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ARCHIVE 2012 Personal Challenges > Karina: 100 books




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message 149: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 115. Rebecca Skloot - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
3 stars

Very interesting subject, but the telling of it gets repetitive and tiring. I found myself spending more time cringing over the (unneccessarily awkward) family descriptions than anything else.


message 148: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 113. Joe Abercrombie - Before They Are Hanged
4 stars

This was a lot of fun, if you get to use the word "fun" to describe all the gore, violence, torture, warfare and disfigurement. Abercrombie crafts characters I care enough about to cheer when they get to do the thing they really want to do, and grieve when they come into trouble. (My favourite character, so far, is probably Colonel West.)

It is very much "the second part of a trilogy" though, and thus only recommend-able to people who read the first and want more.

I still think this trilogy would be good for people who liked Richard Morgan's "The steel remains" but would like more plot in their gritty fantasy.


message 147: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 112. James Bowen - A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets
3 stars

BF got this for me, because he is a terrible crazycatladyism-enabler. Though, to be fair, I probably would hav eended up reading it anyway, after all the attention in social media.

I think the last time I read anything of this genre - the "inspiring true story" featuring various hardship and animals - was when, as a kid, I rambled through my grandfather's piles of Readers' Digest. They used to feature long drama stories, and I only bothered when there were shark attacks or leopards in the backyards of unsuspecting people.

Bob is a cool cat. Even I am made to feel a little awkward by what seems to be the book's single, repetitive point: Without the cat, the struggling man in the streets is invisible. With the cat, people will strike up conversation and make less harsh judgements.

This isn't well written at all, but it's not the kind of book you buy or read for the prose, is it? You buy it because there's a great big ginger cat on the cover and his name is clearly Bob.


message 146: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 111. Nancy Kress - Steal Across the Sky
4 stars

Aliens make contact. They put an ad on the internet. In fact, it's not the first time they've visited humans, but last time they did something bad to us, and they wish to atone.

This could make a greater story than it turns out to be, but although the story is not big, it's still a nice read. The relative simplicity of the characters makes me want to sort this as a YA read, but the themes of death and religion might be a bit on the dour side.

It's my first Nancy Kress, and has not discouraged me from looking up more books of hers.

(Also, the audiobook version is narrated by Kate Reading, one of my favourite voices.)


message 145: by Karina (last edited Dec 16, 2012 10:31PM) (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 110. Jørgen Jelstad - De Bortgjemte - og hvordan ME ble vår tids mest omstridte sykdom (N)
3 stars

(Rough title translation: "The hidden away ones - how ME/CFS became the most debated illness of our time.")

Norwegian health care is great, and sparkles when held up against most other nations. It doesn't mean it's perfect. This book came out last year, and is an angry journalist's account of the strange and upsetting history of the diagnosis ME/CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and the afflicted patients - in Norway, and to some extent, internationally.

It is written in anger. The system of health care is being held on trial, for its sins, confronted with little stories about the sickest of patients, the ones who who can't leave their bed, in dark rooms, with masks over their eyes.

And the anger is probably pleasing to many readers. A part of me revels in it, but truly, I don't need an extra supply of anger. I would have preferred to see some of the relevant doctors and politicians explain and possibly even defend some of the terrible decisions and outrageous statements made, but, for all I know, the journalist tried to get this, and was refused. I can't even guess.

The last part of the book is more optimistic, devoted to the great research being done currently and in very recent years. A couple of Norwegian cancer specialists discovered that by treating a patient for cancer, they accidentally removed all her ME/CFS symptoms. They took an interest. Trials continue, and the joyous reports from pilot patients are appearing, right now, on blogs and in papers.

It's a baffling story, all parts of it.

Probably, I was not the one who needed to read this; I should have given it to the people in my life who have bought into the "it's just in your head, you know, if you think positively it all goes away!"-joke.

