lovely weekend everyone.
 
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text 2019-08-12 21:05
Ancient Greece
Heroes - Stephen Fry
House of Names - Colm Tóibín
The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker
Circe - Madeline Miller
Home is the Hunter: A Comedy in Two Acts - Helen MacInnes
Der Gesang der Wellen - Manuel Vicent

I had not planned this, but sometimes books just work out this way. 

 

As I'm in the middle of the third book this month that is a re-telling of Greek myths and history, I might as well make a month of it. 

 

My library reservation of Circe became available and I recently picked up Home is the Hunter, which should be interesting as MacInnes is better-known for the thrillers, and Der Gesang der Wellen (tr. The Song of the Sea/Waves), which was a recommendation by a fellow BookLiker, Locus Amoenus. I had no idea what Der Gesang der Wellen is about but the back cover tells me it features Odysseus. 

 

So, there we have it, I'm going to spend much of August in Ancient Greece.

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text 2019-08-04 19:59
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
House of Names - Colm Tóibín

Yup. I loved this one.

 

There are obvious deviations in outlook from what I expect to find in the original source material - whether it be Aeschylus, Euripides, or Sophocles - but I like what Toibin made of it. 

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text 2019-08-04 18:27
Reading progress update: I've read 80%.
House of Names - Colm Tóibín

The shifting perspectives and different perceptions of truth, and the nuances in the description of different characters in this book are pretty fab. 

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