Title: Fording the Stream of Consciousness [read in Russian translation]
Author: Dubravka Ugrešić
Book Number/Goal: 111/150

This novel is extremely self-conscious & hilarious in that slightly histerical way. The plot boils down to this: the high Party functionaries of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia organize an international writers' conference, at which several writers are murdered, several manuscripts are stolen, and several interviews are forged, and, oh, one uber-spy is striving for control over all world's literature. Ugrešić casually makes fun of the literary establishment, totalitarian rhetorics, post-colonial rhetorics, feminist discourse, masculine discourse, and pretty much everything else she sees, which makes for a refreshing read.

Title: Technologies of Gender [read in Ukrainian translation]
Author: Teresa de Lauretis
Genre: gender studies
Book Number/Goal: 112/150

An analysis of ways gender is constructed in mass culture texts.

Title: Song of Susannah [Dark Tower VI]
Author: Stephen King
Genre: fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 113/150

7 books is too much even for most skillful narrators. Even most pressing intrigue rapidly devolves into a parody of itself if stretched over hundreds and hundreds of pages. One of the most important questions of the series got answered in this installment, but at this point, I couldn't care less *how* the problem got resolved, just that it would end at last.
Also, why the hell had King decided that bringing himself into the story as Demiurg almighty was a good (or at least not-too-disastrous) idea?

Title: The Morning Star [Shadow of the Templar I]
Author: M. Chandler
Genre: m/m romance, spy novel
Book Number/Goal: 114/150

As the villain tries to create laser swords (or something equally SF-sounding & puzzling), the art thief & the FBI agent pursuing him are forced to cooperate in order to save world peace and democracy (or something). Of course, slash ensues. On the plus side, this novel has more plot than most m/m romances, and some of its dialogues shine & sparkle. But what jumbled sequence of events pass for plot here was not too gripping, and the romance could use some build-up (it just appeared out of the blue in the epilogue, as if in afterthought).

Title: Novalis in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten [read in Russian translation]
Author: Gerhard Schulz
Genre: biography
Book Number/Goal: 115/150
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.
Title: Casanova in Bolzano [read in English translation]
Author: Sándor Márai
Genre: fiction
Number of Pages: 294
Book Number/Goal: 86/150

I think this was meant to be a meditation on ways personal, private freedom can be afforded & kept in a totalitarian state? But the approach seemed quite too simplistic.

Title: "When the pumpkins were in bloom" („Kad su cvetale tikve“) [read in Ukrainian translation]
Author: Dragoslav Mihailović
Genre: fiction
Number of Pages: 136
Book Number/Goal: 87/150

I only took this book up out of idle curiosity as I've never encountered Serbian prose before, and this one is considered a classic? It turned out to be an interesting, if thoroughly creepy read. The narrator is a mob guy, with all the acts of sadistic violence that entails. That is, until his boss, whom he idolizes, rapes his sister. The narrator kills him in revenge, and in doing so, he commits symbolic suicide, I guess, as the boss stood for all he strived to become. Which makes for a very, very strange story of spiritual rebirth XD The narrator's voice is what makes it, though.

Title: Queer Theory [read in Russian translation]
Author: Annamarie Jagose
Genre: non-fiction
Number of Pages: 152
Book Number/Goal: 88/150

A good overview of both queer theory & GLBT rights movements, but the translation was hilariously bad. Like, the word "sex" in "third sex" got translated with a word for "sexual intercourse", not gender - THAT bad. And some passages I could not even figure out.

Title: Fishing for Amber
Author: Ciarán Carson
Genre: fiction
Number of Pages: 360
Book Number/Goal: 89/150

I don't have nearly enough words to convey how fascinated I am with this book, a sprawling, rambling tangle of myths & historical notes & local legends & advice on what to see in Netherlands and Ireland that it is. Carson tries to recreate the meandering way oral storytelling works, I think, and my, does it work. The style is a thing of beauty in and of itself, too; for example, the book starts like this: It was long ago, and long ago it was; and if I'd been there, I wouldn't be here now; if I were here, and then was now, I'd be an old storyteller, whose story might have been improved by time, could he remember it.

