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review 2020-09-09 17:26
The Captain's Daughter and Other Stories by Alexander Pushkin
The Captain's Daughter: And Other Stories - Alexander Pushkin

There’s a little sense of dissonance when I read a classic and my response is “huh, okay.” This is especially true when I read the classic in translation; in this case, the translation is very smooth, contemporary, and easy to read, which causes its own form of dissonance. These now feel like contemporary stories rather than something written in the early 19th century, and compared to contemporary stories they don’t particularly stand out to me, but then I neither read them in their original language nor am familiar with the history of Russian literature so as to appreciate the ways in which Pushkin was blazing a new trail.

The stories:

“The Captain’s Daughter”: This novella occupies almost half of the book. It involves a romance between a young officer and the angelic daughter of the captain, set during the time of Pugachev’s rebellion, and Pugachev himself is the most vibrant character in it. The story moves along briskly and is fairly satisfying, though the characters are not particularly complex. This edition also includes an omitted chapter, which is interesting in that Pushkin ditched a bunch of melodrama and overt paternalism.

“The Tales of Ivan Petrovich Belkin”: These five stories, mostly around 15 pages each, are given a framing device in that they were all collected by a fictional young dead man, but they aren’t actually linked, so I’ll discuss them separately.

“The Shot”: The narrator pieces together the story of a multi-episode duel from others. It’s a bleak world in which men are expected to kill and die in duels over the most mundane insults, and those who refuse lose all respect from their fellows. (Pushkin, sadly, died himself in a duel at age 37.)

“The Snowstorm”: A prank disrupts a love affair. This is a cleverly structured story, in which after reading the end you go back and read over the earlier parts with fresh eyes, something I love in a short story. It made me uncomfortable in that I didn’t find Burmin’s behavior deserving of a happy ending.

“The Undertaker”: A man has ungenerous thoughts and is punished with a nightmare. Um, okay.

“The Postmaster”: Another narrator piecing together someone else’s story, this time of a postmaster and his prodigal daughter. This didn’t do much for me.

“Mistress Into Maid”: A sweet little story about a forbidden romance, also involving some pranking, but this time harmless. I enjoyed this one.

“The Queen of Spades”: This is a somewhat longer story about gambling and obsession, in which a calculating young man will go to almost any length for a guaranteed win at cards. I found this one pretty good and with a satisfying ending.

“Kirdjali”: Eight pages about the legend of an Eastern European bandit. Okay.

“The Negro of Peter the Great”: This is an unfinished fragment, around 40 pages long, of what was perhaps intended to be a novel. The title isn’t politically correct these days but the “Negro” in question is a (lightly fictionalized?) version of Pushkin’s own maternal great-grandfather, Abram or Ibrahim Gannibal, who was brought to Russia as a boy, adopted by Peter the Great as his godson, sent to France to study military engineering, and later returned to Russia to be an important figure in the military and the court. The fragment deals largely with Ibrahim’s love troubles, as well as his relationship with Peter the Great, who’s presented in a very positive light. This is interesting from a historical perspective though a fragment is unlikely to satisfy in a storytelling sense.

Overall, I’m glad to have read some work by a classic author I hadn’t been exposed to before, and appreciated the window into 18th and early 19th century Russia. But while the writing is perfectly fine, I can’t say any of it blew me away. I also have the sense that this collection doesn’t represent Pushkin’s best work, much of which was poetry and plays.

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review 2020-08-27 07:25
Candide and Other Stories by Voltaire
Candide and Other Stories - Voltaire

TITLE:  Candide and Other Stories

 

AUTHOR:  Voltaire

 

TRANSLATOR:  Roger Pearson

 

EDITION:  Oxford World's Classics

 

ISBN-13:  9780199535613

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DESCRIPTION:

"Candide is the most famous of Voltaire's "philosophical tales," in which he combined witty improbabilities with the sanest of good sense. First published in 1759, it was an instant bestseller and has come to be regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. What Candide does for chivalric romance, the other tales in this selection--Micromegas, Zadig, The Ingenu, and The White Bull--do for science fiction, the Oriental tale, the sentimental novel, and the Old Testament. The most extensive one-volume selection currently available, this new edition includes a new verse translation of the story Voltaire based on Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale: What Pleases the Ladies and opens with a revised introduction that reflects recent critical debates, including a new section on Candide."

____________________________

REVIEW:

 

I enjoyed the poem "What Pleases the Ladies?" and the short stories "Micromegas" and "The White Bull", but "Candide", "Zadig" and "The Ingenu" I found to be a bit tedious and long winded even though they weren't all that long. Unfortunately, world classics don't seem to appeal to me much. I can't say how accurate the translation is but it flows nicely without being clunky.  The notes at the back are helpful.  I just wish they would stick the damn notes at the bottom of the relevant page instead of making the reading flip to the back all the time.

