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Dec. 4th, 2014 09:04 pm
taelle: (Default)
As always, Thursday totally counts as Wednesday, so.

I recently read three mysteries by Catriona McPherson - liked them a lot, need to get more. I think in all three the murder was less of a mystery than the surrounding circumstances - which are VERY twisty; people aren't dead when they are announced to be, aren't children of their supposed parents, etc. Basically, I was genuinely interested in knowing how it would end. They're a bit strange to me character-wise because of Dandy the detective (especially Dandy's marriage) - okay, I am an emotionally cool person myself, but. Why on earth did she marry Hugh? Also, Alec, despite there being a lot about him in the first novel, doesn't quite come alive to me. Oh well.

I now have a Smartphone which makes it much easier to read Kindle books, so I left alone the ones I began on my reader and went to start several of my old and new Kindle buys. Fran Pickering's Cherry Blossom Murder is a murder mystery about Takarazuka - how could I not? I haven't read enough to say whether I like it, though - I also started Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth Vail, a Regency fantasy with a mysterious footman, and a book about cleaning and housekeeping by Kondo Marie - I love books about cleaning and creating order, they're very soothing for me.

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Jul. 31st, 2014 07:17 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
I have been reading and rereading the latest poem by Dmitry Bykov (and reading it out loud to myself). The one about the Malaysian airliner, except that it's not. I kinda regret that it's an English-language blog that I am having here and I can't post it here too.

Because it's important to me. Especially the way it ends. You see, the way things are going here, at least 80% of the population support Putin's policy or are even more rabid than that. I am an alien here. I always knew my political and social position isn't that popular, but in the last several months it turned out that I am an alien even to a lot of ordinary 'neutral' people who keep turning out to be rabid nationalists (I am still reading Klemperer and not liking that feeling).

And on top of that, out of the remaining 20%, the ones on my side, keep saying that we are doomed to this. To madness. That my country will never ever be an ordinary country among others; that nothing will ever be right, that the country, the people, will be nothing more than a bad example to humanity: see this? Don't do things like this.

And Bykov is saying: no, that's not Russia, I don't know what it is and I am not sure how to deal with this, but there's no proof that this is actually Russia as it is.


... meanwhile I missed Wednesday again, so belated reading report:

I finished Emperor's Agent, and it was rather cool. I really grew to like those people towards the end (I had a problem with 'I remember my past lives, I was this and that great person' initially, since I have met people who said this and they were tiresome and unpleasant, but I guess you are allowed to remember being Hephaistion and Robert Dudley in past lives if you're Michel Ney in this one). I wonder whether I should now go read the first book, or whether it would be unpleasant - Elza's relationship with Moreau doesn't seem to have been a nice one.

I also finished the Robin Hood time-hopping book I mentioned last time: a lot of fun. Pity there's no sequel. And the hero's modern views are a lot of fun in contrast with those that surround him ("Robin also believes in God? Damn!")

I have read the first October Daye book and found it very good, reminding me of the first Anita Blake books (and the bit about the fish is really scary: a horror you _really_ can imagine in your life).

I have started the second one... and then, reading the blurbs for the following books on Amazon, was kind of spoiled, so I paused. But I definitely will finish this one, and probably go on reading them, so that's for my reading plans.

Meanwhile I also started a book called 'Poland: a neighbor for thousand years', which is kind of a historical guidebook. The author is confusing at times (I am not sure what he wanted to say about Polish pronunciation, for example), but less confusing in history and respectful and interested, which is good since Poland was always a touchy subject here.
taelle: (books)
Have read:

Finished Two Caskets, Made of Turquoise and Jade - even managed to catch some allusions to modern Russian writers (amazing, that - since usually I only know genre writers). Nicely done.

And I am about ten pages from finishing Edo culture. Later chapters on music and theatre were a bit less interesting because they went more into specialist subjects and evidence and less into stories. But still, there were stories. It was good.

Am reading:

The Emperor's Agent by Jo Graham apparently has an investigation subplot. Which is good. Though right now it's more a flashback about the heroine's relationship with Ney, which is bad because from the current events we know it ended unhappily, and such things make me tense. Also, this is apparently a second book, and I think the thing I miss most is the mystical stuff/the stuff about the Companions.

LTI - Lingua Tertii Imperii by Victor Klemperer, still fairly scary.

Also started a chance recommendation - a portal fantasy called Robin Hood's Friend and Lieutenant, by Anna Ovchinnikova. It has Little John being actually a modern Russian guy who ended up in Sherwood by chance magical means. Fun so far.


