December 2019 archive

Dec 30 2019

Molotov’s Magic Lantern by Rachel Polonsky

Molotov's Magic Lantern

Early on in Molotov’s Magic Lantern Rachel Polonsky quotes Osip Mandelstam as saying “Ask me for my biography, and I will tell you the books I have read.” (p. 6) From that perspective, Polonsky braids three biographies. One is Vyacheslav Molotov, erstwhile foreign minister of the Soviet Union whose former apartment a banker friend of …

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Dec 29 2019

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher #1) by Lee Child

I read a lot of mystery novels, by happy coincidence of them being a) one of my favorite types of books and b) the primary subject of the website I work for. As such, you’d think I’d have read any of Lee Child’s bestselling Jack Reacher books already. A phenomenon pretty much since they were …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/29/killing-floor-jack-reacher-1-by-lee-child/

Dec 27 2019

Goodbye, Paris by Anstey Harris

There are two really standout things about Anstey Harris’ Goodbye, Paris. The first is the exquisite attention to detail in re: playing music and crafting musical instruments. Ms Harris’ husband is a violin-maker, and you can tell she’s shadowed him quite closely for the purposes of this novel. Her gifts as a writer are even …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/27/goodbye-paris-by-anstey-harris/

Dec 24 2019

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3) by N.K. Jemisin

I just don’t get it. This isn’t a terrible book. But it’s not a very good one either, and I am utterly mystified by all the acclaim it’s been getting. Never mind my hostility to the introduction of magic into what was a solidly sci-fi series till partway through book two. Never mind my brain’s …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/24/the-stone-sky-the-broken-earth-3-by-n-k-jemisin/

Dec 20 2019

Nobody Leaves by Ryszard Kapuscinski

Nobody Leaves

Before he became a famous foreign correspondent, Ryszard Kapuściński wrote a series of astonishing dispatches for the weekly newspaper Polityka from Poland’s small towns and backwaters. Poland in 1959 still bore many visible scars of the war that had ravaged it a decade and a half previous. With Stalin’s death in 1953 the worst excesses …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/20/nobody-leaves-by-ryszard-kapuscinski/

Dec 18 2019

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang

This may well be the best romance novel I’ve ever read. And it’s not just because it features a leading pair from two wildly under-represented groups in romance fiction. From start to finish, I desperately wanted our lovers to wind up together. I have literally never cared so much about a romantic couple having their …

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Dec 16 2019

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

One of the problems with the classics is that their motivations can seem so far removed from our everyday lives. Even if the works can stand alone on their artistic merits, there’s often a lot of phobic nonsense distracting to modern-day readers who don’t have the privilege of merely ignoring such in our day-to-day: must …

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Dec 14 2019

Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers (Infinite Stars #2) edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Oh gosh, how does any collection live up to its own hype of being “the definitive anthology of space opera”, especially when it’s the second of a series? Tho perhaps the series altogether is meant to be definitive? Regardless, if you love you some space opera, this is a great place to not only immerse …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/14/infinite-stars-dark-frontiers-infinite-stars-2-edited-by-bryan-thomas-schmidt/

Dec 08 2019

Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer

Seven Surrenders

Of the predecessor to Seven Surrenders, Too Like the Lightning, I wrote that Palmer directly tackles the problem of how different far-future humans will be from present-day people. As Mycroft Canner, her unreliable narrator, says near that book’s beginning, “You will criticize me, reader, for writing in a style six hundred years removed from the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/08/seven-surrenders-by-ada-palmer/

Dec 07 2019

Luna by Ian McDonald

Luna New Moon

Several months after finishing Ian McDonald’s Luna trilogy — Luna: New Moon, Luna: Wolf Moon, and Luna: Moon Rising — the two things that have stuck with me the most are the scale of the achievement and the vividness of so many scenes throughout the books. McDonald has brought a great deal of life to a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/07/luna-by-ian-mcdonald/