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review 2020-08-26 06:40
Bluninja's Review
Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark - Greg Van Eekhout,Jason Fry,Lou Anders,Yoon Ha Lee,Sarah Beth Durst,Anne Ursu,Tom Angleberger,Zoraida Córdova,Rebecca Roanhorse,Preeti Chhibber,E. Anne Convery

Children's Fiction ~

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark

 

Review by: Bluninja29

 

Opening Thoughts:

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark is a collection of stories based off the TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2003 TV series.) It has 11 Short Stories all based off episodes from the TV show. with more view points that we didn't get to see in the show. One of the Short stories im are gonna look at is about Count Dooku.

 

Story:

Count Dooku was surprised attacked by the Republic.

 

Presentation:

I do like how these are in the characters point of view like Count Dooku. I also like how all the stories are based off the show. What I didn't like is how these are short stories, but it is a nitpick so I won't get crazy over it. I honestly liked this book.

If you are a star wars nerd or want to give your kid a star wars book to read. then this is the book for you!


4/5

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-08-17 01:46
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View - Paul Kemp

A short story anthology celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, featuring 40 stories about the events of the film told from different perspectives. Overall I really liked it, even though I’m a raging pedant and there were some inconsistencies between stories. It’s all true from a certain point of view, after all.

 

