Friday, 1 December 2017

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Bookmark Six

Having made a sort of peace with the state of the world (or, at the very least, having developed better coping mechanisms for dealing with the Ongoing Shitshow), I was able to read something that approached a decent number of books this year.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Agents of Empire

Noel Malcom, 2015
(November 2017)

A fascinating book. Takes as its premise the interconnected stores of a family of minor Albanian nobility, and follows them through their various trials and tribulations in Venice, the Balkans, and Istanbul in the late 1500s. Slightly ponderous writing, but not overbearingly so, and every so often contains gems such as this: "…the chronicler Ureche would have nothing good to say about Aron. His main passions, allegedly, were 'pillage, debauchery, gambling and bagpipe-players.'" Thorough, enlightening, and on occasion surprisingly funny.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Never Let Me Go

(November 2017)

Gyah. What a singularly frustrating book. What, to be more specific, a singularly frustrating narrator.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Within the Sanctuary of Wings

(October 2017)

And so the Lady Trent books reach a suitably rousing conclusion. Suitable in that while great affairs of state and nation are settled with no little help from our protagonist, for most of the book not very much seems to happen at all. It’s Shangri-La with scurvy, in a nutshell.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Remains of the Day

(October 2017)

Reread this for a thing. I wasn’t going to write too much about it here, as this isn’t the thing (yet), but I find that I have thoughts that are not so directly connected to the thing and so here we are.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Money Shot

(October 2017)

I love the unabashed pulpiness of the Hard Case Crime covers, even if I’d never actually read one prior to this. It certainly lives up (down?) to its billing.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Call for the Dead

(October 2017)

I’d not read any le Carré before, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. A satisfyingly unthrilling thriller about downbeat spies in 1960’s suburbia. An amateur dramatics society plays a significant role. A supporting character keeps bees. The main character spends much of the time in bed. The espionage equivalent of a cosy catastrophe, which is exactly what I needed on a four-hour train ride through rural Japan in the pissing rain.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Nowhere to Be Found

(October 2017)

A book so slim that even calling it a novella might be pushing it; I finished it in under an hour. It’s good; interesting in that kind of unanchored, dissociative way that seems to be becoming something of a trend for female East Asian writers in translation.