I would always recommend Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America as a companion book. (It has America in the title, yes, but Norway is an early adopter.)


message 144: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments (A note: I am generally positive about the books I read, maybe more so than average. I rarely really dislike what I'm reading, and if in doubt, I'll usually rate 4 rather than 3 stars. I'm typing this here because the following book is one I did consider "punishing" for my complaints, but didn't...)

109. Joe Abercrombie - The Blade Itself
4 stars

December TBR twin read. It took me a while to get through because of more travel and less reading time than I would have liked - but once that was all sorted out, this was a breeze. Abercrombie is not a boring or slow author.

Earlier I've heard his books mentioned as "similar" to Martin's A song of ice and fire, but I don't really see that at all, except for being in the same genre. Abercrombie's characters are broken, but most of them are likeable, which by itself sets this far apart from ASOIAF.

A torturer who is himself crippled by torture. A thoughtful barbarian. A young fencing master snob handicapped by prejudice regarding blood and nobility. And there is, on the whole, some bad juju afoot.

My complaint is somewhat invalidated by this being the first book out of a trilogy. Because there's no finished plot, here - and as I moved straight on to the second book, I know it picks up just where the first left off. Which is fine - but to me, that makes it one novel in three parts, rather than a trilogy. ;) Which is inconsequencial, of course, except I really did expect some plot resolvement by the end, and it failed to happen. Still, I did move straight on to the next novel, so that's a fair thumbs up, isn't it?


message 143: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 108. Lois McMaster Bujold - Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
4 stars

This is something like the... 16th installment of the Vorkosigan series? That makes it, in a way, a very private reading experience. It's hard to recommend that kind of book to anyone else, or even discuss it, because everything builds on stuff from the previous books.

I originally started on this monstrous series because several of the novels had won Hugo awards, and it's been a goal of mine to read all the Hugo winning novels, at least. With a series like this, I judged it best to get started at the beginning and roll with it. I had some prejudice to contend with.

In the end though, they've all been good reads. Military science fiction at heart, but with a lot of fluff around it.

This novel deals with a supporting character from previous books, rather than the infamous Miles Vorkosigan himself. This is Ivan Vorpatril's story, and it feels like an afterword because the previous book, Cryoburn, was so final. But sometimes afterwords are good things, too!


message 142: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (nathlawle) Karina wrote: "I didn't see this before! But no - I didn't re-read Pathfinder, but I did look up a wikipedia summary to refresh some names and whatnot. If/when a third volume comes out - presumably over a year from now - I'll probably do a thorough reread then. :)"

Good idea! I'm going to do that too. Hopefully I'll get to Ruins in January. It will be a good start to the new year. :)


message 141: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 107. Alastair Reynolds - Chasm City
4 stars

Maybe I'd detract another star if my mood had been worse - because, as much as I like Reynolds, this story didn't really tie up all its threads at the end the way I wanted it to. It doesn't mean it wasn't a good ride, though. I'm not sure I'd call it a pure space opera, although a lot of the action is indeed in space, and even on a generation ship on its way to colonize new bits of the universe - at least as much of it is a strange broken city dystopia, not to mention the bit that is... well, it's a big story. And I really did enjoy it - I might just hope that what I thought was left unresolved is to reappear in another novel.

(I've seen reviewers complain about Reynolds' supposedly boring prose - I disagree!)


message 140: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments Trevor wrote: "I'm so excited for Ruins, Karina! I've got a hold on it at my library. I've been waiting for it since Pathfinder too!! Did you reread Pathfinder first? I'm worried I won't remember the story enough..."

I didn't see this before! But no - I didn't re-read Pathfinder, but I did look up a wikipedia summary to refresh some names and whatnot. If/when a third volume comes out - presumably over a year from now - I'll probably do a thorough reread then. :)


message 139: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 106. Catherynne M. Valente - Silently and Very Fast
5 stars

I never even knew this existed, but then there it was, somewhere in the middle of a row of amazon recommendations. A tiny little novella with a strange SF setting, considering how the author famously dwells in rich fantasy.

