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I’d Better Review Some Books…

December 8, 2012

… before the list gets too long again. I already read sixteen books this autumn, and since my “hibernation” (seasonal unemployment) started a week ago, I expect I’ll read a lot more in the next weeks. Actually, I finished six of those sixteen books since December 1st.

And I realized I never reviewed one of the books I read this summer. Somehow, I forgot to put it on my list, so I don’t even know when exactly I finished it.

[forgotten summer book] Tad Williams, A Stark and Wormy Knight (new, English): I’m not that much into short stories, but I make exceptions for authors I know and love – and not buying a Tadbook is out of the question! There are two stories that I’d read before (I saw The Storm Door in an anthology and read it in the bookshop, and I’m pretty sure that  The Terrible Conflagration at the Quiller’s Mint was originally posted online), and there were some that I didn’t care that much for… scripts for super hero comics are just not my thing. OK, super villain comics, in that case, it is called Bad Guy Factory after all… But the rest was as enjoyable as I expect Tad’s writing to be. I don’t watch horror films, but the script for Black Sunshine was surprisingly nice to read, A Stark and Wormy Knight had me giggling throughout, and Ants was at the same time disturbing and hilarious. It’s taking some self control not to start rereading right now, as I’ve taken the book off the shelf to look up titles! And it’s pretty cool that I know the person it’s dedicated to, even if only online – she’s one of the very first people I got to know online.

1. Jenny-Mai Nuyen, Noir (new, German): Another author who can do no wrong. Her writing is like a dew-covered spiderweb – even if she writes about things I’d generally have no interest in, like death and dying (which I don’t want to think about any more than I want to look at spiders), there is such a sparkling beauty to it that I can’t stop looking/reading.

2. Arto Paasilinna, Die Rache des glücklichen Mannes [The Happy Man] (new, German): My father lent me this one… vaguely funny, but I was not as impressed with it as he was.

3. Arto Paasilinna, Der Sohn des Donnergottes [The Son of the Thunder God] (new, German): This one, however was hilarious. I’ll have to read it again before I give it back. Actually, I have to read it again and let my mother and my best friend read it before I give it back! The Finnish pagan gods get fed up with all the Finns believing in this new-fangled Christianity thing, and send the son of the Thunder God to Earth to convert the Finns back to their proper religion…It’s a shame that this hasn’t been translated into English.

4. Terry Pratchett, Small Gods (new, English): I’ve picked up a couple of Discworld books before and put them back down again… I thought this was the first time I finished one, but my list disagrees. (Apparently I read The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents in 2009.) Anyway… it did have a few nice moments, but on the whole, I still don’t like Terry Pratchett. At least I finally figured out what my problem is with his books… I like my books lightly “flavoured” with magic, but he throws in so much crazy stuff, it’s like eating food with way too much salt.

5. Erich Kästner, Heitere Trilogie [Humorous Trilogy] (new, German): This one was only two-third new to me. Years ago, my mother got Drei Männer im Schnee [Three Men in the Snow] from the library, and I remembered it as a hilarious comedy of errors, so when I saw this book at the flea market, I didn’t hesistate to buy it. I hoped the other two stories in this book would be similarly funny, and they were. I couldn’t stand Kästner when I was younger (he wrote some well-known German children’s classics), but now I rather enjoy his books.

6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lays of Beleriand (reread, English): It took me about 1.5 years to finish this book, from the time I took it off the shelf… I have this weird thing that I can’t put a book back half-read. I really like Tolkien’s poetry, but I can only read it a few paragraphs at a time, so it’s slow going.

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7. Ken Follet, Die Säulen der Erde (The Pillars of the Earth) (New, German): This one was also slow going. I don’t usually complain about books being too long, but with this book, I often found myself just skimming several pages. There was nothing that required me to pay attention to every detail, and I just couldn’t care… not about the characters, not about the cathedral, and not about the “mystery” surrounding Jack’s father. I guess I’m spoiled by reading Fantasy! There’s just something missing without overwhelmingly strong magical opponents.

8. Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn (new, English),
9. Brandon Sanderson, The Well of Ascension (new, English) and
10. Brandon Sanderson, The Hero of Ages (new, English): Reading during NaNoWriMo is always a bad idea. Especially when it’s a hard-to-put-down book. Even worse when it’s a hard-to-put-down trilogy, and you have very little self-control. I enjoyed this a lot more than Elantris, even though it’s a rather depressing world, and people die… pretty nice magic system (that seems to be Sanderson’s speciality), and also very likeable characters. (Only Elend’s name was a little distracting, because in German, “Elend” means “misery” or “squalor”.)

11. Trudi Canavan, The Ambassador’s Mission (reread, English),
12. Trudi Canavan, The Rogue (reread, English) and
13. Trudi Canavan, The Traitor Queen (new, English): I’ve come to the conclusion that Canavan’s writing is … solid, but not overly impressive. There are no sentences that make me go, “oh, I really like the way she described that!”, and the concept of magic doesn’t really blow me away either. I do like the characters, though, and I especially like revisiting worlds and characters I already know. The Traitor Queen was a bit tough, though… why do people have to die? Not a fan of what went on with Regin, either…

14. Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis, Die Lieferung [The Boy in the Suitcase] (new, German): Crime fiction, borrowed from my father, mainly so that I could pass it on to my best friend. It ended up being the inspiration for the plot of her NaNoWriMo novel. I’m not a big crime reader, but this one was rather nice.

15. Wolf Haas, Das ewige Leben [The Eternal Life] (new, German): Not as hilarious as Komm, süßer Tod, but it has it’s moments. I’d forgotten how weird it gets at the end, but on the other hand, Brenner’s first line in this book is unforgettable.

16. Richard Bach, Die Möwe Jonathan (Jonathan Livingston Seagull) (new, German): I hesitate to even call this tiny thing a book… I know that it is famous and all that, but I didn’t see what the big deal is. Maybe I’m just stupid… but I’d rather pick pieces of wisdom out of books not meant to be wise than having an author shove a “lesson” in my face.

I kind of wish I could finish with a book I enjoyed more, but I don’t even know yet what I’ll read next, and like I said, I don’t want this post to get even longer. It’s long enough as it is! Well, it was quite a pile of books, too!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2012 13:26

    Aw, I meant to read Noir for a few months now! Sadly all I get to read these days is non-fiction about Japan and then there’s A Clash of Kings (still).

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