Title: On the Other Hand, Death [2d Donald Strachey mystery novel]
Author: Richard Stevenson
Genre: mystery, m/m romance
Book Number/Goal: 106/150

The plot of this novel pretty much lagged & stumbled rather than moved, but it features a charming elderly lesbian couple of retired teachers as supporting characters, which ensured my eternal devotion to the author. The main characters are interesting, well drawn-out & with realistic flaws too.

Title: Wolves of Calla [Dark Tower V]
Author: Stephen King
Genre: fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 107/150

Better plotted than most of the previous novels, but the frantic search for signs the characters indulge in reminds me of paranoid conspiracy theories rather than actual, y'know, plot developments :)

Title: Український патріот з династії Габсбургів [Ukrainian - "Ukrainian Patriot from the Habsburg Dynasty"]
Author: Терещенко Ю., Осташко Т.
Genre: biography
Book Number/Goal: 108/150

A biography of Archduke Wilhelm of Austria, who's definitely one of my favourite characters in Ukrainian history. Read wikipedia, seriously - this guy's life reads like a spy novel, in good biographer's hands, that is. While I'm immensely happy that his biography had at last appeared in Ukrainian, I wasn't quite happy with it: it's too impersonal, never gives any human touches & is written in Soviet historiographic style. On the plus side, Wilhelm's autobiography & poetry are included.

Title: Mythologies [read in Russian translation]
Author: Roland Barthes
Genre: cultural history?
Book Number/Goal: 109/150

A collection of essays in which Barthes explicates ideological messages out of all sorts of cultural artifacts, from politicians' photos to detergent ads. A cool read.

Title: 120 сторінок Содому. Сучасна світова лесбі/гей/бі література. Квір-антологія [Ukrainian - "120 pages of Sodom. Contemporary LGB literature. Queer anthology"]
Author: various
Genre: anthology
Book Number/Goal: 110/150

This might be the book of the year for me. It's the first anthology of such sort on post-Soviet territories, and I'm immensely happy that this happened in Ukraine, that there are people courageous enough to arrange and print such a book despite it's presentation nearly getting prohibited and then being stormed by rampant homophobes. The texts are a mixed bag, which is always the case with anthologies, I guess, but there were some truly brilliant ones. And as a cultural event, it's priceless.
Title: Honey & Honey [WIP, 19 chapters, read in English translation]
Author: Takeuchi Sachiko
Genre: yuri, autobiography
Book Number/Goal: 91/150

An autobiographical narrative purported to explain the finer points of the lesbian lifestyle (TM) to unsuspecting straight readers. I don't get the point though - I mean, what's there to explain? The whole story ranged from boring to embarassing, like listening to a couple discussing their relationship loudly in public transport.

Title: Pumpkin & Mayonnaise [WIP, 5 chapters, read in English translation]
Author: Kiriko Nananan
Genre: drama
Book Number/Goal: 92/150

A story of a girl supporting her unemployed striving musician boyfriend. Refreshingly realistic for manga, which often leans to more outlandish plots. Will make sure to read on as the new chapters get scanlated.

Title: I Spy Something Bloody
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: m/m romance
Book Number/Goal: 93/150

One of the more forgettable works, with no plot to speak of.

Title: Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison [read in Ukrainian translation]
Author: Michel Foucault
Genre: cultural history
Book Number/Goal: 94/150

Part of my attempt to read up on cultural history classics.

Title: Романи Куліша
Author: Віктор Домонтович
Genre: biography/drama
Book Number/Goal: 95/150

The title plays on the double meaning of the word "Романи", which in Ukrainian can denote either "novels" or "romantic relationships", thus providing both an intimate & a critical look on Kulish, one of the classical Ukrainian realist writers. This book jumps from close reading of Kulish's novels to fictionalized accounts of his personal life with startling nonchalance; makes me sorry that there are so few such biographies in Ukrainian literature :(

Title: Comrade Loves of the Samurai [read in English translation]
Author: Ihara Saikaku
Genre: drama
Book Number/Goal: 96/150

Several Saikaku's m/m-centered short stories which I had not, to the best of my knowledge, read before. Makes me wonder whether he was familiar with the Decameron?

Title: Reading Lolita in Tehran
Author: Azar Nafisi
Genre: autobiography
Book Number/Goal: 97/150

A sort of autobiography, or the biography of an era, as told through reading experiences - which is all sorts of awesome. Azar Nafisi tells a story of a reading club she had organized for her students in the wake of the Iranian revolution, recounting the girls' experiences and her country's history through the way her acquaintances read books. "Lolita" pops up in the title because she draws parallels between the way Humbert robs Lolita of her personal narrative (as we only see her through his 1st-person POV) and the way Iranian women get shaped by the image the rulers have of them as Moslem women. An interesting, if terrifying read.