There are fewer stories about technological singularity - the spontaneous emergence of a greater-than-human intelligence - than one might assume. Or, well, I've stumbled into fewer of them than expected, especially since I love this theme.

Valente does a great job of it, too. She asks some fundamental questions about human prejudice and expectations concerning nonhuman intelligence - if I was in a position to do so, I would task young readers to read this together with whatever is the standard "racism is bad, sexism is bad, all these things are bad"-curriculum.


message 138: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 105. Adam Roberts - Yellow Blue Tibia
4 stars

I've meant to read this since the first time I saw it in some book store a couple of years ago - because, well, it has Stalin on the cover, and is about a bunch of science fiction writers secretly tasked with writing the glorious communist intergalactic future? And there's chernobyl!

Also, there's alien abductions, which is a cool thing for an SF/alternate history to handle. All in all a light and entertaining read with a lot of entertaining concepts. (And scientology...!)


message 137: by Karina (last edited Nov 26, 2012 04:55AM) (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 103. Mark Millar - Superman: Red Son (Graphic novel)
5 stars

What if Superman wasn't the great American hero - what if he had the hammer and sickle on his chest, instead?

As I understand, this is a classic in the line of graphic novels reimagining superheroes - I'm a bit puzzled that I didn't read this one back when I was going through Frank Miller's Dark knight and similar.

(I feel like I should have more to say about it - but "Yay" will have to do, today)


104. Neal Stephenson - Quicksilver
5 stars

I can sum up my November in two activities: Writing for NaNoWriMo (completed my 50k words yesterday) - and reading Quicksilver. Both of which have been utterly and unexpectedly enjoyable.

Well, "Unexpected" - I have loved everything I've read by Stephenson, but the sheer size of this - and the two following volumes of the Baroque Cycle - was intimidating to me, and it's hard to guess at what exactly it is you're going into, with this book. At least it was to me - because all i could tell from reviews and recommendations was "something historical with Newton and Leibniz and money in it?!" ...

It takes about a hundred pages to get into it, but that's okay, because there's still a good 800 pages left at that point. I think I started giggling somewhere around page 50 (I'm not sure, I have a kindle copy, which is good, because otherwise I would have sprained my wrists wrangling this thing around with me) - and I never stopped.

Stephenson is funny, once he's convinced you to be the kind of reader this sort of story requires.

And I love it, all of it. I love seeing tea introduced to a disinterested englishman, I love how in France they call syphilis "the english pox" and in England it is "the french pox" , I love the befuddled puritan looking around in a bedroom asking "who's been making sausages in here?!" and thereafter being taught exactly how these sheep guts are to be employed.

It might be another month or so before I get started on the next part of the Cycle, but I'm very much looking forward to it.


message 136: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (nathlawle) I'm so excited for Ruins, Karina! I've got a hold on it at my library. I've been waiting for it since Pathfinder too!! Did you reread Pathfinder first? I'm worried I won't remember the story enough to just pick Ruins up.


message 135: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 102. Orson Scott Card - Ruins
5 stars

I've waited for this book for about two years, haven't I, since Pathfinder first came out? Card, why do you start two new series at the same time (the other one being the lost gate stuff) and make me wait so long for either one to be continued? It could be considered confusing in many ways, especially because both of these series feature young and fantastically intelligent protagonists - just like a certain other protagonist from an earlier series of books.

Time travel, space colonization, royal family intrigues, and parasitic face huggers - along with typical Card reflections on how people see and hear each other and how these things rarely correspond with what people think they say and show.


message 134: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 101. Isaac Asimov - Pebble in the Sky
3 stars

I think this was Asimov's first novel, which ended up being the third in the Galactic Empire-trilogy. Fortunately, it is nowhere near as painful to read as the previous one in that set - but there is an attempt at romance in this one too, and it's still a terrible and awkward thing to read. I find myself just trying to avert my eyes and begging to return to the science and politics related bits of plot.

