The OF Blog: May 18-31 Reads

Monday, June 01, 2009

May 18-31 Reads

Since I forgot about doing a reading list for last week, this one for the past two weeks will be shorter on content, as there are 23 books read over the past two weeks, with a few more close to being completed. Since a few are re-reads, those I will limit myself to a sentence or so.

170 Daniel Robb, Crossing the Water - Memoir of a teacher's 18 months working with troubled male teens on an island off Massachusetts. Connected well with this story, due to my own personal experiences that are close to Robb's.

171 Peter Straub (ed.), Conjunctions: 39: The New Wave Fabulists (re-read from 2004) - Liked, but wasn't thrilled about how the anthology was constructed. Some good stories here from MJH, China Miéville, Elizabeth Hand, Neil Gaiman, among others.

172 Marc Bojanowski, The Dog Fighter - Read this after having it recommended to me by M. John Harrison and I found it to be a brutal yet lyrical account of a young boy growing up in Mexico in the 1940s. Will need to think on this some more before I elaborate in detail.

173 Stewart O'Nan, Last Night at the Lobster - This short 160 page novel works on so many levels, many of them revolving around developing the characters and showing how the modern-day working class is makin' it (or not) in rougher times. This past sentence, however, does little justice to O'Nan's abilities to paint a story with just a few well-done brush strokes.

174 Andrzej Sapkowski, El último deseo - Spanish translation of Sapkowski's first Geralt book, which I reviewed back in 2007.

175 Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish (re-read from 2007, 2008) - said review.

176 Andrzej Sapkowski, La espada del destino (re-read from 2008) - second Geralt book, not available in English translation, that I reviewed in 2008.

177 Bradford Morrow (ed.), Conjunctions: 48: Faces of Desire - Lit journal from Fall 2007 issue that deals with various mimetic and spec fic ways of portraying the various facets of desire. Some good stories, many solid ones, very few poor ones.

178 Pope Benedict XVI, Credo for Today: What Christians Believe - Cogent analysis by the future Pope of how the Nicene Creed connects with ecumenical beliefs of all Christians. Nice, clear, easy to follow yet still substantive in what it wanted to cover.

179 Pope Benedict XVI, Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi - English translation of the Pope's second encyclical. Thoughtful, reflective, although not as moving as the first one on Love.

180 Andrzej Sapkowski, La sangre de los elfos (re-read from 2008) - Spanish translation of the book I reviewed in 2008.

181 Andrzej Sapkowski, Blood of Elves - said review.

182 Johann Wyss, The Swiss Family Robinson (1816 English edition) - While I had read this story several times since my 8th grade year (or 21 years ago), this is the first time that I had read it in the original English edition, which differs significantly from the more well-known latter editions in how the story concludes. Still had that sense of exploration about it that even the Disney movie couldn't spoil entirely.

183 Tamar Yellin, Tales of the Ten Lost Tribes - This 2008 collection combines Jewish legends with modern-day stories. Yellin's use of language is superb. Perhaps I'll say more later. If I had read this last year, it certainly would have been mentioned in the Short Story Collection list.

184 Thomas Ligotti, My Work Is Not Yet Done - April 2009 mass-release reissue of a short novel of Ligotti's. Enjoyed this one quite a bit, as his prose captured my attention quickly. Might write a formal review of this later.

185 Andrzej Sapkowski, Tiempo de odio (re-read from 2008) - fourth Geralt book, not yet available in English translation. Nice middle volume, full of the witty dialogue that marked the first three volumes. Will likely review in full when the English edition is available.

186 Juan Ramón Jiménez, Platero y yo - This edition was an illustrated version of this Nobel laureate's famous 1914 children's stories revolving around the first-person narrator and the burro Platero. Despite almost a century, a language, and a culture between myself and the author, this was a joy to read and the illustrations were great. Available in English translation.

187 Jeff VanderMeer, Finch (PDF ARC format) - Will be reviewing this formally in late October or early November (just before its release date), but I can say that this concluding "volume" to the Ambergris stories was captivating, surprising, with an ending that I'll need to re-read again so I can take it in more slowly, as this was a fast-paced noir adventure with certain extra touches that made for a fast, very good read.

188 Andrzej Sapkowski, Bautismo de fuego (re-read from 2008) - Fifth Geralt book. Introduces two new, important, and well-drawn characters. Even better on a re-read.

189 Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Zahrah the Windseeker - Okorafor's debut novel. Very well-done, and with it being set in an analogue for Nigeria, there are many elements here that are relatively unfamiliar for this American, but she executes the plot and integrates the setting very well. Looking forward to reading her upcoming adult novel (I've already read and enjoyed her second novel, The Shadow Speaker, back in January 2008).

190 Andrzej Sapkowski, La torre de la golondrina (re-read from 2008) - Sixth Geralt book (still waiting for the seventh and final volume to be released in Spanish). Interesting to see how the characters, especially Ciri, have changed. Sad that I have to wait months, if not a year or more, before La dama del lago is released.

191 Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files: Storm Front: Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm (graphic novel adaptation) - This graphic novel adaptation of the first half of the first volume of Butcher's more well-known urban fantasy/detective series is very well-drawn. As with his Welcome to the Jungle, the Dabel Brothers have done an excellent job in rendering the characters and scenes and the coloring is impressive. Due to be released in about 10 days, I believe. Can't wait for the second half (and strangely, I only want to read these in graphic novel format).

192 Nicola Griffith, Slow River - One of the books recommended to me after my post, this was a really good read of how a beaten, battered girl tries to cope with her loss of identity. Will read more of Griffith's works in the near future.

193 G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (re-read from 2008) - Short novel (barely 110 pages in my edition) that is in part a detective novel and in part a very good character profile. Might review this later on, if I have the time.

In Progress:

China Miéville, The City & The City

Michael Moorcock (ed.), New Worlds

Clark Ashton Smith, The Emperor of Dreams

Future Plans:

Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (re-read)

Andrzej Sapkowski, Narrenturm

Andrzej Sapkowski, Camino sin retorno

Roberto Bolaño, La escritura como tauromaquia

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