Sunday is the first day of the week though I persist in thinking it’s the last like many other people. I don’t know why I said that but I think it does well for an introduction, no? I had a semi-successful reading week. I think I’m getting the hang out reading what I can where I can and when I can. It is delicious stuff, reading is. Here are the books I read last week accompanied by three or four sentence reviews:
- Winterwood – Jacey Bedford
Sadly I didn’t enjoy this one at all. Here’s why.
- The Elephant Vanishes – Haruki Murakami
I adored this one. Because:
Some of the stories are unsettling, some are sly, and yet others offer an intensely introspective look at the world we live in. I have been reading Murakami for a long time and I can say with what little authority I have that this may be his finest work yet. I don’t know where I read this but he is on record as saying that he finds short stories more fun to write than novels. His style is meticulous with a keen eye for details which can sometimes translate as being tedious and repetitive in novels but in short stories, especially the ones in this volume, the details stop just shy of being overwhelming. I cannot pinpoint a favourite though the one that lingers the longest is called “The Silence” where a man recounts how his 15 year old self was ostracized. The layered poignancy, resignation and fear of recurrence makes for a compelling story that will leave you thinking and musing. If you haven’t read any Murakami yet, I say start with this because the collection showcases Murakami’s varies interests and styles perfectly.
- A Criminal Magic – Lee Kelly
I liked this one a lot. It is set in 1930s and predicated on the ban on magic in America–a prohibition of magic than say alcohol. Sharp characters, wonderful writing, and a breathtaking climax.
- The Winner’s Kiss – Marie Rutkoski
The best one out of the three and I am glad of that. The climax to The Winner’s Trilogy shows a maturity in Rutkoski’s writing, reveals an ease with which she slides into the narratives that is a pleasure to read. I enjoyed this a fair bit.
I am currently reading:
- Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
I’m about 80 pages in and I have mixed feelings about it. This may be due to me having read a lot more academic/research papers than the common person. Aziz’s writing tries to be funny but so far has been falling short off the mark for reasons I don’t understand. The book lacks the crispness of academic language and also the warmth of a memoir. It straddles (rather uneasily, in my opinion) the fence between both with language that tries to be both warm and crisp and honestly, achieves neither tone in a rather disconcerting manner. Hrm. I will need more time to see if my feelings about the book change significantly.
- It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel – Firoozeh Dumas
This book is an absolute delight so far. More on this in a review on the book wars.
- Vano and Niko by Erlom Akhvlediani
I was perusing the book section of a charity shop attached to the library which is conveniently next door to where I work when my gaze snagged on this thin volume. I pulled it off the shelf and flipped it open to see odd illustrations (stick figures of men) and in the pages between, prose. I read a bit of the book and decided I must have it but alas they didn’t take card and I carried no cash. So I put it back and sadly wondered if my fate with Akhvlediani was over. Then I procured some coins and returned the next door and it was still there! So I grabbed it, paid, and skipped away. Not really, I walked away in a very dignified manner. Even sedately, if you want to believe me. But inside I was celebrating. I have never read anything by a Georgian author before and I do so love translated fiction so here’s hoping for the best.
- Blackmoore – Julianne Donaldson
Hmm. I am in the mood for a love story and this seems like it will deliver and not be too offensive? I hope? We will see.
- Design for Dying – Renee Patrick
Women detectives. 1920s. Sign me up. I actually have yet to read any significant amount of this but I hope I get a chance to this coming week.
- Dreams of Distant Shores – Patricia A. McKillip
I adore McKillip’s writing and her previous collection of short stories was a favourite of mine. I figure a story a day or something like that will go a long way to keeping me happy.
To read next?
Well, these six books ought to keep me preoccupied but I might read A Gathering of Shadows instead of one of the others because the library rather instantly demands it back after three weeks.