Title: Sea, Swallow Me
Author: Craig Laurance Gidney
Number of Pages: 199 pages
Book Number/Goal: 16/50 for 2011
My Rating: 2.5/5

Jacket Summary: Ancient folklore and modern myth come together in these stories by author Craig Laurance Gidney. Here are found the struggles of a medieval Japanese monk, seduced by a mischievous fairy, and a young slave who finds mystery deep within the briar patch of an antebellum plantation. Gidney offers readers a gay teen obsessed with his patron saint, Lena Horne, and, in the title story, an ailing tourist seeking to escape his troubles at a distant shore, but who never anticipates encountering an African seagod. Rich, poetic, dark and disturbing, these are tales not soon forgotten.

Review: Honestly I wasn't really impressed with this book. There were a few stories I really liked and the rest were just okay. Also, the copy I have is an ARC, so it's got a lot of mistakes, which hopefully were corrected in the final proof (the most annoying one was in the Japanese story, where Amaterasu was misspelled as Amaratsu throughout the story).

Note: My last post here was book 8/50 for 2011. Books 9-15 for me were a reread of the Harry Potter series, so I didn't bother writing reviews. I'm just skipping ahead here.
I'm doing pretty well at keeping track, now that I bought myself a little notebook and joined GoodReads.

I decided on 111 books in 2011. I may change that, as I'm already more than halfway there. List of read books/page count etc. so far under the cut - 59 finished so far. Not necessarily in order of reading - I only listed the month in my notebook until March 29th, not the exact date, so they sort randomly by month. A lot are re-reads, but I count those just the same. Page counts may be inaccurate, most were taken from GR and I know sometimes those editions are listed weirdly... I've sorted the list so far by author, since I don't know the exact dates I finished most of them.

59/111 )

Currently reading:
- Jean K. Baird - Elizabeth Hobart at Exeter Hall - 95/180
- David Eddings - The Elder Gods (Dreamers) - 227/480
- Reginald Hill - Midnight Fugue (Dalziel & Pascoe) - 38/384
Title: The Saga of Grettir the Strong.
Author: Anonymous, trans. G.A. Hight.
Number of Pages: 288.
Genre: Norse saga.
Book Number/Goal: 59 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: The Nibelungenlied.
Author: Anonymous, trans. A.T. Hatto.
Number of Pages: 416.
Genre: Literature.
Book Number/Goal: 60 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: Njal's Saga.
Author: Anonymous, trans. Robert Cook.
Number of Pages: 384.
Genre: Norse saga.
Book Number/Goal: 61 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: Merlin and the Grail.
Author: Robert de Boron.
Number of Pages: 184.
Genre: Literature, Arthurian.
Book Number/Goal: 62 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: The Death of King Arthur (La Mort le Roi Artu).
Author: Anonymous, trans. James Cable.
Number of Pages: 240.
Genre: Literature, Arthurian.
Book Number/Goal: 63 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: Four Ways to Forgiveness.
Author: Ursula Le Guin.
Number of Pages: 320.
Genre: Speculative fiction, short stories.
Book Number/Goal: 64 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.
My list/goals can be found here.

Title: The Machine Gunners.
Author: Robert Westall.
Number of Pages: 185.
Genre: Historical, children's.
Book Number/Goal: 24 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: Azazel.
Author: Isaac Asimov.
Number of Pages: 221.
Genre: Fantasy, short stories.
Book Number/Goal: 25 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: Empire of Bones.
Author: Liz Williams.
Number of Pages: 432.
Genre: Speculative fiction.
Book Number/Goal: 26 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: Feet in Chains.
Author: Kate Roberts.
Number of Pages: 160.
Genre: Welsh Fiction.
Book Number/Goal: 27 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: Have His Carcase.
Author: Dorothy L. Sayers.
Number of Pages: 448.
Genre: Mystery.
Book Number/Goal: 28 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.

Title: Murder Must Advertise.
Author: Dorothy L. Sayers.
Number of Pages: 368.
Genre: Mystery.
Book Number/Goal: 29 of 75 (minimum).
Review: Here.
Title: War Dances
Author: Sherman Alexie
Number of Pages: 256 pages
Book Number/Goal: 68/75 for 2009
My Rating: 2.5/5

This is a collection of short stories and poems linked mainly by the fact that they're about whiny guys. I don't know. I did like a couple of the stories (especially the last one, Salt, and the title story), but the ones that left a bad taste in my mouth really left a bad taste in my mouth and kind of overpower all the rest. The Ballad of Paul Nonetheless was just gross, and I get that he was supposed to be a gross asshat guy, but I don't really need to read a story about a guy who's just wallowing in his assholishness while going "wah, wah, poor me", you know? I could go anywhere on the internet and find a million of them.

Added to that the fact that I'm not a big fan of poetry and these poems didn't do anything to change my mind, and that the writing itself wasn't that great, this was just really not the book for me. I'm glad this wasn't the first thing of his I ever read, otherwise I'd probably write him off and never read anything of his again.
Title: 想北平 Thinking of Beiping
Author: 老舍 (Lao She)
Number of Pages: 2
Genre: Non-fiction; Short Story
Book Number/Goal: 8 of 16 for the year; 2 of 8 for the language requirement
My Rating: 4/5

Review: A couple notes: Lao She (老舍) is not the author's real name, it's a pen name. The Beiping in the title is another name for Beijing. It was called that name from 1928-1949, after which it became Beijing. Beiping (北平) means Peace of the North, or Northern Peace. Beijing (北京) means Northern Capital.

I really liked this short story, because it was told from the point of view of an "old Beijinger" (老北京), a native son of Beijing, so he didn't look at the city the way I look at it. I've lived in Beijing for over a year now, and while I think I appreciate it, I don't see it how somebody who has grown up in the city does. I see the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square as if they are foreign and yet familiar. He sees the smaller things, the small alleyways of his childhood, the wide empty places, the parks, the air one breathes. There's a really childlike feel to the prose, and it's really steeped in a sense of nostalgia and longing. I liked it a lot.
Title: The Bloody Chamber.
Author: Angela Carter.
Number of Pages: 126.
Genre: Short stories.
Book Number/Goal: 6/10 (for the week). List here.

Review: Here.
Title: Tales from Earthsea.
Author: Ursula Le Guin.
Number of Pages: 296.
Genre: Speculative fiction, short stories.
Book Number/Goal: 16/50 from my list.

Review: Here.
Title: Wish I Was Here
Author: Jackie Kay
Number of Pages: 198 pages
Book Number/Goal: 30/75 for 2009
My Rating: 5/5

I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I did Why Don't You Stop Talking, but it's still a really awesome book. I just love the way she writes, her use of language, everything.

As with her previous short story collection, most of these are about queer people (mostly lesbians, though the last story is about gay men), though this time they seem to be mostly not about people of color (only two (IIRC) are specified as being PoC and many are specified as being white, with a few that don't indicate one way or the other).

I think my favorite stories were Wish I Was Here, My Daughter the Fox, and The Mirrored Twins.

Mooch from BookMooch


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