Friday, January 10, 2014

Bout of Books - Thursday update

I have been pretty disappointed in the last couple of books I picked up.  I fully intend to go back to The Book of Heroes and finish it - I just want to do it at a more leisurely pace without the pressure of the Bout of Books. The translated prose takes some time to parse but I was enjoying the book and this twist on the idea of Hero as someone who starts conflict (so they can be a hero) and causes a lot of collateral damage in their wake. Kind of running with the "you are the hero of your own story" in some weird directions.

However, I am pretty disgusted with both A Discovery of Witches (which is more like an epic of tea drinking) and Sweet Tooth (which so far implies that the only reason MI5 would be interested in having a woman agent is if she is willing to sleep with pretty much anyone).  I think that the only way I will finish either is if I read a few chapters and then rant viciously on this blog - I think I am starting to understand the appeal of blogging.  Hummm. 

So my stats from yesterday ...
Thursday, January 9, 2014 

Number of pages I’ve read today: 75 + 45 + 10
Total number of books I’ve read: 3
Total number of pages I've read: 1497
Books read today:

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan - 75 pages.  OMG when the heck did contemporary literature translate into boring recitations of pathetic sex life and TSTL brands of decision-making. What is this crap ?  I am actually very interested in the purported plot involving a young woman joining MI5 and becoming involved in Cold War espionage, but what do I get instead ? TMI about her sex-life and buckets of mushy self doubt.  There is just enough of an interesting story, barely, to make me want to keep reading, but good golly this is hard going.  Now that I have tried this book and Discovery of Witches, I find that I am totally out of tune with "bestsellers" which as far as I can work out are written solely for people who have never read anything else.  At least Sweet Tooth is actually going somewhere and the prose is pretty tight.  You could cut whole swaths of Discovery of Witches out without losing anything- and it is the first of a trilogy.  Seriously - take away their word processors and make them type on manual typewriters so they learn the value of a word and developing a plot concisely.  I am turning into a curmudgeon. I have to find something to read that I like and that won't feel like a total waste of time.  
Right so at this point I switched to a lovely non-fiction book called Jewels: A Secret History (called Buried Treasure in the UK) by Victoria Finlay - 45 pages. She literally goes around the world to visit the places from which gemstone come. The chapters are arranged according to Moh's Hardness Scale (Geology for the win!) and the first chapter was all about Amber.  So cool - if you have ever looked at a map and seen this strange little place above Poland and below Lithuania with no name and identified with the same color as Russia - well that is where she visited Kaliningrad, which is part of Russia, but totally disconnected. The largest amber mines in the world were there. So far this is an awesome read! 

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