What I’ve Read – January-March 2018

How’s your bookish year going? Mine isn’t half bad. I’ve read a variety of genres, and a decent mix of ebooks and paper books. Shall we dig in?

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I started the year by finishing Galbraith’s Career of Evil. Good mystery, more backstory, awesome thriller points – the third in the Strike series comes highly recommended from me. Cuckoo’s Calling was rather twee, Silkworm was full of grotesque. Both enjoyable (especially Silkworm – I continue to be amazed by J.K. Rowling, it takes balls and talent to write that shit), but Career of Evil is the best one so far.

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Christmas at the Cat Cafe is the second one in the series, but first one for me. If you’re looking for a quiet, non-demanding, Christmassy read (which was exactly what I was looking for) and happen to love cats, then I believe you’ll find this book enjoyable. Loving cats is not an option, though. In fact, you have to be a die-hard cat person in training – the story is told from a cat’s POV. At first I found it hard to get in to, but that dissipated soon. It’s a nice slice of errr… cat life kind of story.

Six Mountain Brothers for Christmas is what kids call ‘reverse harem’ these days. Back in ye olden days of my youth we had a slightly different term for that shit. Anyway, yeah, there’s no beating around the bush – it’s a story of one woman and six men, and said woman is periodically being banged by said six men, often all of them together. If this is your kind of thing, you might enjoy it. I didn’t, but not because I find the idea questionable – I’ve read enough weird-arse HP/ Marvel fanfics to find the book kind of vanilla, actually. I didn’t like it the way it was written. Had something to say about that on my Goodreads profile, you can read more there.

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was on my list for ages, and I’m so glad I finally read it. If you’re just starting with sci-fi/ cyberpunk, start with PKD, you won’t be disappointed. It’s both deep (hate that word in that context) and very easy to get through. Not light reading, but entertaining and philosophical at the same time. And it will stay with you. I still think about it.

I ended up reading this book both in Russian and English – began in translation, finished in original.

Very British Problems is another book that I’ve kept my eye on for a while. Mostly it’s a selection of tweets grouped by subject, with a few essays added for good measure. Some parts of it are funny as fuck. Even if I weren’t laughing like an idiot, I was still smiling all through the read. Also, I couldn’t help but imagine Martin Freeman’s John Watson as the star of the majority of the situations in this book.

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The Talented Mr Ripley was a book club read. (Yes, we still pretend the book club is up and running.) This is a great noir-ish thriller. (I say noir-ish, because it’s set in sunny Italy, so the landscape wouldn’t match, but the moodiness is certainly there.) The book is 70 years old, but it could have easily been written last year. The language is modern. I was excited to find out that there are four more Ripley books in the series.

I bought first part of Memoirs of Catherine the Great by accident, one can say. Not that I was not intending to, but I wanted to get the book in full, not in short parts, as this e-book was being sold. Anyway, this information has little interest to you. Every once in a while I go through a Russian history phase, and would read several books concerning the Romanovs, the revolution, and the GPW. Right now I’m going through the Romanov phase. The part I’ve read so far concerns a younger Catherine – from her arrival to the Russian court up to around… I’d say several years into her marriage. Memoirs are interesting to read but hard to review – how does one review another person’s life? Perhaps I’ll write about them in more detail once I’ve read them in full. For now, I enjoyed them, and will return to Catherine the Great once I’m done with the diaries of Nicholas the Second.

And two books I’ve dropped – All The Light We Cannot See and Deception Point. One is widely acclaimed literary fiction, another one is quintessential Dan Brown. That guy has a category of his own.

All The Light We Cannot See was all setting without story for me. The story lines moved slowly, they may have crossed nicely, but I just couldn’t go on. Skimmed through some later parts to solidify my opinion that western authors will forever be dicks about Soviets in their books. TRIVIA POINT: It doesn’t always work that way in Russian, and even Soviet, fiction.

Deception Point actually started out more or less OK, but then quickly got into the territory of Wikipedia copypasta and, well, danbrownism. I usually finish Dan Brown’s books for the sheer volume of lulz they provide, but this one I let go of. Skimmed till the end (because that’s what I do), but can’t consider it a read. In any sense of that word.

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That’s my three months in books! I’m on track with my 2018 challenge so far. My current reads are Dostoyevsky’s Demons (random pick for book club) and Alice in Wonderland. Looking forward to reading more JKR, Agatha Christie’s memoirs, books that have been gifted to me, and some other things that have been on my shelves for ages. I’ve also been toying around with the idea of challenging myself to read (or skim) through as many free Kindle ebooks I’ve downloaded over the past several years as possible. I need to clean my reader up, but on the other hand I’m terrified it will turn me off of reading for months. Decisions, decisions…

How’s your bookish year going? Any planned reads?

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