Monthly Archives: January 2012

Books in January

January was a good month for reading, what with half of it spent on vacation with little else to do. The fact that I’m taking yet another history of literature class helped as well.

The year got started with an Arsène Lupin book, this one called The Hollow Needle. It was entertaining enough, although my favourite gentleman thief got very little screen time. He was, more or less, replaced by the clever schoolboy detective Isidore Beautrelet, who turned out amusing enough. While this book was entertaining, I still maintain that Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Thief remains the best out of the four I have read.

Published for the first time: 1909 (original title L’Aiguille creuse)

Translation: V. Hämeen-Anttila 1909

Pages: 238

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch was a reread I could not resist any longer. It is the second part in the Gentleman Bastard sequence, and very close to as brilliant as the first part, The Lies of Locke Lamora. This book is mostly set at sea, on a pirate ship, and the main characters are in trouble, as usual.

Published: Gollancz 2007

Pages: 628

My library excursions lead me to the romance shelf, and I picked up yet another Julia Quinn book, this one called Ten Things I Love About You. A newer Quinn, this one was a much pleasanter read than the previous ones. The plot is more even, the characters are pleasant and relatable, and the language has improved. There are some clichés, of course, like the jilted, angry Earl, but those are a given in the genre. I felt Sebastian’s war trauma was not made the most of nor adequately solved, although it is nice to see an author trusting the reader enough to pick up the little pieces of information to see the answer for themselves. His writing career was a definite perk, and made me chuckle on several occasions. Annabel, the heroine, was believable, although I would have wished to see her keep her pragmatic streak up until the very end. There is no angst over her family though, for which I was glad.

Published: Avon Books 2010

Pages: 377

After this new romance, I felt the need to get back to Georgette Heyer, whose Frederica was an absolute treat to read. Heyer’s writing is amazingly subtle and refined. The opening of the book was slightly on the heavy side, reminding me of Austen’s Persuasion, but once one gets the hang of who is who the whole things becomes easy to follow. Those looking for the thrill of romance this book might not be the bull’s-eye, for the relationship between Frederica and the Marquis develops little by little – but when it finally gets to full kick towards the end of the book it is as sweet as anyone could wish.

Published for the firts time: 1965

Pages: 380

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment was required reading, and to my great astonishment I enjoyed it. It gauges the mental world of Raskolnikov, as he is about to commit a murder and after the act itself. Although very little actually happens, one keeps reading, just to see whether he goes mad or not. Not a world classic for nothing.

Published for the first time: 1866 (original title Преступление и наказание)

Translation: J. A. Hollo

Pages: 532

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is known to many, and I dare say many have also read this novella. As an insectophobe I found it slightly disconcerting – all the description of Gregor’s insect body forced me to have breaks during the reading – but it was also interesting. I admit the finer details of the text are still lost to me, but I hope I will gain better understanding when we discuss the work in class. Worth a read, everyone – and it’s very short, too!

Published for the first time: 1915 (original title Die Verwandlung)

Translation:

Pages: 64

My father read me Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita when I was little, and that is why I chose to read it for class also. I remembered very little. The whole book kept taking me by surprise, and I had a completely new appreciation for its numerous characters and stories that intertwine in the end. Bulgakov is an excellent writer, and has an impeccable sense of humour. If you enjoy a satire, I dare say this will be to your taste. It was to mine.

Published for the first time: 1966-1967 (original title Мастер и Маргарита)

Translation: Ulla-Liisa Heino 1969

Pages: 499

I saw Atonement as a movie not too many months ago, so I had a firm grip of the events of Ian McEwan’s novel. I’m almost sure I like the movie better: the book was unevenly balanced, had some rather pointless bits, and it was hard to feel sympathy towards the main character Briony. I also found myself unwilling to read at times, which reflected in the time it took me to read this short-ish book. I doubt I will return to McEwan.

Published: Jonathan Cape 2001

Pages: 372

The last read of the month was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. With the movie coming and my friend recommending it, I decided to finally give the series a shot, and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. It was less gory, less intricate, and more about romance than I had expected, but it worked well. The writing flows very effortlessly, there is always something happening, and the reader feels for the characters, all of them. The cliffhanger ending, both in terms of political situation and the rapidly forming love triangle are currently bugging me. Getting the sequel, Catching Fire, from the library will take some time, but I’m hoping someone among my friends owns the books so I could borrow them.

Published: Scholastic 2008

Pages: 454

So that was January. I also read Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, but it did not make the list as it contained poems with no plot, and I do not think I am any authority on poetry. (These seemed rather Romantic. More like Coleridge than Wordsworth.)

Currently I’m reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South and enjoying her style immensely.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The 2012 Anticipation

New year, new books! This is the first year when I am actually aware of the books that are coming out, and although my anticipation list is not the longest possible I am very excited about the books on it.

Here they are, in release order (most release dates are from http://en.risingshadow.net/):

Saladin Ahmed: The Throne of the Crescent Moon (February 2nd)

This book seems so very promising it is hard not to want to read it! The first chapter is very promising – you can read it here: http://www.saladinahmed.com/wordpress/2011/10/28/throne-of-the-crescent-moon-chapter-one/

The book speaks for itself, I think.

Anne Rice: The Wolf Gift (February 14th)

When I started high school, I found Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles (you know – Interview with the Vampire, Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned…). And now she has finally written a novel about werewolves! I am currently plotting the fastest way of acquiring the book.