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: historical, young adult
Number of Pages: 576
Book Number/Goal: 90/150

This book seemed to be pretty awesome at first (a witty, spunky YA about WW II with Death for a narrator? I was hooked instantly). The style was fresh, and the messages were all I could readily agree with (like the preaching of tolerance, and elucidations on the power of words). But, I think, it took a rapid downward spin somewhere in the second hald, with the style becoming over-wrought, and the messages anvilicious.
potted_music: (Default)
([personal profile] potted_music Aug. 1st, 2009 12:06 am)
Title: Narratology
Author: Wolf Schmidt
Genre: litcrit
Book Number/Goal: 71/150

Title: Persepolis [2 volumes, English translation]
Author: Marjane Satrape
Genre: graphic novel, autobiography
Book Number/Goal: 72/150

This autobiographical coming-of-age story of the Iranian girl in the years following the revolution sure was an interesting read, but just in the way travelogues are interesting. It treats all the cliched topics in all the cliched ways: dictatorships are bad, massacres are bad, the state intruding on the private lives of its citizens is bad... nothing a reader could not have surmised on her own.

Title: Tele Vision
Author: Jacques Lacan
Book Number/Goal: 73/150

I chose it as a Lacan primer because it's quite short, and I had a bilingual French-Russian edition, which allowed me to brush up on my French somewhat. Though this book might be interesting, it's definitely not a place to start reading Lacan, as it explains nothing, referring to some of his established concepts without going into any detail.

Title: Woman in the Dunes [read in Ukrainian translation]
Author: Kobo Abe
Book Number/Goal: 74/150

A man gets kidnapped to help local villagers shovel ever-shifting sands. The tale is Kafkaesque in its mundane horror - not quite so bleak on the surface (which, I think, is a plus), but all the more horrific for it in the long run (for the defeat gets treated like a win).

Title: Очерк истории европейского стиха [read in Russian - Notes on the History of European Verse]
Author: М. Гаспаров [M. Hasparov]
Genre: litcrit
Book Number/Goal: 75/150

Title: Wizard and Glass [the 4th book of the Dark Tower series]
Author: Stephen King
Genre: fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 76/150

I'm pretty torn about this volume. On the one hand, I like King's writing style (audiobooks do bring out how *precise* he is with his words, how effectively he uses assonances & alliterations & stuff), but he doesn't always know when to stop, so many descriptive passages get repetitive & redundant. The plot, a volume-long flashback created for infodumpy purposes, felt like too much of a digression, and could have been much shorter (and, I feel, more powerful for it).

Title: Magic or Madness
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 77/150
Title: Magic Lessons
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 78/150
Title: Magic's Child
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 79/150

Liked the premise of this trilogy: magic users die when they run out of magic, but if they don't use it at all, they go mad. One hell of a choice that is - but the finale felt like an easy way out. The plot never quite grabbed me, and some plot points (like teenage pregnancy - yuck) just plain-out squicked me.

Title: Somebody Killed His Editor
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: mystery, romance
Book Number/Goal: 80/150

For an author writing romace for a mostly female audience, Lanyon sure disses both his genre, target audience AND fellow writers a lot. The protagonist of the novel is a middle-aged writer stuck at the writers' retreat, spouting insults at his co-attendants & investigating some murders. This constant stream of insults might be perceived as an attempt at creating a flawed narrator, but this made him too unlikeable for me to really care about.

Title: Palimpsest
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Genre: urban fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 81/150

Loved it to the point of imposing the book on several friends. Beautifully written, and with a great premise - it's an urban fantasy in a sense that a city is the protagonist, a sexually-tansmitted dream-city. I don't get what purpose the non-linear narration was serving though.

Title: The Book of Dreams
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Genre: fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 82/150

The tale of shifting identity, much like Palimpsest; beautifully written too. It's a tale of a woman from mediaeval Japan living through a number of myths in her dreams (Osiris&Isis, Oedipus Rex as told by the Sphinx, etc.). The only downside is, I'm not big on the essentialist idea of womanhood pushed forward in this novella, as some points (predestination, all-women-are-one, etc.) make me uncomfortable.

