February 2015 archive

Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King

Where to start when writing about a city as vast and storied as Istanbul? In Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul, Charles King takes an inflection point in the history of a city that is itself a key inflection between East and West. Or rather, he takes a period of hinges …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/25/midnight-at-the-pera-palace-by-charles-king/

What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton

Jo Walton answers the question posed by the title for a bit more than 100 books in this collection of brief reviews devoted to re-reading. As I read through, I enjoyed thinking of how the emphasis could fall on each of the words in the title, although the cover design clearly places it on the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/12/what-makes-this-book-so-great-by-jo-walton/

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

In the second Discworld novel, The Light Fantastic, Rincewind saves the Disc, not quite by accident but certainly not through great forethought and cunning action, either. The Disc appears to be hurtling toward a great red star in such a way that collision is imminent, and the only way to prevent the Disc’s annihilation is …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/09/the-light-fantastic-by-terry-pratchett/

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

The main reason I enjoyed this book is the impressive way in which Peter Swanson sucked me into Lily Kintner’s psyche. I was originally repulsed by her philosophy of ending lives (and still am, tbh) but as the book progressed, I desperately wanted her to get away with all the marbles. Conversely, her murderous spree …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/07/the-kind-worth-killing-by-peter-swanson/

Truth and Fear by Peter Higgins

People who were annoyed by the cliffhanger ending of Wolfhound Century should definitely wait the six weeks or so until Radiant State is published before reading Truth and Fear. Peter Higgins hasn’t solved the middle-book problem, but it’s clear that he conceived and wrote the three books of the Wolfhound Century tale as a single, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/06/truth-and-fear-by-peter-higgins/

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield

This was a hoot. As the back cover says, “the Reduced Shakespeare Company‘s classic farce” presents, after a fashion, all 37 plays and does something to with the sonnets in just over 90 minutes of stage time. They do the comedies all at once, in a bit

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/05/the-complete-works-of-william-shakespeare-abridged-by-adam-long-daniel-singer-and-jess-winfield/

Premature Evaluation: Mussolini’s Italy by R.J.B. Bosworth

I suppose it would be smart to wait until I got to the part where Italy can properly be said to be Mussolini’s before writing about a book called Mussolini’s Italy, but my progress through this volume has been so slow — “deliberate” would be a kinder word, if less accurate — that I might …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/03/premature-evaluation-mussolinis-italy-by-r-j-b-bosworth/

Buddha’s Little Finger by Viktor Pelevin

Third time wasn’t the charm. I’ve tried twice before to read Buddha’s Little Finger, and it just didn’t catch with me. This time around was no different. Usually I describe reading Viktor Pelevin with a short monologue accompanied by hand gestures. “It’s like somebody opened up your brain” — both hands held together to form …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/02/buddhas-little-finger-by-viktor-pelevin/