Monthly Archive: October 2015

Oct 31 2015

Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg

Stunning and sensitive, this book would have been perfect but for the ending, which I felt petered out in a way that was meant to be philosophical but which just felt oddly disconnected given all the emotions that had filled the pages till then. I mean, honestly, I’d cried three times before even getting halfway …

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Oct 31 2015

Another Day of Life by Ryszard Kapuscinski

I had been thinking how terribly young the soldiers were that Ryszard Kapuściński wrote about in Another Day of Life when he brought me up short by noting that they were the same age as many of the fighters in the Warsaw Uprising at the end of World War II. Alexander Hamilton raised an artillery …

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Oct 30 2015

The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1: Tintin in America / Cigars of the Pharaoh / The Blue Lotus by Herge

It is so weird how bad Tintin In America is compared with the other books in this collection. It’s the kind of thing you expect from a successful series writer towards the end of his interest in the venture as anything beyond a profit generator, when he’s just churning out pablum to please the mindless …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/10/30/the-adventures-of-tintin-vol-1-tintin-in-america-cigars-of-the-pharaoh-the-blue-lotus-by-herge/

Oct 29 2015

Remake by Connie Willis

Most of the rest of Connie Willis’ writing would lead a reader to expect that Remake, her tale of Hollywood endlessly recycling classic movies and classic actors through digital magic, would be a screwball comedy that packed an emotional wallop. But no, this is as close to dystopia as Willis gets. As the back cover …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/10/29/remake-by-connie-willis/

Oct 28 2015

Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuscinski

Between the time when Ryszard Kapuściński saw the revolution in Iran in 1979 and when Shah of Shahs, his book on the subject, was published in 1982, his home country of Poland lived through its own revolution, one that started with strikes at a shipyard in the northern port of Gdańsk but collapsed as the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/10/28/shah-of-shahs-by-ryszard-kapuscinski/

Oct 28 2015

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

The weird thing for me with this book is how little I care for the story that inspired it, Guy de Maupassant’s The Necklace. That famous tale is essentially an account of vapid people doing stupid things, to their own detriment, exactly the kind of thing I have little patience for (looking at you, Fates …

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Oct 28 2015

Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi

Crushed this book in a single sitting today (tho it’s a graphic novel, so that’s not at all difficult) and was just devastated by that ending. Ostensibly the story of a musician who gives up on life after he cannot find a suitable replacement for his broken instrument, it’s a heart-rending tale of… well, I …

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Oct 27 2015

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has observed that while plot is a literary convention, story is a force of nature. In Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett explores some of the things that can happen when these forces of nature latch on to people in his most unnatural of settings. People think that stories are shaped by people. In …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/10/27/witches-abroad-by-terry-pratchett/

Oct 24 2015

Busting Vegas by Ben Mezrich

Wait, so this is the second book he wrote about MIT students who figured out how to scam casinos? Anyway, the story itself is compelling enough, but the writing is violently purple. The best description I’ve encountered of his writing style is “non-fiction pulp”: tolerable enough for a book, I guess, and much improved by …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/10/24/busting-vegas-by-ben-mezrich/

Oct 21 2015

New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear

There isn’t a zeppelin on the cover to let readers know this is an alternate history, but by way of making up for it, Elizabeth Bear sets the book’s first story on board hydrogen-filled German airship. The Hans Glücker is on its way from Calais to the jewel of British North America, the eponymous New …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/10/21/new-amsterdam-by-elizabeth-bear/

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