  1. RAYMUS by Gary Whitta: An okay story about the Tantive IV’s flight to Tatooine.
  2. THE BUCKET by Christie Golden: A kind of boring, pointless story about one of the Stormtroopers who apprehends Leia having a tiny pang of conscience.
  3. THE SITH OF DATAWORK by Ken Liu: An amusing story about an Imperial paper pusher using bureaucratic kung fu to help the guy who didn’t fire on the escape pod avoid summary execution for incompetence.
  4. STORIES IN THE SAND by Griffin McElroy: A freaking delightful story about Jot, one of the Jawas on the sandcrawler that picks up C-3PO and R2-D2. In my head-canon, he makes it to a spaceport before the Stormtroopers torch the sandcrawler, joins the crew of a freighter or something, and has a sweet life of adventures like he dreamed of.
  5. REIRIN by Sabaa Tahir: An okay story about an apparently Force-sensitive teenage sand people girl (I think?) tasked by some shady character with stealing a kyber crystal from Jot’s sandcrawler. In my head-canon, she keeps the crystal and she and Jot make it off Tatooine on the same ship and have adventures together.
  6. THE RED ONE by Rae Carson: A freaking delightful story about the real hero of the Rebel Alliance, R5-D4, the little red droid with the “bad motivator.” Spoiler: He survives the Stormtroopers and rolls off into the desert to have adventures. YAY.
  7. RITES by John Jackson Miller: A kind of boring story about the sand people who ambush Luke on his way to Obi-Wan’s hut. I did like the nod to the sand people village Anakin Skywalker slaughtered. Nice touch.
  8. MASTER AND APPRENTICE by Claudia Gray: A meh story about Force Ghost Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan having a chat, and the first Star Wars offering by Gray that I didn’t like. Sadness.
  9. BERU WHITSUN LARS by Meg Cabot: Ghost Beru muses on her place in Luke’s life after her violent and fiery death. Sadly, it’s pretty meh. Beru deserves better.
  10. THE LUCKLESS RODIAN by Renée Ahdieh: An okay story about the Han-Greedo cantina confrontation from Greedo’s perspective.
  11. NOT FOR NOTHING by Mur Lafferty: A hilarious story about the cantina band presented as a chapter from the memoir of a band member.
  12. WE DON’T SERVE YOUR KIND HERE by Chuck Wendig: The events in the cantina from the bartender’s perspective. It was dull and I still freaking hate Wendig’s writing style.
  13. THE KLOO HORN CANTINA CAPER by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction: Mildly amusing tale of cantina patron shenanigans that went on WAY TOO LONG and written in a style that was only cute for the first few pages.
  14. ADDED MUSCLE by Paul Dini: That horrible added Jabba-in-the-docking-bay scene from Boba Fett’s point of view. Meh.
  15. YOU OWE ME A RIDE by Zoraida Córdova: An okay story about two bounty hunter (?) sisters who think about stealing Han’s ship but miss their chance. The writing was good, but I don’t remember these characters in the background and it just felt a little random. I’ll have to look for them on my next rewatch.
  16. THE SECRETS OF LONG SNOOT by Delilah S. Dawson: The events in the cantina from the perspective of Long Snoot, who is apparently a super spy who resents being duped by the empire. I like Dawson’s writing, but the story is just okay.
  17. BORN IN THE STORM by Daniel José Older: The best account of all the Mos Eisley antics from the perspective of a Stormtrooper who has HAD IT with pretty much everything and just wants to ride off into the double sunset on a noble dewback. I freaking loved it.
  18. LAINA by Wil Wheaton: I saw Wil Wheaton and expected humor, so it’s on me and my unfounded expectations for not liking this account of a Rebel dad on Yavin 4 sending his baby girl to safety on . . . Alderaan. Shut up, Westley.
  19. FULLY OPERATIONAL by Beth Revis: That command staff meeting on the Death Star from General Tagge’s point of view. Calling it meh because it’s completely unmemorable. Revis has yet to wow me.
  20. AN INCIDENT REPORT by Mallory Ortberg: It’s Admiral Motti’s written complaint re: the staff meeting Force-choking incident. The best part was Motti insisting that thinking the Force is woo woo rubbish doesn’t make him a bigot. Otherwise it was pretty dull.
  21. CHANGE OF HEART by Elizabeth Wein: Another “Stormtrooper has a change of heart after encountering Leia” story from a Death Star trooper this time. What makes it even worse than the first one is the second-person-past-tense writing. What a choice. Ugh.
  22. ECLIPSE by Madeleine Roux: A heartbreaking account of the destruction of Alderaan from Queen Breha’s point of view. I freaking loved it, ugh, it destroyed me.
  23. VERGE OF GREATNESS by Pablo Hidalgo: Tarkin’s view of the events on Scariff and the destruction of Alderaan, with a quick paragraph from Krennic’s POV on Scariff. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t memorable.
  24. FAR TOO REMOTE by Jeffery Brown: A funny cartoon panel depicting the Imperials looking for the Rebel base on Dantooine.
  25. THE TRIGGER by Kieron Gillen: Doctor Aphra gets caught trying to strip the abandoned Dantooine base for salvage, then has to avoid execution by a baby-faced Stormtrooper. My first experience with the character, and I liked it.
  26. OF MSE-6 AND MEN by Glen Weldon: The true story behind what that mouse droid was doing in the corridors of the Death Star. Apparently it was ferrying messages between a lowly yet gorgeous Stormtrooper and an unnamed official with Alpha One security clearance. I really enjoyed it, but I have mixed feelings about implying Tarkin was gay. Ye olde “gay-code the villain” trope is not my favorite.
  27. BUMP by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker: That Stormtrooper who got Force persuaded by Obi-Wan in Mos Eisley (these are not the droids you’re looking for) gets back on the Death Star and realizes he has made a Terrible Mistake. I liked it.
  28. END OF WATCH by Adam Christopher: An okay story about a tired administrator who is only too happy to hand over the headaches in Docking Bay 327 and Detention Block AA-23 at the end of her shift.
  29. THE BAPTIST by Nnedi Okorafor: A surprising story about the Thing in the trash compactor that nearly drowned Luke. She was Force sensitive! And she had a Purpose! And I freaking love her!
  30. TIME OF DEATH by Cavan Scott: Obi-Wan sees visions of the past during? after? his confrontation with Vader. I liked this one despite my confusion.
  31. THERE IS ANOTHER by Gary D. Schmidt: Yoda bides his time on Dagobah and dreams of training Leia as a Jedi, not that angry, impulsive Luke. It’s too late to train him. Too much like his father, he is.
  32. PALPATINE by Ian Doescher: Doescher doing what Doescher does, i.e. a speech by the Emperor, Shakespeare style. It was okay, but Doescher is better and funnier and clever . . . er when he’s working from someone else’s script.
  33. SPARKS by Paul S. Kemp: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of Dex, one of the Rebel pilots who blows up. (Spoilers.) It was okay, but not terribly memorable.
  34. DUTY ROSTER by Jason Fry: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of a pilot who didn’t get to fly due to a shortage of functioning fighters. Slightly more memorable than Sparks.
  35. DESERT SON by Pierce Brown: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of Biggs. I already have trouble separating this one in my mind from Sparks. Biggs knew Luke from before and lasted longer than Dex. That’s about it.
  36. GROUNDED by Greg Rucka: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of the Rebels’ chief mechanic. Slightly heartbreaking look at the ones left behind, WAY more effective than Duty Roster.
  37. CONTINGENCY PLAN by Alexander Freed: Not my favorite thing by Freed. It’s basically Mon Mothma agonizing over everything while trying to make sure the Rebellion still has a future if she dies.
  38. THE ANGLE by Charles Soule: Lando Calrissian finds out Han Solo took his beloved Falcon into battle against the Death Star. I freaking loved it. Soule really caught the essence of Lando.
  39. BY WHATEVER SUN by E.K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein: A character from Johnston’s Ahsoka novel reflects on her time in the Rebellion during the medal ceremony. I really liked it, and it was nice to see a familiar character from novel canon.
  40. WHILLS by Tom Angleberger: A freaking hilarious account of the Whills bickering over the text crawl for Episode IV. I loved it, especially the Star Wars Holiday Special reference.
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review 2020-08-02 20:31
I loved every word
Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall - Kazuo Ishiguro

A truly delightful story. Imagine sipping a cool lager on a sunny afternoon or slipping away on a cloud of your dreams. Japanese storytelling is written in a clear and direct language, so easy to follow and engage with. Locations often range from the atmosphere of cocktail bars to the sleepy world of jazz music. Nocturnes by the wonderful Kazuo Ishiguro has as its theme love and music from the sights and sounds of an always romantic Venice to the picturesque quintessentially English Malvern Hills. It comprises 4 stories, loosely connected, cleverley presented, lovingly told….Highly, highly recommended.

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