Hard-Boiled Wonderland

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World was not my favorite Murakami, but that just means I was less swept away than usual. (After Wind-Up Bird Chronicle the bar is high.) He is incomparable and it was a remarkable read. As with all the other books of his that I have read, in this Murakami is bizarre and surreal with a strait-faced and honest tone. For me, he is so low-key at times that the momentum of the story lags. I read most of this book a while ago, put it … Continue Reading

The Long Ships

The Long Ships is a great, rollicking, loosely historical viking adventure by Frans G. Bengtsson. Or rather, a series of adventures all featuring the extremely lucky Orm over the course of his remarkable life. While they span Orm’s life – each story remains its own fireside tall tale. The book is in no way a dusty tome, and is easy to read in lively bits and pieces. A great antidote for a long drab winter.

Gourmet Rhapsody

I loved this small treat of a book. It makes me sad to read reviews that say there is no story here. The main character’s life is a story that is revealed bit by bit through is own memories and the thoughts of those around him. Barbery used very short passages to maximum effect. I found myself developing genuine sympathies for characters only given a brief page and a half of voice. And the life unfolded throughout the book in a flawed, colorful, haphazard way that felt genuinely human…. Not only was his story revealed, … Continue Reading

Count of Monte Cristo

I read Count of Monte Cristo over the course of a year, on and off. The short, episodic chapters were perfect for my back-to-school craziness. I could read a little or a lot. I could pick it up after a while and still remember what was happening (er. Mostly… toward the end I was definitely fuzzy on the relationship between Caderousse and Benedetto.) Excellently paced (until the last few pages when I just wanted to know what would happen already), charming, and more nuanced than I expected. It was a grand entertaining adventure tale … Continue Reading

Angel’s Game

Angel’s Game is delightful. Storytelling at its best with sympathetic characters, mysterious plot twists and a pervasive sense of adventure.

Stone’s Fall

Stone’s Fall was a good vacation read. Cerebral and convoluted, it requires attention to detail and a sharp memory. And at least a passing interest in economics… otherwise the dramatic events will not have the intended effect. I enjoyed it very much, but felt a little let down by the ending. The vast majority of the book was an intense, beautifully crafted mystery novel, and the ending added an unfortunate soap opera-y note. It worked – the logic and plotting were impeccable. But it felt emotionally manipulative.

Aya

Aya has stunning art and a charming story about teenagers getting into mischief. I think the art is worth the price of the book. I understand that the story is supposed to be light, humorous and personal… painting a picture of a happier, more frivolous Africa. Still I think the narrative taken on it’s own lacked punch. Definitely not ambitiously written in the way of Rabbi’s Cat…. even if the art is similar in style.

Laughter of Dead Kings

I have read many, many Elizabeth Peters books – most when I was under 20, and very few since. I read the bulk of them when I lived in books. (I probably love Amelia more than several real people I know) And I read them now as more of a tourist – visiting old friends in familiar places. Because of this, I absolutely enjoyed Laughter of Dead Kings, but I will not say that it is good. If you love and miss Vicky and Schmidt and of course the dashing John Smythe, it is a pleasant … Continue Reading

Leather Maiden

Leather Maiden was delightfully campy and noir and self-confident. Well written and not overly serious. The crime wasn’t so revolting – I didn’t have nightmares. The story was dark but in a well-worn predictable sort of way. The characters familiar archetypes. I enjoyed it somewhat the same way I enjoy crime television… although the writing, character development and sense of style were all superior to the usual 45 minute NCIS episode. I will definitely read more Lansdale…. and perhaps watch less television…

so sweet and so cold

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