Monthly Archive: July 2015

Jul 29 2015

Paper Towns by John Green

I think that if I hadn’t read and loved The Fault In Our Stars first, I’d likely be more charitable to this book, which was pretty good overall, just not as good. And I guess that’s unfair to Paper Towns, which is a pretty good mystery on its own (and I really liked how convincingly …

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Jul 29 2015

Romanticism and Positivism – The History of Polish Literature by Czeslaw Milosz

What could Polish literature do after Pan Tadeusz, a poem that Milosz said, “gradually won recognition as the highest achievement in all Polish literature”? For starters, literary eminence was contested by Mickiewicz’s contemporaries. “Besides his unrequited love, the other passion running through [Juliusz] SÅ‚owacki’s life was his desire first to equal, then to compete with, …

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Jul 27 2015

Simple Storys by Ingo Schulze

Writing in the mid-1990s in post-Communist Poland, Andrzej Sapkowski produced The Time of Contempt. Writing in the mid-1990s in post-Communist eastern Germany, Ingo Schulze produced Simple Storys (the plural is not correct in German either; it’s symptomatic of the anglicisms and pseudo-anglicisms that entered the language at that time). The two books could hardly be …

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Jul 27 2015

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

I had so many problem with this book! And so many compliments for it, too! First, the good bits: G Willow Wilson’s politics are solid and smart and she clearly knows what she’s talking about regarding the Middle East and class and social distinctions. I also really liked her ventures into metaphysics, theology and, with …

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Jul 24 2015

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson

While this book didn’t have the same “Wtf, did that actually just happen?!” plot twists that are a Sanderson hallmark (I mean, I knew what would happen to Lessie and who Mr Suit had to be pretty quickly,) this was definitely a solidly entertaining, if not downright excellent projection of progress in Scandria (is that …

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Jul 24 2015

The Penguin Complete Novels Of George Orwell by George Orwell

Realized after I posted my last review that I hadn’t posted this one of a book I’d read earlier. Apologies. I briefly consider each book in the compendium below: Animal Farm — It’s weird to think that I’ve lived this long, as voracious a reader as I am, and still have never read this slender …

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Jul 24 2015

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology And My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill & Lisa Pulitzer

Having just finished a bunch of Orwell, this was both mind-boggling and horribly sympathetic. She describes growing up in a state of repression more suited to communism or a paranoid dictatorship a la North Korea than to any religion that purports to help people self-actualize. I applaud her for having the intelligence to see that …

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Jul 24 2015

The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Time of Contempt picks up the story of Geralt of Rivia an unspecified, but not terribly long, time after the events of Blood of Elves. Sapkowski opens the novel by following a royal messenger through several errands, and he uses that device to deliver to readers a quick burst of exposition about the state …

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Jul 07 2015

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

The Bursar shrugged. “This pot,” he said, peering closely, “is actually quite an old Ming vase.” He waited expectantly. “Why’s it called Ming?” said the Archchancellor, on cue. The Bursar tapped the pot. It went ming. (p. 145) It’s a throwaway joke, of course, but it’s a perfect one. Not only can readers hear the …

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Jul 04 2015

Good Things I Wish You by A. Manette Ansay

So I’ve long been fascinated by the relationship between Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms (due to Personal Issues,) but my greatest takeaway from this novel is, in the end, who can explain these things? I’m not sure if that was A. Manette Ansay’s point (and if it was, I completely missed it) but I felt …

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