Tag: Doug

Jan 01 2020

Taking Stock of 2019

My reading jumped another 10 books or so in 2019. I know when, but I don’t really know why. In January, I had been pretty seriously ill (for me, at least). In February, when I was recovered, I read 17 books. That’s not much for, say, Jo Walton or Nicholas Whyte, but it’s the most …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/01/01/taking-stock-of-2019/

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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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/30/molotovs-magic-lantern-by-rachel-polonsky/

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 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/

Dec 06 2019

Herrn Dames Aufzeichnungen by Franziska Gräfin zu Reventlow

Herrn Dames Aufzeichnungen

The series introduction to Herrn Dames Aufzeichnungen (Herr Dame’s Notebooks) calls it “the key novel about the Bohemian scene in Schwabing around 1900″ and the volume’s introduction notes that in it Reventlow worked through some of her experiences with the “Cosmic” circle that included writers and artists such as Stefan George (the only name I …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/06/herrn-dames-aufzeichnungen-by-franziska-grafin-zu-reventlow/

Dec 03 2019

1968: The Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky

1968 by Mark Kurlansky

Ok, boomer.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/03/1968-the-year-that-rocked-the-world-by-mark-kurlansky/

Nov 30 2019

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

A Symphony of Echoes

A Symphony of Echoes is every bit as fun as Just One Damned Thing After Another, the first book chronicling the adventures of the historians of St Mary’s Institute, who definitely do not travel through time. No indeed, they investigate major historical events in contemporary time. Which is how the first quarter of the book …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/11/30/a-symphony-of-echoes-by-jodi-taylor/

Nov 26 2019

More Becoming by Michelle Obama

“Becoming Us,” the second part of Michelle Obama’s memoir tells how two very different people, two nearly polar opposite people in fact, came not only to love and cherish one another but to build a life and a partnership that would work from Chicago to the whole world. One of their first social functions together, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/11/26/more-becoming-by-michelle-obama/

Nov 17 2019

Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner

Legacy of Ashes

If Legacy of Ashes were a record album, Tim Weiner would surely have titled it The CIA’s Greatest Shits. As it is, the subtitle is The History of the CIA, which is a misnomer right off the bat because it’s a history and not the history, and as a history it’s mostly a litany of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/11/17/legacy-of-ashes-by-tim-weiner/