Title: An Artist of the Flowating World
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Genre: drama, historical
Book Number/Goal: 98/150

This follows the life of a once-succesful Japanese painter in the aftermath of the WW II. Liked the rambling, roaming style, and the way some events, like the bruning of paintings, crop up again & again, shaping the narrative.

Title: Cards on the Table
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: m/m romance, murder mystery
Book Number/Goal: 99/150

Forgettable to the point I had to open the file to know what it was about - not even a week after I've read it!

Title: Dangerous Ground
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: m/m romance
Book Number/Goal: 100/150

Lanyon has once stated that soldiers & FBI agents are hot in the genre, and this novella is his attempt at exploiting this trend. If this is your thing, this might be an enjoyable read, but there's little besides the trend there.

Title: Snowball in Hell
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: m/m romance, murder mystery
Book Number/Goal: 101/150

A piece set in LA during WW II, dealing with the theme of homophobia (both internalized & coming from the world at large) first and foremost. One of the better Lanyon's works, if depressing.

Title: The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: m/m romance, murder mystery
Book Number/Goal: 102/150

A cool murder mystery with a healthy dollop of Gothic sensibility - my cup of tea exactly!

Title: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
Author: Erving Goffman
Genre: cultural history
Book Number/Goal: 103/150

An enlightening read; also, surprising how fine a line between fiction and non-fiction is for classical works of sociology/cultural history XD

Title: Kant's Aesthetics [read in Russian]
Author: Afasizhev M.
Genre: philosophy
Book Number/Goal: 104/150

I usually have hard times getting into philosophy treatises, as they seem too abstract to me; tracing the impact some ideas had on cultural axioms up to our times is fun though :) For example, I'm pretty sure that the idea that true art (TM) should be a selfless act not to be paid for (to the extent that said selflesness becomes one of its defining characteristics) was to a large extent made popular by Kant.

Title: Death Trick [1st volume of Donald Strachey murder mysteries]
Author: Richard Stevenson
Genre: murder mystery
Book Number/Goal: 105/150

Read it after Lanyon, so couldn't help comparing the two. Stevenson wins for portraying the gay scene (his characters do not just float in space! they interact with other people, some of whom are gay too!) & avoiding the much-dread "true love heals all" trope, but his plots seem less tight than those of the better Lanyon novels.
taelle: (Default)
([personal profile] taelle Jul. 30th, 2009 02:54 am)

Title: Прогулки по Парижу [Parisian Walks], read in Russian
Борис Носик [Boris Nosik]
Genre: travel
Book Number/Goal: 64/175

The author is a Russian travel writer living in Paris. He obviously knows the city well and has a lot of interesting details to tell, but I disliked his bias for Orthodox Christianity and against any revolutions and his propensity for self-aggrandizement.

Title: Four and Twenty Blackbirds
Author: Cherie Priest
Genre: thriller
Book Number/Goal: 65/175

The protagonist of this book had a number of strange things happening around her when she was a child, and when she grew up she finally had to find what it all meant. I love the type of thrillers which deals with someone dealing with family mysteries, and this is quite well done, with an engaging heroine.

Title: Everyday Life in Florence in Dante’s Times
Author:  Pierre Antonetti
Genre: History
Book Number/Goal: 66/175

The Everyday Life series include books of varying quality, but this one is well organized and clearly written.

Title: MAN, OH, MAN! Writing M/M Fiction for Kinks and Ca$h
Author:  Josh Lanyon
Genre: writing
Book Number/Goal: 67/175


Not many new writing advices for me, but an interesting look at the genre/

Title: Dead in the Morning
Author:  Margaret Yorke
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 68/175

A nosy college don deals with a murder in a family mansion; a typical cozy mystery, which was just what I wanted.

Title: In Search of London
Author:  Henry Morton
Genre: travel
Book Number/Goal: 69/175

Travels around London in early 1950s — both a travel guide and a journey back in time told by a man with a lively interest in people and an eye for description. I liked this book a lot.

Title: A Night in the Lonesome October/Doorways in the Sand
Author:  Roger Zelazny
Genre: fantasy, SF
Book Number/Goal: 70/175

Two novels in one book; the first is a fantasy of a kind, a story of some Halloween ritual told by a dog. The second is a SF mystery and the protagonist, though human, seems intriguing and entertaining. Liked both books

Title: Шик, блеск, красота [Chic and Beauty], read in Russian
Марина Серова [Marina Serova]
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 71/175

A female PI investigates a murder at a fashion show. The writing is flat, and the protagonist seems incompetent.

Title: Convergence Culture
Author:  Henry Jenkins
Genre: cultural history
Book Number/Goal: 72/175

This book shows how today’s culture works across many types of media and how the audience participates in all this. Lots of things to think about.

