H-mb's reading journal 2016
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I miserably failed last year to review, even very briefly, the books I read. This isn't a problem about English as I can't do it in French either. But I'll try again!
I'll vote for the Hugos for the first time and will try to read more short fiction this year as I want to be able to nominate in more than one category!
I'm interesting in the GeoCat challenge too. I noticed I read to much american and british books and very, very few from other countries.
And there's "that which mustn't be named", which threatens to bury me. I should sign for ROOT but I'm desillusioned about myself when the formidable TBR pile is concerned. Zut, I said it...
So, a new year, an old resolution and a big pack of books. Hapiness!
For GeoCat challenge, here's a tentative program :
January in South America with Alberto Manguel's The library at night - and one less on the pile. I can't read Manguel without thinking of Borges so I'll probably re-read some poems by Borges.
February inCentral Asia : I'll probably cheat with Le livre de Dede Korkut dans la langue de la gent Oghuz.
March in Eastern Europe or Russia with Kadaré's Le palais des rêves.
April in the Polar Regions with Oiseau de malheur by Johanna Sinisalo.
May in North America / Mexico with ?
June in Australia, New Zealand with Joel Shepherd's 23 years on fire - and two less on the pile.
August in Southern Africa with ?
September in Southern Asia with ?
October in Eastern Asia with L'écriture poétique chinoise. Suivi d'une anthologie des poèmes des Tang de François Cheng
November in Northern Africa and the Middle East with Orhan Pamuk's Le livre noir - three less on the pile.
December in Western Europe with Brideshead revisited by Evelyn Waugh.
I've begun Kalpa imperial by Gorodischer but my Spanish is so rusty, there's no way I could finish that tomorrow. Never mind, the prose is incantational, I often read it aloud, it's beautiful.
On the other hand Le livre de Dede Korkut dans la langue de la gent Oghuz for Central Asia is missing at the publisher's and, as usual with the French publishers, there's no ebook. It's really frustrating. I don't expect to find it in the library of my little city.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
This one is a winner. It's a really pleasant read and a page-turner. For a fantasy book, it begins small and slowly but Novik manages to broaden the frame, the challenges and the issues till the end. I was reminded of The long way to a short, angry planet : there's nothing notable in the plot or the narrative but the reading is smooth and flows without question. This is not a fairy tale (even though there's an angry witch) but I thought of the pleasure taken in a story well told when I was a child. So, in a way, it could have begun by "once upon a time".
Entanglements by David Gerrold
I tip my hat to DG. He packs so much energy and strengh in this novelette!
Bone swans: Stories by C.S. E. Cooney
C. S. E. Cooney is a writer with a very specific "voice". She makes it easy to fall back to the attention a child can give to a tale told for a first time, to immerse oneself in the narration from the first sentences. Who would have thought I could be moved by a rat's love for a swan?!
I'll be reading everything I can find from her.
"The game we played during the war" by Carrie Vaughn (short story), Tor.com (03/2016) : this one is about chess and enemies ? ?
"Touring with the alien" by Carolyn Ives Gilman (novelette), Clarkesworld (04/2016)
I'm going to try to keep track of the short fiction I read so that my vote for the Hugos has some meaning!
L'écriture comme un couteau. Entretiens avec Frédéric-Yves Jeannet by Annie Ernaux
Annie Ernaux is one of the few non-genre author I read but she's a genre by herself. Her writing is sharp and she suffers no nonsense or pathos. Her texts directly cut through to reality and make the reader feel that reality even when it's something alien to one's experience. In these interviews she says it better than I can do : it seems she did what she set out to do.
Waters of Versailles by Kelly Robson
This is a novella but the space is enough to flesh the protagonist, to give sense of his past - and present unease with his life at court. Versailles in the 18th century isn't my first pick choice but the author managed to make me interested in that soldier-courtier-engineer.
