Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday Post #24, December Excitement

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday fun, see the rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

Outside the Blog
    December is here. I hope for snow to make this month really magical. I cannot completely have the Christmas/New Year mood without snow. If not for the holiday at the end of the month it would be rather depressing as all the leaves are gone and now the nature is so grey and sad. It is dark so early that I want to sleep all the time. It is just the time to read more, but I do not feel like it and reading progress very slowly.

 Last on the Blog 
  • On Monday 27.11 I reviewed Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • On Tuesday 28.11 I reviewed Eagle Trap by Geoffrey Archer
  • On Wednesday 29.11 I published The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
Next on the Blog
  • Do not have any plans for the following week as I do not have any books read, so maybe I will do some tags for challenge updates.
Newcomers on my Shelf
   I found a sale on Facebook and went to choose some second books. I actually finished with 6 books which I hope to read soon:
The Professor by Charlotte Brontë
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
The Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Surfeit Of Lampreys by Ngaio Marsh
The Prime Minister's Ironing Board and Other State Secrets: True Stories from the Government Archives by Adam Macqueen

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

Author: Ninni Holmqvist
Original title: Enhet
Pages: 268
Edition Language: English
Series: no
Format: Paperback
Genres: Dystopia

     One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty-single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries--are sequestered for their final few years.
    In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation.

My thoughts: 
      This is the book we read in Tales & Co. book club during November 2017 and mostly the impression was negative.   
     I would not say I particularly liked the story, but I have enjoyed it. It is a slow first person narration with frequent reminiscence of the past and mood changed from healthy indifference to deep depression. The book does not explain anything, does not bring reasons for such society, does not have evaluation stand, it just gives you the picture how it is now and leaves you to deal with the facts. And you do not have much, only bits and bobs that Dorrit gives in her narration. The book has such a grayish tone: there is no tragedy nor hope - it is something that all residents of the unit feel silent meekness. Even the perception of the characters is vague - I cannot picture anybody, even though they were described in details - all of them is a gray mass of submissiveness. Only Elsa I can see clearly in my mind, the rest are people with blurred mass instead of faces.
      But anyway, in all this grayness the difficult topics come out and make you think. For me the most striking was the indifference of youth to matters of the old. Only a couple of lines where Dorrit tells about the deliberation about "dispensable" when she was young and how she did not see it possible, made me think about the perception of time. It was quite thought provoking read and, though, it has a similar topic to Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, it is still captivating and unique book.
    Despite of all above, I had my difficulties with the book. Mainly with the narration itself: the language seems dry and unemotional, which made it difficult to enjoy the prose. Another quite disturbing feature was the detailed description of everything the characters eat, drink or do. It was like rewinding narration: first we have a quick section of events of several months and then paragraphs of character dress, room and sandwich description.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Eagle Trap by Geoffrey Archer

Author: Geoffrey Archer
Original title: Eagle Trap
Pages: 404
Edition Language: English
Series: no
Format: Paperback
Genres: Military, Spy Thriller

     He was head of an international drugs ring, a kidnapper and a ruthless killer. One night British Sea Harriers reduced his Beirut headquarters to rubble and his evil empire to ruins. But Abdul Habib still had money, and hate, enough hate to spare to construct an elaborate plan which would destroy Gibraltar and the British Aircraft carrier which had committed the fatal strike. All he needed was luck to thread a nuclear warhead through the complicated network of the Middle East terrorist rings, get it on a Libyan freighter and head west across the Med-And enough luck to avoid the one man whose hate is even greater than his, Captain Peter Brodrick of the Royal Marines.
My thoughts: 
       I used to love Geoffrey Archer's novels, but this one did not stick with me. It has too many details about work of helicopters, aircraft carriers and other deathly devises to my taste. Though the plot develops quite vividly it is clear from the start where it is going. I would say nicely going military action book, I am just did not read those for a while and most probably was not in the proper mood.
       What I liked about it is the description of the former USSR military. I am so used to caricature image of those in books and movies that I was nicely supersized that you can actually see intelligent and sensible people and not muscular imbeciles with a Kalashnikov.
     The funny trope the author used when he was killing the side characters: every time they were thinking about their children and then bang!.. Only the main villain and protagonist does not have any children. In this connection one particular scene touched me deeply. When a Turkish journalist was running away from Kurd assassins, he jumped in a taxi and a taxi driver was now voluntarily helping this journalist. After the short race the driver ordered the journalist to leave taxi and went to the cafe to calm down. And this scene is written so striking and touchy, that it moved me. I hope the taxi driver survived after he was found by assassins.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Original title: Attachments
Pages: 416
Edition Language: Russian
Series: no
Format: e-book
Genres: Romance, Contemporary

     Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
    Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
     When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
    By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

My thoughts: 
       I did not like the book. It was boring. I did not like the characters and did not believe the story.
I do not understand the moral problems of Lincoln: he is a security manager - it is his job to read the triggered mail, so he does, and both Beth and Jennifer are aware of this fact, though they do not know him personally. Everything in the book seems so conveniently settled.
      Another thing that greatly irritated me is the imposing of the idea that Beth-Jennifer e-mails are funny. I found them terribly dull and uninteresting, but then I am reading Lincoln's thoughts about how witty and funny Beth is; and this happened several times, so it is difficult to ignore this kind of imposture. I can decide for myself if something is funny in the book or not.
    I guess I am expecting too much of a romance novel, but I heard so much praise of Rainbow Rowell, so I might be unfair to judge it seriously. I will try to relax with different books by Rowell, I am still hoping to like Fangirl.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sunday Post #23, On a lake

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday fun, see the rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

Outside the Blog
    I was away last weekend so no Sunday post. It is such a pleasure to relax from the internet and all communication and just enjoy  nature and the weather. I did not even touched the book I took with me, but it is ok.
    We have been on a lake, of course it is not the best time to be there, but we had the idea just to change the scenery, so the off-season is ok for that purpose too. The weather was superb: cold and snowing - proper winter and I enjoyed the frosty air very much. It was also really quite there in comparison with the city. So everyone returned refreshed and renewed.
    But with the reading I am suffering from some kind of stagnation. I do not have time to read, but moreover, I do not seem to enjoy the books I am reading. I  believe I need to think my reading attitude in December. Maybe I will even stick to one or two books maximum, just to give myself time to get into reading again.

 Last on the Blog 
Next on the Blog
  • I will review Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • I will review Eagle Trap by Geoffrey Archer

The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #16: result

So the result for a Classics Spin this time is number 4, which adds another book to my TBR:

Flaubert, Gustav: Madame Bovary (1856)

Do not know anything about the book and do not want any spoilers. It is much better to go into the book without any expectations and predictions and be genuinely surprised and enchanted.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #16

What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, before next Friday, November 17th, create a post to list your choice of any twenty books that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the year.  On Friday, November 17th, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by December 31, 2017. 

    I completely failed the previous Classics spin, I am going to try read the book for spin #15 till the end of this month, so I can consemtrate of ht e winner of spin # 16.

Here is my spin list:
1.    Austen, Jane: Persuasion (1818)
2.    Dostoevesky, Fyodor: The Idiot (1868–69)
3.    Du Maurier, Daphne: Rebecca (1938)
4.    Flaubert, Gustav: Madame Bovary (1856)
5.    Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1921)
6.    Bronte, Anne: Agnes Grey (1847)
7.    Hemingway, Ernest: For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
8.    Montgomery, L.M.: Anne of Green Gables (1908 -39)
         a.    Anne of Green Gables (1908)
         b.    Anne of Avonlea (1909)  
         c.    Anne of the Island (1915)
         d.    Anne of Windy Willows  (1936)
         e.    Anne's House of Dreams (1917)
         f.    Anne of Ingleside (1939
9.    Pushkin, Alexander: Tales of Belkin (1831)
         a.    The Shot, (Выстрел)
         b.    The Blizzard (Метель);
         c.    The Undertaker (Гробовщик);
         d.    Stationmaster (Станционный смотритель);
         e.    The Squire's Daughter (Барышня-крестьянка)
10.    Pushkin, Alexander: The Captain's Daughter (1836)
11.    Steinbeck, John: The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
12.    Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine (1895)
13.    Turgenev, Ivan: Home of the Gentry (1859)
14.    Zola, Emile: L'Assommoir 1877
15.    Goncharov, Ivan: The Precipice (1869)
16.    Eliot, George: Middlemarch (1871-72)
17.    Hardy, Thomas: Far From the Madding Crowd (1874)
18.    Rhys, Jean: Wide Sargasso Sea (1939)
19.    Turgenev, Ivan: Rudin (1856)
20.    Dostoevesky, Fyodor: The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80)