Title: The Partner
Author:  John Grisham
Genre: thriller
Book Number/Goal: 73/175

A lawyer who embezzled 90 million dollars from his firm is found and brought home for trial, but things aren’t what they seem to be. Clever and entertaining; I read this in 3 hours in a train. Interesting how the author found necessary to give at least _some_ punishment to the protagonist.

Title: Murder on the Menu
Author:  Beverly Byrne
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 74/175

Not a cozy mystery I expected, but a man’s journey into his memories with a murder as more or less a pretext/starting point.

Title: Calahari Typing School for Men
Author:  Alexander McCall Smith
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 75/175

Mma Ramotswe has competition in business, mma Makutsi starts a new venture and meets a man. Everything ends well, of course, and keeps getting me into a good mood.

potted_music: (bookz)
([personal profile] potted_music Jul. 1st, 2009 05:54 pm)
Title: Lady Susan
Author: Jane Austen
Book Number/Goal: 66/150

insta-reaction )

Title: Hourou Musuko [English scanlation up to ch.73 = ~9 volumes?]
Author: Shimura Takako
Book Number/Goal: 67/150

insta-reaction )

Title: What is Cultural History?
Author: Peter Burke
Book Number/Goal: 68/150

insta-reaction )

Title: City of Glass [the 3d book of the Mortal Instruments trilogy]
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 69/150

insta-reaction )

Title: Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M for Kinks and Ca$h
Author: Josh Lanyon
Book Number/Goal: 70/150

insta-reaction )
taelle: (Default)
([personal profile] taelle Jun. 27th, 2009 02:46 am)
Title: Orientalism
Author: Edward Said [read in Russian translation]
Genre: erm... cultural studies?
Book Number/Goal: 59/175

The most useful books turn out to be those which make you exclaim "But of course!" and "Isn't it evident?" while reading, and this is just such a book. I mean, isn't it evident that no study of culture different from ours can be free of our own cultural prejudices and influences? And it all goes from there. And makes me want to apply Said's ideas to many other subjects. And I am so bad at reviewing.

Title: Death by Cashmere
Author: Sally Goldenbaum
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 60/175

Your average cozy mystery about a group of women gathering round a knitting shop in a small town. Good enough if you like cozy mysteries; also, I liked that the victim was treated with respect and shown in all aspects of her life even though initially he seemed to be a 'fast woman' or something like that.

Title: Fire and Hemlock
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Genre:  fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 61/175

First of all, I like books where characters read books. Maybe it's just me and my existence in the bookworld and connecting to people through books. Second, I like stories about recovering memory. Third, I was vaguely alarmed by a story about a girl's friendship with a grown man: purely innocent friendship, but such stories made me wonder about the man's motives etc. However, I was wrong: the memory of the girl's life shows that he wasn't all-important in her growing up - too much of family troubles, school, friends, sports etc., and also, the book does analyze the hero's motives in staying friends with a little girl. An interesting book, but somehow my impression of it is a bit in pieces, like this entry - maybe I should reread and think a bit more.

Title: The Horse and His Boy
Author: C. S. Lewis
Genre: fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 62/175

I should have read all the Narnia books when I was a child: I liked the ones I read then. This one... is dubious on many points, from the contrast between  noble North and unpleasant South (really, the only decent Southern person seems to be the tomboyish heroine, and even her main plot function apparently is to reassess the boy hero, forget her pride and understand his worthiness) to the flat nature of the hero's growth. The talking horses are much better, however: there are also two of them, boy and girl, but the 'boy horse's growth and development is more vivid, the gender dynamics are trickier and the horses, unlike humans, do not end marrying each other.

Title: Эта странная жизнь [This Strange Life], read in Russian
Author: Даниил Гранин [Daniil Granin]
Genre: biography
Book Number/Goal: 63/175

This is a life story of a biologist who through all his life kept notes of how much time he spent at which task, and generally developed a system of accounting and planning for his life. Not much of a biography, actually: the author was mostly interested in the planning aspect and everything else is too sketchy. Pity: I would've liked more of how it worked in RL and less of the book author's ponderings on the nature of time. Interesting subject, pompous writer.

Title: The Secret History of Moscow
Author: Ekaterina Sedia
Genre: urban fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 61/150

insta-reaction of the rec nature )

Title: The Devil's Dictionary
Author: Ambrose Bierce
Genre: satire
Book Number/Goal: 62/150

insta-reaction )

Title: Poetics
Author: Aristotle
Genre: classic literature
Book Number/Goal: 63/150

insta-reaction )

Title: The Culture of Spontaneity: Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America [read in Ukrainian translation]
Author: Daniel Belgrad
Genre: cultural history
Book Number/Goal: 64/150

insta-reaction )

Title: Війна і слово. Мілітарна парадигма літератури соціалістичного реалізму [War and Word. The Military Paradign in Socialist Realism Literature - in Ukrainian]
Author: Iryna Zakharchuk [Ірина Захарчук]
Genre: litcrit
Book Number/Goal: 65/150

insta-reaction )


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