This story features a time traveller, which is fun, but oddly redundant to the story.


message 133: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments Trevor wrote: "You made your goal!!!! wooooo! ;) Seriously, though, great job! :D"

Thank you! :)

I don't think I will increase my challenge thingie - obviously won't stop reading, but november is the annual half-hearted nanowrimo attempt anyway, so will probably be busy enough!


message 132: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (nathlawle) You made your goal!!!! wooooo! ;) Seriously, though, great job! :D


message 131: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 100. Jane Rogers - The Testament of Jessie Lamb
3 stars

Some books show up on my radar after being mentioned on sites like io9, and I'm pretty sure that's how this ended up in my queue. It's a decent dystopian YA, somewhat reminiscent of another one I read earlier this year, When She Woke - in that they both deal with near-future dystopias focusing on women and that thing women end up as vehicles for; children. In Jessie Lamb's world, a deadly virus is killing any woman who becomes pregnant.

I liked the story well enough, though overall it wasn't quite as sharp as it could have been. I would have liked to see, for instance, more exploration of how young people's minds are affected by basically being the last generation, while waiting for science to come to the rescue.

Anyway; 100th book!


message 130: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 99. Isaac Asimov - The Stars, Like Dust
2 stars

Oh, dear. It's hard to really dislike Asimov, but if you really wanted to do so, this novel would be a good place to start. From a clumsy, forced romance to the almost unforgiveably patriotic-sentimental ending - there's no lack of things to frown about. Still, it was suitably light reading for a preoccupied chronic-headache sort of brain.


message 129: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 98. William T. Tardy - Easy Spanish Reader
3 stars

Heh, I've been plodding through this for a few months now - not so much because of the language challenge (that part is mostly enjoyable - that thing where you finally get into the flow and read several paragraphs without stumbling on a single phrase) - but because the material is, well, pretty dull.

Admittedly, I probably learned a bit of Mexican history, but only because I didn't have any knowledge on that subject before.

This IS a very decent piece of study material, though. It starts very simple and the grammar and sentence structure gets more advanced through the three parts of the book; it uses a lot of common phrases, over and over, so there's a chance I might even remember them.


message 128: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 96. Gerard Way - The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas
3 stars

Ah, hm, not sure I have much to say except "More of the same", that is, nice absurd universe and more or less disillusioned superheroes with problematic personal relationships. The art makes it worthwhile through the more generic story bits.

97. Terry Pratchett - A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction
5 stars, favourite

So the first story in this volume is what Terry Pratchett wrote as a school paper when he was 13. He was funny when he was 13. He was smart enough to choose to be funny when he was 13. (As opposed to some of us who spent that particular time of life being more serious and grave about everything than at any other point in life.)

And there are so many great, great bits of Pratchett here, both with and without Discworld. He makes me laugh and think and also worry enormously about whether or not this is the end, because this is the author I wish would live forever, in perfect health.


message 127: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments Adriana wrote: "Is the UA's second book already out? I read it months ago when my brother let me borrow but I don't know much about the series."

Yep! The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas :)


message 126: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments Kara wrote: "...oh my goodness, is Banks trying to be funny? I've never caught a whiff of humor in his novels. Wow, I must REALLY not like his brand of humor."

Haha! Well, I could be making stuff up - but at least in "State of the art" he does some.... comedy things. I think I've seen it in the previous novels too, though!


message 125: by Adriana (new)

Adriana | 3271 comments Is the UA's second book already out? I read it months ago when my brother let me borrow but I don't know much about the series.


message 124: by Kara, Moderator (last edited Oct 22, 2012 11:18AM) (new)

Kara (KaraAyako) | 3472 comments ...oh my goodness, is Banks trying to be funny? I've never caught a whiff of humor in his novels. Wow, I must REALLY not like his brand of humor.


message 123: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 94. Gerard Way - The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite (Graphic novel)
4 stars

Again: I love the whole "superpowers bestowed upon random people"-trope, which made this graphic novel a safe bet. I loved it, actually - the art is charming, there's tons of stuff going on, the characters bring no great surprises, but they don't need to. I'd recommend this to anyone whose ears perk up at things like "the eiffel tower went crazy" or "smart chimpanzees wearing spectacles". I would have liked to see a bigger/deeper storyline, but at least it was fun. Will read the second UA collection soon.