Am going to read:

Still thinking about October Daye books.
taelle: (books)
Have read:

The Body in the Fjord, one of Catherine Hall Page's Faith Fairchild mysteries - this one featuring mostly her friend Pix Miller and Pix's mother, travelling in Norway and trying to find a girl who has disappeared. Left me wanting to go to Norway and to eat a lot of Norway foods.

A Charm of Magpies by K.J. Charles, a m/m romance/urban fantasy series set in AU Victoriana with magic. Very nice, plotty and readable.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison - loved it for a lot of reasons, including characters I would have liked to meet and background suggestions of culture (really loved the party with talking about philology and embroidery).

Am reading:

The Emperor's Agent by Jo Graham, much recommended - not sure what I think yet (I'm about 40 pages in). I am wary of 1st person books, but I have not felt like throwing it away by now.

Edo Culture by Nishiyama Matsunosuke - a collection of writings about urban culture in 17-19th century Japan, a lot of interesting stuff (especially about cooking and restaurants).

LTI - Lingua Tertii Imperii by Victor Klemperer, a collection of notes on the language of the Nazi Germany interspersed with diary entries of the author, a Jew who was not sent to camps because of his 'Aryan' wife. With lots of predictably horrible details - I read about camps, but many details of everyday humiliations and terror for not-imprisoned Jews were news to me. The most horrifying, though, are the moments where he describes his former colleagues becoming Nazi. Also, this is all rather frightening in connection with our current situation.

Two Caskets, Made of Turquoise and Jade, by Alexander Sekackii - the author states he's only a translator from Chinese, and this book is a collection of crib notes for medieval Chinese officials taking exams. An interesting approach to parables, sort of giving two to four versions of answers to set problems - that is, ways of seeing every parable from different sides.

Am going to read:

Don't know, but I am thinking about October Daye books by Seanan McGuire
taelle: (books)
What I have just finished reading: on Dec31 I read a Russian fantasy novel (not translated) about a random guy who ends up in a body of young Border Guards officer in the late 19th century and uses his technical knowledge (he's a gun nut and supposedly just generally good at technology) to get himself a fortune as a manufacturer (at the same time being awfully good at border guarding). A fairytale for boys; there's a sequel where this guy has plans to avoid coming revolution and the like. Why are all such books so empire-minded?

What I am reading now: (only what I am _actively_ reading)

H.V. Morton's A Stranger in Spain - I like Morton's travel writing, both for descriptions and for interest in people (and also for assuming that his readers have the same cultural baggage - I wonder if his original readers actually did have the same classical and Christian allusions on their minds).

Gordon Corrigan's Wellington, A Military Life - looks like I'm on a Napoleonica (for lack of a better name) kick again, and I like Wellington (I get a thrill from reading about people who are basically orderly by nature, 'cause usually people worthy of being written about, both in fiction and in biographies, are the messy creative types).

Graham Parry's Trophies of Time - a part of my 'maybe let's revive the dissertation' reading program. Essays/articles about antiquaries, some better known, some practically unknown.

Simon Schama's Citizens - 1000 pages All About French Revolution. Interesting and more balanced than I usually see (growing up in USSR I read all about how awesome revolutionaries were, later on I see mostly stuff about how awful the revolutionaries were).

What I am planning to read next: have no foggiest idea - probably should finish some other books I pecked into/left unfinished. Probably still Napoleonica.

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Jul. 12th, 2012 03:27 am
taelle: (persuasion)
Maybe there should be a law about never reading fantasy based on your own culture. Because really, the _Grisha_? How dumb is that?

... maybe it's strange that the Takarazuka versions of Russian classics don't turn me off, I dunno.

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Apr. 13th, 2012 01:09 am
taelle: (books)
Funny thing about being ill: it drives me to rereading.

So, after a couple of days being unable to do much except dull websurfing and yesterday's random rereading of Tatyana Ustinova's romantic mysteries (random rereading involves jumping around and not reading bits you don't like much), today I went and reread Diana Wynne Jones's Witch Week. (partly inspired by reading DWJ2012 tumblr, I suppose).

Only, now I fret because apparently I lack a bunch of Chrestomanci books I wouldn't mind rereading too - did I just not buy them? I know they came out in Russian... And Russian online bookstores seem to be out of them. Maybe I should go stare at Aphrohead.

Also, House of Many Ways is out in Russian.

Also, I remembered why I was disturbed by Witch Week which was probably the first DWJ I read: Chrestomanci's initial behaviour towards the five that called them. Always seemed to me a bit unreasonable and not taking the situation in context. Though now I suppose it's just his character.

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