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Book Review Backlog – Autumn 2013

January 3, 2015

Yes, I’m that far behind on my book reviews. And it’s been almost a year since the last time I tried to catch up. I just hope I’ll be more successful this time.

And because it’s been so long, over a year since I’ve read these books, I’m afraid this post will mostly be, “I don’t actually remember what I thought about this book.” But I’ll try my best.


1. Guy Deutscher, Through the Language Glass (reread, English): I enjoyed this book the first time around and I also enjoyed it the second time, when I reread for inspiration because I wanted to write a story that would require me to create two languages (I never wrote it.)

2. Susan Cain, Still – Die Kraft der Introvertierten (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) (new, German): Last year was when I really started to explore what it means to be introverted – I’d heard a lot about this book, so I bought it (in German, so I could lend it to other people), and it’s been really enlightening. There were so many things that made me go, “Oh, this is why I am this way!” And knowing what is going on in my brain makes it easier to find ways to deal with things that are difficult for me. And most of all, I can now ask for the things I need without feeling guilty for being “weird” and demanding/annoying, because now I know there are many other people like me – such a comforting thing to know, and I can highly recommend this book to all introverts, and to all extroverts, too, so they’ll understand us better.

3. Robin Hobb, The Dragon Keeper (reread, English),
4. Robin Hobb, Dragon Haven (reread, English),
5. Robin Hobb, City of Dragons (reread, English) and
6. Robin Hobb, Blood of Dragons (new, English): I generally like Robin Hobb’s books very much, but there was something about the Rain Wilds Chronicles that just didn’t draw me in as much as her other books. I can’t really say why, but I didn’t connect with any of the characters, and I suppose it’s because I didn’t have any strong emotions while reading that I barely remember the plot (because, from what I know, you remember things more easily when they are connected to emotions.) I had to reread the first three (reviewed here) in preparation for the last volume, but now I no longer remember what happened in the last one. Mostly what I remember is the bunch of teenage dragon keepers and their endless infighting (which is one thing I absolutely detest in real life and apparently also can’t stand in fiction), several gay characters, and some people from the Liveship Traders trilogy – Malta and Reyn, and a tiny bit of Althea and Brashen. But I really do not remember what happened at the end. Oops.

7. Käthe Recheis, Professor, du siehst Gespenster [Professor, You’re Seeing Ghosts] (new, German): Käthe Recheis wrote some of my favourite books, so whenever I see one of her books at a flea market, I snatch them up, even when they’re children’s books like this one. I don’t really remember a lot about it either, but I think it was quite funny, a middle-aged Austrian professor and a couple of ghosts (including the ghost of Sherlock Holmes, who doesn’t really want to be a detective at all) hunting for criminals in London…

8. Irmela Erckenbrecht, Die Kräuterspirale [The Herb Spiral] (new, German): This book was part of my payment for helping an acquaintance plan her garden, I wouldn’t have bought it myself. Not because it was bad (I had no idea so much could even be written about herb spirals), but because I don’t like herb spirals. I think they are overdone. (And I think I actually convinced that acquaintance to plan her herb garden in a different shape.)

9. Krista D. Ball, What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank (new, English): I think I liked this book, I think it was funny and informative, but I can’t remember a single thing I read in it – it has just been too long!

10. Tad Williams, Nina Kiriki Hoffman: Die Stimme der Finsternis (Child of an Ancient City) (reread, German): I think by this point I was getting a little desperate, because it was late in the season and I was still so far from my eleven-books-per-season goal, so I went for rereads of very short books. Since it’s a Tad Williams book, I really wish I could think of something to say about it except that it’s always a fun little story to read.

11. Tad Williams, Die Insel des Magiers (Caliban’s Hour) (reread, German): Another case of, “I wish I had more to say”. Every time I read it, I tell myself I should read The Tempest, because then I’d probably be able to appreciate it more, but it’s still a good book by itself. And it does amuse me a bit that Tad basically wrote Shakespeare fanfiction.

12. Erich Kästner, Pünktchen und Anton (Annaluise and Anton) (reread, German): After all my worrying about not reaching my reading goal, I miscounted and read a twelfth book by accident. Not that reading more is a bad thing, but I know I would not have reread a children’s book if I hadn’t been trying to finish another book as quickly as possible. But I’m glad that I read it again, because parts of it are absolutely hilarious. Parts of it are also terribly preachy, which annoyed me as a child and still annoys me now, and I still haven’t learned to just skip those pages (because if I’m going to read a book, I’m going to read all of it), but if I ignore the lectures on morals and whatnot, it’s a pretty good book, even at 83 years old, and as I said, parts of it had me laughing so hard!

My reading-my-height-in-books chart is up to chest height:


4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2015 19:20

    “Tad basically wrote Shakespeare fanfiction.” cracks me up.

    • January 20, 2015 19:36

      Well, he did! And when we look at the Oz stuff in Otherland, and isn’t there Tolkien in Happiest Dead Boy? And probably more that I’m forgetting – when we look at all that, you could say Tad has written more fanfiction than people have written about his books. 😉

      • January 20, 2015 19:40

        The thing about the Oz world in Otherland is that it’s only a small part of the story. The same is true for the Tolkien influences in MS&T and in Otherland. But Caliban’s Hour is, as you say, pretty much fanfiction. Hilarious, but true!

        • January 20, 2015 20:27

          How about Boy Detective of Oz? (Although I’m not really familiar with Oz, so I’m just guessing there, but it seemed very fanfiction-like to me.)

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