The Immortals (Olympus Bound Book 1) by Jordanna Max Brodsky
The Olympians are among us - greatly diminished but here there are. Artemis is angry to find a woman killed near the river and puzzled by what looks like a human sacrifice.
When I studied History I specialized in Ancient Greece, so it's a bit difficult to please me when Greek gods are concerned! I think Brodsky manages the godship concept well. The balance between myth and psychology feels right. I usually can't bear the translation of mythical elements into psychological features but it's well done here and the responsability of mortal beings in the "creation" of the gods is taken into account.
In short, the mystery and the characters are good and I was pleased to find myself among Greek things again. It holds up.
Child Of Saturn (Green Lion Trilogy) by Teresa Edgerton
This one was a bit frustrating. The main characters are rather tiresome : one is a little grey mouse wishing to be ignored (she succeeds), the other is convinced he's sinful, unworthy of his knighthood, etc. Not my kind of pals. It was difficult to get engaged in the plot even though the political and religious situation is rich and well developped.
To further the crankiness, I read a paper book with tiny font (for me) :-(
This is a letter to my son by K. J. Kabza (Strange Horizons. Avril 2016) Short story
A lovely story about identity, family and choices.
The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar by Rose Lemberg (Uncanny. January 2016)
Exile (The Nandor Tales Book 1) by Martin Owton
This is some kind of Sword and Sorcery with plenty of fights and duels, a kind and dangerous goddess and possible divine shenanigans. It is well done even if the characters tend to be archetypes. I usually prefer my fantasy to be of the heroic kind but I liked it : light and moving along, unpretentious.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville Book 1) by Carrie Vaughn
5 non fiction books
3 fantasy novels
3 SF novels
3 UF novels
1 Anthology fantasy
2 Novellas fantasy
2 Novellas SF
7 Short stories
Lire dans la gueule du loup. Essai sur une zone à défendre, la littérature by Hélène Merlin-Kajman
Un très intéressant essai qui nous invite à prendre en compte les affects engendrés par la lecture même si cela ne fait pas très sérieux pour certains théoriciens et voit la lecture comme activité partagée (entre mère et enfant, prof et élèves, etc) et la littérature comme espace transitionnel au sens de Winnicott . C'est la création de cet espace qui permet d'éviter que certains textes jouent comme un trauma et empêchent donc la possibilité du sens. Il s'agit vraiment d'un essai, au sens que Montaigne donnait au mot, une sorte sorte de dialogue avec différents critiques et l'expérience de l'auteur.
Some books I forgot to mention :
Deadly Engagement: A Georgian Historical Mystery (Alec Halsey Mystery Book 1) by Lucinda Brant
Didn't stick in memory
Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh
How a man decided to encase his body in a starship, with no consequence on his psyche. Meh
The Second Death: Los Nefilim: Part Three by T. Frohock
This series continues being interesting and gripping.
Captive Prince 3: Kings Rising by C. S. Pacat
A good ending even if the characters sometimes act in incredible manner.
This Corner of the Universe (TCOTU, Book 1) by Britt Ringel
A lot a technical informations, I mean A LOT, in the middle of battles and discussions. No rythm.
Relire: Enquête sur une passion littéraire by Laure Murat
An interesting survey about re-reading. L. Murat asked a group of writers, translators, people working in the publishing industry to talk about their manner of re-reading and the meaning of it. To each his/her way. I'm glad to say I'm not alone to re-read fragments of novels.
The Hanover Square Affair (Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries Book 1) & A Regimental Murder (Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries Book 2) by Ashley Gardner
An original regency mystery. The hero is a violent man, affected by physical and mental consequences of the war, and thus far more interesting than the civilized gentleman we usually encounter.
The covers are misleading : this is not a romance.
>53 dchaikin: Sometimes when I find a series I like I just go ahead and read the whole batch. The Brant and Gardner are easy read and interesting forays in the 18th century or the post napoleonic wars.
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