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message 1: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments This bug bites her books randomly - she doesn't know how many she will read, but she wants to read a little of every genre. Her challenges change every month or so, so suffice it to say she intends to read as much as she can, biting in those juicy, varied books and essays that come her way.

It's almost half a year now - but not too late to start a thread - so a deluge of the list of bitten books will follow.

The bug is abashed at the inconvenience caused :)

message 2: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Already read :

Science Fiction : A Critical Guide - Patrick Parrinder - 3/5
Science Fiction A Critical Guide by Patrick Parrinder

The Divine Invasion - Philip K. Dick - 3/5
The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick

The Female Man - Joanna Russ - 2.5/5
The Female Man by Joanna Russ

Opus 100 and Opus 200 - Isaac Asimov - 4/5
Opus 100 by Isaac Asimov, Opus 200 by Isaac Asimov

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand - 4/5
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood - 3.5/5
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie - 3/5
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevsky - 5/5
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Writings on Art and Literature - Sigmund Freud - 4/5
Writings on Art and Literature (Meridian) by Sigmund Freud

Native Son - Richard Wright - 5/5
Native Son by Richard Wright

Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi - 5/5
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Smoke and Mirrors : An Experience of China - Pallavi Aiyar - 5/5
Smoke and Mirrors An Experience of China by Pallavi Aiyar

message 3: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Petals of Blood - Ngugi wa Thiong'o - 4/5
Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
This is a disturbing novel with substantial violence in Kenya, and deals with issues of brutal neo-colonization. Not for the faint-hearted. Not exactly an easy, thrilling book. A moderately difficult read, because it has numerous underlying themes, interrogating Western values and our own notions of civilization and law-enforcement.

All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes - Maya Angelou - 4/5
All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou's memoir, her delicate position as an outsider, both in the western world (being a Black) and in the African world (being an American), her interactions with controversial figures such as Malcolm X and President Kwame Nkrumah. Her attachment to her native land Ghana, and a load of interesting details about her traumatic childhood.

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Lit Bug | 402 comments Who Walk Alone by Perry Burgess Who Walk Alone by Perry Burgess - 4/5

Now out of print, it is a non-fiction story of Ned who was afflicted with a then fatal and stigmatized disease - Leprosy. Faking his death so that his family would be spared of the agony of dealing with him, he spends the rest of his life in Manila, Philipines, in a fort where all lepers are tended to - a fort known as The Sanctuary of Sorrow because of its afflicted members. Philippines had been struck with this deadly disease since the last 300 years, not too far back in history.

Ned encounters a love affair with a local woman, doomed to fail. A sorrowful story of a painful life, a doomed love and a failed hope of ever recovering.

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Lit Bug | 402 comments The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 4/5

Written in 1850 by Nathaniel Hawthorne, this novel was based on a true incident in the 1700s in Puritanical America. Set in the same era, it explores the themes of morality, sin and repentance.

Hester Prynne, the protagonist, is condemned as guilty of bearing an illegitimate child, whose fatherhood is not ascertained. With dignity, Hester refuses to name the father and accepts her rigorous punishment in the rigid puritanical society infamous for its stern condemnation of the slightest sin.

She is forced to wear a large scarlet letter 'A' on her dress at all times, signifying her status as an 'adultress', is isolated by the society and mocked upon. Her daughter Pearl inherits her carefree nature, and serves as a foil to her mother's now subdued self. While Hester ties her hair up tightly in conformation with her guilty status, Pearl flaunts her free hair. She is a reflection of her mother's conscience - clear and rebellious.

While the other guilty party - the pastor Dimmesdale - still loves Hester and secretly goes to meet her sometimes but is afraid of confessing his 'sin' publicly, finally confesses before the public.

The novel depicts that there is no single criminal ever. There is the more publicized criminal, but never a lone one. Everyone's a sinner, and just because somebody's sins are different from one's own, one doesn't have the right to cast the first stone... Pearl and Hester, and to a certain extent, Dimmesdale too are lesser sinners than the others.

A great book. A scathing comment on the Puritanical notions of sin and morality, a reminder that everyone sins in different ways, and there's a very fine line between being morally upright and moral self-righteousness.

A brilliant novel, and a rare glimpse into the extent of Puritanism that once held sway over the American nation.

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Lit Bug | 402 comments The Ayodhya Cantos: Poems by Rukmini Bhaya Nair - 4/5

Mythology, contemporary times, and history inter-woven, it is a long, but horrifying poem on the world we live in, of the abuses we tolerate and perpetrate on each other. Richly allusive to important events in Indian history, it forces us to take a peek into our conscience, and opens our eyes to the psychological squalor around us.

Sarpa Satra by Arun Kolatkar - 4.5/5

Sarpa Satra is a commentary through poetry on the present times through the retelling of the Janmejaya tale. It is biting in its satire, to the point, amusing yet sad. Scathing for those who can comprehend the dangerous times we live in.

Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire - 4/5

Both, the translation in English and the original French poetry, is simply wonderful. Haunting beauty amongst the pervasive sad notes. Sometimes obscure. Stunning imagery. Translated into English as Flowers of Evil: A Selection

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Lit Bug | 402 comments The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper - 4/5

The early great American novelist's novel in the Leather-Stocking series, the novel explores the trials of a seemingly 'uncivilized' tribe/natives, the almost extinct Mohicans rescue a 'civilized' white group to safety in the midst of a tribal war in America. An underplayed, therefore, highly mesmerizing, but silent, unacknowledged love story between the Mohican youth and one of the white girls is dealt with astounding maturity and skill. One of the best love stories in English classics.

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Lit Bug | 402 comments Thomas Hardy has always been a favorite. Have read the following :

The Mayor of Casterbridge
The Return of the Native
Far from the Madding Crowd
Tess of the d'Urbervilles

His writing belonged to the literary movent called 'Naturalism', which propounded that there is no order in the workings of the universe, good does not beget good, nor evil begets evil. Universe and fate are lawless, and the laws of Nature, rather than those of the supernatural/God reign and determine the course of lives. Naturalism was the outgrowth of literary realism, that treated its characters as simply humans, rather than standing for any symbols.

Tragedy defines all his works, and can be summed up in his spectacular statement - "Happiness is but a mere episode in the general dram of pain."

All his novels are set in an imaginary place called Wessex.

message 9: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Siting Translation: History, Post-Structuralism, and the Colonial Context by Tejaswini Niranjana - 4/5

An academic book (going by the reasons people usually read it) but important for those who wish to understand the politics of ethnical psychology, and how the art of translation sub-consciously turns into the politics of culture and beliefs.

The book examines the process of translation as a site for exploring the nuances of colonialism handed down to us by the British and portrays how the traditional norms of translation as put into effect by the British now act as tools of neo-colonization and perpetuating the unequal power-struggles between cultures and languages.

Drawing on the post-structuralist theories of Jacques Derrida, Paul De Man and Benjamin, Niranjana opens up the hidden battles of culture and power that are manifest in the act of translation.

This book is especially important since we all read translated works, without being even nominally aware of prejudices and the pre-conceived notions that drive the translator to pick a word or a phrase in order to translate.

(Translation as an activity was first undertaken by the British, and the first books to be translated were the ancient classic Sanskrit literature and Hindu scriptures, with the explicit aim of exposing their supposed 'lowliness' of content and style and inferiority in contrast to the Western works, and these were the texts that became the staple, standard opinions of the British about The Orient, and later, were incorporated officially as Standard History - which is why a study like this is all the more important today)

message 10: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 60052 comments Mod
Good luck with your challenge Lit Bug:)

message 11: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Thanks :) Will post only a few everyday so that there isn't a flood.

message 13: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments The India Rubber Boy: Russian Classical Stories for Children by Izdatel Stvo - 5/5

A wonderful collection of short stories, depicting the classic Russian leanings for tragedy and an unnameable pain. The stories are not to be read to children though - they are too poignant, too tragic and pensive - especially the title story. These are stories featuring children to be read by adults.

Brilliant, and truly a hidden gem in Russian literature. Recommended to anyone who likes classic Russian literature.

message 18: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 60052 comments Mod
You're powering through them Lit Bug! Well done:)

message 19: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Thanks!!! These were good :)

message 23: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut - 6/5

Yes, that's right. It's a 6/5 rating. 5/5 seems so... unfair.

Kurt Vonnegut is perhaps the most under-rated author of our literary history. This tiny short story (only 12 pages) is filled with so much satire, angst and anger that one tends to forget it is sci-fi. Although, this is the first story where the SF aspect is so well forgotten as the story develops, that even those repelled by SF would love this.

The title 2 B R 0 T B is an acronym for the eternal conflict in humanity - To Be Or Not To Be (RIP Shakespeare) - and this is exactly the theme of the story, in a world where aging is stopped, births and deaths are controlled to keep the population stagnant. But the science part ends there - and the trials of humans begin.

Good stories are moving and sad. Exceptional stories, like this one, leave us frustrated, angry and disturbed, And Vonnegut does that in exactly 12 pages. Forget your aversion to SF - this one's a classic.

message 24: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments V de Vendetta Tomo 1 (V for Vendetta #1) by Alan Moore - 3/5

Solely based on the first installment, there is enough stuff that is likable - the mysterious character V, the gradual revelations of the nature of the state machinery, and the early introduction to the allusion to Guy Fawkes of the Gunpowder Plot of the Fifth of November.

Although, the icon of Fawkes as an allegory against Conservatism is ironic, given that Fawkes was himself in favor of the Conservatives, I assume its target in allegory is the symbolic one man's struggle against anarchy, rather than being a symbol for Progressives. I assume, then, that the allegory is only partial.

The comic book form is a personally disliked form for me, rather than a real flaw - it provides less scope for ruminations by the author, though it allows the narrative to speed up action by hampering the narrator's own opinions.

Also, the illustrations were irksome to the eye, though they were in line with the content of the story.

Overall, a good read, but not outright unputdownable.

message 28: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Confessions of a red neck zombie killing psycho by L.R. Currell Confessions of a red neck zombie killing psycho by L.R. Currell - 3.5/5

Atrocious as the title is, it is a surprisingly well-written thriller-mystery. The premise is very interesting - thrilling, in fact. The zombies are only the background to this exciting story. Buck, Denny and Tammy are running for their lives, trying to escape the zombies, and are only too glad to find a house for a night's rest. Owned and inhabited by two brothers, the trio is overwhelmed, but suspicious - they begin to doubt if they were safer on the road chased by zombies.

The dialogue is very well-written, the chemistry between the two sets of characters - the brothers and the fleeing trio is just right. The atmosphere is sinister, well-maintained for most part, but then it weakens towards the end. The drama builds up the suspense very well. The conclusion is open-ended, hinting at a possible sequel.

A short read at only 45 pages, it is interesting, sinister and exciting. A very good use of the zombie trope to pen a mystery.

message 30: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 60052 comments Mod
You're doing really well Lit Bug! Great review!

message 31: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments :D Thank you! This is my 88th book since Jan :) Of course, I counted short stories and long poems (those going above 150 stanzas)...

message 32: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 60052 comments Mod
Well done! That's fantastic!

message 33: by Liam (new)

Liam (Madbird) Jeez, I thought I was going good with my 52 books this year.

message 34: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments 52 isn't child's play either! It is a really, really good mark.

In case you want to check out the books I haven't posted because it was cumbersome, please go here -

I posted a few posts here from this list, but not all.

message 36: by Lit Bug (last edited Jun 29, 2013 02:14AM) (new)

message 38: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 60052 comments Mod
Lit Bug wrote: "Embassytown by China Miéville Embassytown by China Miéville - 5/5

Review -"

Your link goes straight to the book page Lit Bug, here it is though:

message 39: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Oh, thank you so much Brenda, I didn't notice it at all... :)

message 40: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 60052 comments Mod

message 46: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Women Serial Killers of the 17th Century by Sylvia Perrini Women Serial Killers of the 17th Century (Women Who Kill) by Sylvia Perrini - 3/5

It is difficult to rate this book - there are numerous shortcomings to the effort, as well as some strikingly good points to it. It is good, nay, horrifying. The scale of brutality is enormous, but has a visibly different trend in terms of intention than what we face in today's serial killers.

Perrini, in this very, very short book talks about five women serial killers of the 17 century, all hugely notorious even in their own day when poisoning and murders were rampant, unlike now. Confined to serial killers in Europe, she gives an extremely short, and therefore, unsatisfactory account of these five women who went to extraordinary lengths, either out of a sadistic desire or jealousy or simply as a profession to kill hundreds (yes, hundreds) of people.

All but one used poison as their means to murder. All but one were sane, not psychologically disturbed. Only one was a verified sadist who tortured her victims. All were high-profile cases that raised quite a scandal back then. One of them holds a Guinness Book World Record, unbroken yet, for the maximum number of murders (above 650 victims). None of them were repentant.

One of the good things about this book is that it not only gives an overview of the most scandalized and most horrifying killings, it also gives a sociological context in which these murders happened. Why poison was chosen by four of the five women, and why three prominent businesswomen sold it to their clients with murderous intent had social roots, rather than economic or psychological roots. Often, books on murders fail to address this issue.

Another good thing about this book is an overview of the methods of punishments that were meted out to murderers in that era, and to these women in particular, which sometimes varied from country to country, even for the same mode of punishment.

The book was a major disappointment in the extremely short length of the accounts included, even if it can be excused for including only five case studies, in an era where such transgressions were the norm, rather than exception. No doubt, the reports were scintillating, but too short to derive any sense of having actually read something. A short length, unfortunately, also means little information.

Though this book has very little re-read value, I do not regret reading it at all - if anything else, it has whetted my appetite for other books in the series by the same author featuring women serial killers of the 18th century, and I will perk up at any suggestion of other similar books. And I would definitely recommend this short, half-an-hour read to anyone interested in blood-curdling, spine-chilling accounts of women serial killers centuries ago.

message 47: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 60052 comments Mod
Sounds extremely gruesome Lit Bug!

message 48: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug | 402 comments Yes, it is, and I've withheld the most gruesome aspects yet, so that it doesn't become a spoiler... I just read and completed another serial killers' book today, featuring the ones of our times, our century, and they seem so less gruesome. I guess we live in far better times than we think we do.

message 49: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 60052 comments Mod
Sad really!

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