Title: Lawrence of Arabia
Author: Alistair MacLean
Genre: biography
Book Number/Goal: 83/150

I had high hopes for this one, as I adore both MacLean's prose and T.E. Lawrence, but it turned out to be a huge let-down. It's a simple retelling of Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, but without the gorgeous descriptive passages and sharp observations that made the latter book such a rewarding read.

Title: Микола Лукаш. Від Бокаччо до Аполлінера [re-read, read in Ukrainian - the anthology of translations by Mykola Lukash from Boccaccio to Apollinaire]
Author: various
Genre: poetry
Book Number/Goal: 84/150

The ouevre of this legendary Ukrainian translator is interesting on so many points - the way some things, which would have got censored in original writing, could be smuggled into print via translations, etc. What grabbed me the most on this re-read though is how, while rendering most European meters masterfully, he fails with Japanese poetry. His failure is spectacular in its own way, as he is the only Ukrainian translator (that I know of) who tried recreating the wordplays, but such wordplays become just puns & good clean fun in translations, which misses the point of most poems.

Title: Sakura Gari [2 volumes, English translation]
Author: Watase Yuu
Genre: yaoi, historical, manga
Book Number/Goal: 85/150

Gave it a try because the art is pretty, and the Taishou Era (which this story is set in) is not often used in manga, but the plot is nothing to write home about. It features some of the most unlikeable characters I have ever encountered, as well as the good old "rape is how love is spelled in Japanese" trope.
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 )
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 )
Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Jane Austen
Genre: romance-gothic mixture?
Book Number/Goal: 56/150

insta-reaction )

Title: The Best American Poetry 2005
Author: ed. by Paul Muldoon & David Lehman
Book Number/Goal: 57/150

insta-reaction )

58/150 - four Gothic-themed stories that I'm counting as one book.

The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde; Sarrasine, by Honore de Balzac; The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving; The Camp of the Dog, by Algernon Blackwood )

Title: Maus [2 volumes]
Author: Art Spiegelman
Genre: biography
Book Number/Goal: 59/150

insta-reaction )

Title: The Wisdom of Father Brown
Author: G.K. Chesterton
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 60/150

insta-reaction )
Title: Dangerous Ground [Adrien English Mysteries, volume 2]
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 50/150


Title: The Hell You Say [Adrien English Mysteries, volume 3]
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 51/150


Title: Death of the Pirate King [Adrien English Mysteries, volume 4]
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 52/150

insta-reaction, major spoilers for the romace plotline )

Title: Dark Horse
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 53/150

insta-reaction )

Title: Книга Буття, Глава четверта [Ukrainian]
Author: Оксана Забужко
Genre: sci-fi
Book Number/Goal: 54/150

insta-reaction )

Title: The Poetry Chains of Dominic Luxford
Author: various
Genre: poetry
Book Number/Goal: 55/150

insta-reaction )
potted_music: (Default)
([personal profile] potted_music Jun. 6th, 2009 11:38 pm)
Title: Achter de spiegel: film en fictie [Russian translation]
Author: Anton Haakman
Genre: non-fiction; essays on movies
Book Number/Goal: 47/150

Title: The Demon's Lexicon
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Genre: YA fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 48/150

insta-reaction )

Title: Fatal Shadows [Adrien English Mysteries, volume 1]
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 49/150

insta-reaction - yay, at last I've found my dream book with glbt characters! )
potted_music: (bookz)
([personal profile] potted_music Jun. 3rd, 2009 06:11 pm)
Title: La Vie en Rose [English translation, 1 volume]
Author: Yamada Sakurako
Genre: yaoi manga
Book Number/Goal: 44/150

insta-reaction )

Title: Letters by Thomas Mann [Russian translation]
Author: Thomas Mann
Book Number/Goal: 45/150

insta-reaction )

Title: Cryptonomicon
Author: Neal Stephenson
Genre: historical thriller/sci-fi
Book Number/Goal: 46/150

insta-reaction )
Name: [personal profile] potted_music
Goal: 150 books read by 31 December 2009
Definition of "book": re-reads, manga and graphic novels do count.
Books read so far: 43/150 )


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