95. Iain M. Banks - The State of the Art
3 stars

I have this thing where I judge certain authors unfairly because of, perhaps, strained relations with the individuals who first recommended their books. Which I think is human. But it makes me fearful of writing reviews.

This is a collection of short stories and one longer culture-related novella. I liked the novella better than some of the full novels I've read of the series. In this one, the Culture visits Earth, in the 1970-ies. (They even visit Oslo, where I live.)

I think part of my problem with Banks is that I'm not particularly amused by his brand of humour, or it feels like 80% of his humorous attempts just leave me frowning. This collection of stories has a lot of the juvenile variety.

But that doesn't make his writing bad. His universe is interesting enough that I will probably continue reading Culture novels.


message 122: by Adriana (new)

Adriana | 3271 comments Karina wrote: "Adriana: Yes, she's the Fairyland author. :)"

Fantastic! Will add it to my TBR (:


message 121: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 93. Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
(star rating: a difference of opinion between my 16 year old self and the current old hag.)

I was glad to have an excuse to re-read this classic, because it actually meant a lot to me, at one point. This time, though, it was mainly interesting to observe the differences between then and now, in myself, as a reader.

Which makes for a poor and unfair book review, obviously.

So I think that's a good reason to just leave it at that. And mention how I've had much the same experience with films I used to adore which I think fall into the same genre - "Edward Scissorhands" and "The crow", yes?


message 120: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments Adriana: Yes, she's the Fairyland author. :)


message 119: by Adriana (new)

Adriana | 3271 comments Karina wrote: "87. Catherynne M. Valente - Deathless
4 stars

Valente's writing always makes me think of really, really rich chocolate cake. Delicious, but not something you can stomach every day, or at any hour...."


The Fairyland author?


message 118: by Karina (last edited Oct 14, 2012 12:35PM) (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 91. M.T. Anderson - Feed
4 stars

YA dystopia. The narrator, a teenager with a chronic social media feed - with advertising and special offers - inside his brain tells a surprisingly dark love story, employing a simplified (or degenerated) english and short attention span.

I had never heard of this novel when I picked it up in a cheap kindle deal several months ago, but I think it deserves some attention.

92. Jim Butcher - Proven Guilty
3 stars

Yes, Harry Dresden kept me company for a few hours on the train over the weekend. While there weren't any dinosaur antics in this one, it was nice to get a more nuanced picture of a couple of characters only briefly discussed before. Vague hints at a greater evil become slightly less vague, and the author gets to quote and reference a slew of well known horror movies.


message 117: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 90. Jim Butcher - Dead Beat
4 stars

This - the 7th book of the Dresden series - is where I start getting enthusiastic about it. Really! And it's mostly because of the last 20 percent of it, featuring some fabulous dinosaur action. It's like the author crossed some line and went from "sort of entertaining, but not sufficiently much of anything" to "ridiculously-over-the-top and aware of it" - and I happen to like the latter a lot. Will bring more Dresden Files along for upcoming weekend trip with long train rides and all.


message 116: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 89. Philip Pullman - Grimm Tales for Young and Old
4 stars

Fairytales! With notes and comments from Philip Pullman, which adds a nice flavour. Of course I (like everyone else) grew up with Grimm stories, and fairy tales are fairy tales because they are deeply formulaic, and never surprising - so it's not exactly a riveting read. Still very much worthwhile, though.


message 115: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 88. Paolo Bacigalupi - Pump Six and Other Stories
5 stars, favourite

I'm not a very enthusiastic short story reader, so this is a rare thing - I loved every story in this collection. Bacigalupi's dystopian futures are rotten and depressing and convincing, and beautifully told. Energy collapses, food monopolies, immortality, degenerating species, wind-up girls and mutations - I can't pick a favourite, though "The fluted girl" is going to stick to memory for a while.


message 114: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 87. Catherynne M. Valente - Deathless
4 stars

Valente's writing always makes me think of really, really rich chocolate cake. Delicious, but not something you can stomach every day, or at any hour.

"Deathless", a patchwork of Russian folklore, is no exception. Hard to recommend to someone unwilling or unable to indulge in the writing.


message 113: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (nathlawle) Thanks!! :D


message 112: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments Trevor wrote: "Do you have a link to that list, Karina? That would be interesting to see.
That sounds like a good book as well! I want to start reading more Asimov."


The list can be found here :)


message 111: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (nathlawle) Do you have a link to that list, Karina? That would be interesting to see.
That sounds like a good book as well! I want to start reading more Asimov.


message 110: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 86. Isaac Asimov - The Currents of Space
4 stars

The first non-robot novel on the "Asimov's 15" list (the author's own suggestion regarding reading order of his works), and the first volume in the Galactic Empires-trilogy.

Asimov writes quaint and sweet characters, and still lets science be the hero. It's sort of pleasing to observe - though we're in a different time, far removed - that Giskard's actions in the last few pages of the last robot novel, must have worked according to plan.

The author gets a bit ham-fisted about his liberal views on the spectrum of skin colours, but I'm happy to forgive that. I considered being annoyed with the female characters, but I actually think, in this novel, they're just how the characters came out, and aren't necessarily descriptive of an overall gender idea.


message 109: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 85. Warren Ellis - newuniversal: Everything Went White (Graphic novel)
4 stars

Issues #1-#6 of what is apparantly a reboot of an 80ies Marvel concept, with which I am unfamiliar. Warren Ellis is well known to me though, and I have always had a soft spot for the (increasingly common) "freak event causes random people to gain superpowers"-trope.(It may be over-used, but there's still fun to be had!)


message 108: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 84. Samuel R. Delany - Babel-17
3 stars

Unfortunately, the short story "Empire star" is not included in the kindle edition of "Babel-17", though in the paperback (SF masterworks) it is. Amazon's product review doesn't say the editions are different that way, so I feel inclined to growl about that.

Babel-17 is a fairly short novel full of, for lack of better words, poetry. It's not similar to anything else i can think of, actually, but I'm not sure if that's positive. A couple of scenes were intensely moving, but strangely so, because the rest of the time I found it hard to even grasp what was going on, hah.


message 107: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 83. Jim Butcher - Blood Rites
3 stars

I've been reading the Dresden Filesnovels at a truly glacial pace. It's not that they don't entertain or amuse me, because they do - but they don't necessarily leave me with a burning need to know what happens next. (Which should be obvious, as this is the 6th novel in the series, and I think I read the 1st over four years ago, the rest scattered over those years.)

That said, I might throw the rest of the books into the immediate TBR-pile, because I hear they get better, and because I am a neurotic reader uncomfortable with being in-the-middle-of a lot of series at once.

So, Blood Rites, there are still vampire thugs around (known from previous misadventures), our wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden is still pleased to consider himself all kinds of smug and smart, and the supporting cast is generally more interesting than he is. He does have a cat, though. I can tolerate a lot of wise-assery from a dude with a big cat.


message 106: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 82. Mike Brown - How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
4 stars

Very cosy, very readable little story about science and how it works. The author is funny and argues for his decisions regarding very distant objects observed through very large telescopes; the procedures of scouting, finding, announcing, naming and classifying. I found it educational, though I'm more educated on the matter of how an astrophysicist actually spends his time today, than about astronomy itself. (Which is just fine, because I actually read this because of it being recommended by the lecturer in the astronomy-for-idiots class I'm following for fun these days.)


message 105: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 81. Kjell Askildsen - Thomas F's siste nedtegnelser til almenheten: Noveller (N)
3 stars

So this was the second sample of what is generally considered "good" Norwegian literature I decided to check out. The author is said to be one of "our" finest short story writers, and, indeed, this volume consists of two short stories.

And I don't like it.

When I was a serious, intellectually aspiring teen, I read litfic and, at the same time, believed I could not find much of value in the genres I've preferred through my 20ies. (This was largely due to two things: I was somewhat unimpressed with the lord of the rings, and I had, unfortunately, encountered a norwegian translation of the first volume of the wheel of time-series.)

I probably DID gain a lot, at the time, from reading Kundera and Dostoevsky and Céline and all the other big names, but it feels like I must have simply filled my quota of "inconclusive fiddling around", which is how I generally see litfic when I encounter it now.

So I won't try to describe what I just read in more specific terms. Certainly, the sentences are pretty, and the words work well together. I'd just much rather have pretty sentences forming memorable stories. (Spaceships and lasers optional.)


message 104: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 80. Kjersti A. Skomsvold - Jo fortere jeg går, jo mindre er jeg (N)
3 stars

This little Norwegian novel has been translated into English, with the title "The faster I walk, the smaller I am".

I picked it up because I'm making a half-hearted effort to make myself comfortable reading in my own language, again. (Which I find strange and uncomfortable, for reasons I think I've mentioned before.) It is, as the cover promises, a peculiarly depressing comedy. Or entertaining tearjerker. I don't know. A simple summary could be "A disablingly shy elderly woman is very, very alone" - but then again, of course it's more than that. It isn't SF or fantasy, or even non-fic, actually, I think it's the first "literary fiction/general fiction" title I've read in years. Strange September!


message 103: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments Trevor wrote: "You're getting close to your goal, Karina! Congratulations. :)

"I live two blocks away from this city's dedicated graphic novel library - so I recently decided I should take advantage of it. Chose..."


Thanks! And yes, it is really cool. :)


message 102: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (nathlawle) You're getting close to your goal, Karina! Congratulations. :)

"I live two blocks away from this city's dedicated graphic novel library - so I recently decided I should take advantage of it. Chose this title entirely at random, as it sat in the SF section and looked shiny."

A dedicated graphic novel library? That sounds really cool!


message 101: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 79. Dean Motter - Terminal City (Graphic novel)
3 stars

I live two blocks away from this city's dedicated graphic novel library - so I recently decided I should take advantage of it. Chose this title entirely at random, as it sat in the SF section and looked shiny.

While I had a lot of fun reading it, especially enjoying the worldbuilding details, it was ultimately disappointing, not following up on the parts of the story I really wanted to know more about.

All in all a fun afternoon of SF metropolitan noir antihero silliness - but not, perhaps, something I'll return to later.

(Previously, I've loved graphic novels like "Bone", "Preacher", "The Invisibles", "Transmetropolitan" and, well, others. I'll have to poke around a bit for what to explore next!)


message 100: by Karina (new)

Karina (karinargh) | 739 comments 78. Terry Pratchett - Dodger
5 stars, favourite (it is impossible for me to dislike Pratchett)

Because this is a London novel, there is a lot of tea drinking going on. This is contageous to me, but it's okay, because I brought a huge pile of tea with me from my last London visit. Not necessarily relevant, but there you go.

This story introduces a number of well-known Londoners; from Sweeney Todd to Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, and plenty of others. An interesting effect of this was to make me wonder about every single one of the characters and look them up afterwards - because the fictional ones were pretty much impossible to discern from the "real".

I'm not going to talk about the plot, because it's a short book, and Pratchett fans will need no convincing. It delivers all the Pratchett qualities, which I personally define as a vast -and entertaining- kindness towards all sorts of people, except the ones who are cruel to cats.


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