Douglas Hulick: Sworn in Steel (April)

Even though the first book in the Tales of the Kin series, Among Thieves, did not pull my heartstrings like I had expected it to do, I am curious about the second instalment. I expect to get more into Drothe’s world, although I have a feeling this will be on my list for light summer reading.

Sam Sykes: The Skybound Sea (April)

I have yet to read the second book in this trilogy, but I nonetheless anticipate this last one. The first book, Tome of the Undergates, got better the farther you got, and I have a hope that this trend will continue throughout the series – which, of course, would mean that Skybound Sea would be the best one. I will have to make an effort to get my hands on Black Halo (Aeon’s Gate #2) before this one comes out.

Mark Lawrence: King of Thorns (August)

The second on my Most Exciting list is this book, the second book in the Broken Empire trilogy. Prince of Thorns surprised me with its pull, so it was a relief to find out the next instalment in the series was not too far a wait away.

Hannu Rajaniemi: The Fractal Prince (September)

What can I say? The Quantum Thief was the first sci-fi book I had read in years, and I liked it more than I ever thought I would, so I am excited for the next book in the trilogy!

Scott Lynch: Republic of Thieves (October)

This is absolutely my number one anticipation book. The release date has been pushed back several times due to all sorts of difficulties, but I remain hopeful. I decided some time ago to do my utmost not to spoil myself, which has been a little difficult since the blurb is out as well as the prologue, of which I read about half before I decided I would much rather know nothing about the book before actually starting to read it.

This is not a multitude of books, but I find this soothing – the fewer books I anticipate, the bigger percentage of them it is possible for me to buy. That, if anything, is a happy thought!

I will, as usual, return at the end of the month. Until then, keep turning those pages!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2011 in Books

My goal for 2011 was 50 books – and that leaves out most of the things I read for school, such as a couple of plays, bits and pieces for literature courses, text books et cetera. Even without counting those I got past my goal! Champagne for all!

Without further ado, here is the list.

  1. Joe Abercrombie: the Blade Itself
  2. Scott Lynch: the Lies of Locke Lamora
  3. Ellen Kushner: Swordspoint
  4. Jane Austen: Persuasion
  5. Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility
  6. Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey x2
  7. Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer: the Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years After
  8. Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre
  9. Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer: Sorcery and Cecelia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot
  10. Eva Ibbotson: Magic Flutes
  11. Melissa Anelli: Harry, A History
  12. Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice
  13. Julia Quinn: Brighter Than the Sun
  14. Diana Wynne Jones: Howl’s Moving Castle
  15. Horace Walpole: the Castle of Otranto
  16. Georgette Heyer: Lady of Quality
  17. Karen Joy Fowler: the Jane Austen Book Club
  18. Jane Austen: Mansfield Park
  19. Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer: the Grand Tour, or the Purloined Coronation Regalia
  20. P. G. Wodehouse: Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen
  21. Oscar Wilde: the Portrait of Mr W. H.
  22. George R. R. Martin: A Clash of Kings
  23. Robin McKinley: Rose Daughter
  24. Jeff VanderMeer: City of Saints and Madmen
  25. Georgette Heyer: Devil’s Cub
  26. Hannu Rajaniemi: the Quantum Thief
  27. Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
  28. Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  29. Ilmari Turja: Kuiva juusto
  30. Stephanie Laurens: Four in Hand
  31. J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  32. Georgette Heyer: Black Moth
  33. Oscar Wilde: the Picture of Dorian Gray
  34. Douglas Hulick: Among Thieves
  35. George R. R. Martin: A Storm of Swords part 1: Steel and Snow
  36. Patrick Rothfuss: the Name of the Wind
  37. Drew D. Gray: London’s Shadows
  38. Jim Butcher: Storm Front
  39. George R. R. Martin: A Storm of Swords part 2: Blood and Gold
  40. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  41. Sam Sykes: Tome of the Undergates
  42. Georgette Heyer: Regency Buck
  43. Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall
  44. Homer: Odyssey
  45. Mark Lawrence: Prince of Thorns
  46. George R. R. Martin: A Feast for Crows
  47. Euripides: Medea
  48. Glen Duncan: the Last Werewolf
  49. Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman: the Fall of the Kings
  50. Catherine Arnold: City of Sin
  51. Georgette Heyer: These Old Shades
  52. Dante Alighieri: Inferno
  53. Dan Abnett: Triumff, Her Majesty’s Hero
  54. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: Don Quixote, part 1
  55. Voltaire: Candide
  56. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: the Sorrows of Young Werther
  57. Patrick Rothfuss: the Wise Man’s Fear
  58. George R. R. Martin: A Dance with Dragons
  59. Julia Quinn: Everything and the Moon
  60. Maurice Leblanc: Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar
  61. Maurice Leblanc: 813
  62. Brandon Sanderson: the Final Empire
  63. Brandon Sanderson: the Well of Ascension
  64. Brandon Sanderson: the Hero of Ages
  65. Maurice Leblanc: Arsène Lupin vs Sherlock Holmes

65 out of 50 is not bad, although I say it myself.

For a couple of years now I have found, usually during the summer, a book that has made me go “WOW!” This reaction usually means I fall in love with the author and read just about anything by them I can lay my hands on, and the previous years they have been:

  • 2009 – Scott Lynch (the Lies of Locke Lamora)
  • 2010 – Ellen Kushner (Privilege of the Sword)

The WOW of 2011 is… Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns)! I am beyond excited that the sequel, King of Thorns, is coming out in August this year – I will do an anticipation list later this month.

So that’s all, folks. I will get back to reading now, before it gets awfully late.(It already is, but I have two more weeks of vacation before I have to pay attention to keeping regular hours again.)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized