Saturday, May 1, 2010

Books I read April 2010

The Strugatsky's masterwork and one of my favorite books of all time. This, my 2nd read, was just as amazing, if not more so, than the first. Similarly, I re-read Stanislaw Lem's outstanding essay About the Strugatsky Brother's Roadside Picnic upon completion. Very insightful. I am anxious to start Tale of the Troika.
This early MacDonald mystery pre-dates his Lew Archer mysteries, and since I enjoyed all of those so much, I am endeavoring to read all his non-Archer work. So far I have now read all but two of these and I must say they all fall quite short of the standard he set in the Archer novels. Oh well, two more to go.
Hill's second novel Horns starts off quite well. The first 70 pages or so really got me excited about the main character's transformation. Hill then splits the rest of the novel between back story and the plot thread he wove from the beginning. I like Hill. I liked his first novel, Heart-Shaped Box, I read the hardcover graphic novels for his series Locke & Key, and I really liked his collection of short fiction 20th Century Ghosts. Unfortunately, the remainder of Horns couldn't keep up with the interest he generated in the 1st 70 pages or so. I wasn't bad, it just went downhill after a spectacular start. I'll continue to read Joe's fiction.
What can you say but GENIUS!
I love 19th century fiction and I love the novels of Alexandre Dumas. I have long lamented the dearth of his writings that were available in easily accessible, quality translations. Well over the last few years we have seen a few nice additions to Dumas' available canon. I read the Knight of Maison Rouge a couple years ago and was thrilled to see Modern Library also release Georges, the release of the previously lost The Last Cavalier, and Penguin's release and new translation of Dumas' The Women's War. There is not much to say. If you are a fan, you will love it. It has all the hallmarks of classic Dumas. Swashbuckling, double-crosses, romance, clever interplay of the characters, and, of course, all loosely based around actual events from French history.
Each and every time I read a new book by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky I marvel at how easily they are able to put the reader into a completely foriegn environment. Definitely Maybe is a stellar allegorical tale, deftly and economically told, about the suppression of the individual in Soviet society. Simply remarkable. If you are a fan of challenging, thought-provoking fiction, you need to check out the Strugatsky's.

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