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November 04, 2007

Books I read this Summer 07

Book front cover
Title:
The Night Watch: (Night Watch 1)
Author:
Sergei Lukyanenko
ISBN:
0099489929
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

I was reminded by Lee that I hadn’t reviewed any books lately. This is partly because I haven’t read many but one I can recommend is this book by Sergei Lukyanenko.

Night Watch is the first of 4 books translated from Russian and tells the story of the suppressed conflict between the forces of light and dark from the perspective of the ‘police’ who monitor the vampires and other creatures of the dark who live amongst us. It is a supernatural thriller but doesn’t come across as silly. It may not be art but it is a good read. I’ve never read this type of stuff before but enjoyed it and will read the next ones as they come out in paperback. The next in the series is The Day Watch, then The Twilight Watch, then The Last Patrol.

Night Watch was made into a film in 2004 more… and Day Watch has just finished production, I think.


March 05, 2007

Books I Read in China 2007

MDW (see my blog) bought me this for my birthday – don’t ask, a Gentleman never tells – I’m trying to become a half decent archer you see AND I am now in China, so it seemed an appropriate book to bring. It has the added advantage for the traveller of being small/short at only 100 pages. I just finished it this morning in Beijing.

If you are interested in mysticism, Tai Chi or in Buddhist philosophy, or would like to know how to improve your sporting concentration and performance than this could be for you. Suprisingly for me, the book was written by a German, between the wars, and translated into English in 1953.

If you are an archer looking for some practical tips then you may find this frustrating. However, when I think about some of the top archers I’ve seen/know then perhaps there is something in it, even though they may not recognise the lessons of Herr Doktor Herrigel’s Zen Master, they do practice some of the art.


December 28, 2006

Books I read this Winter 06

Title:
The Queen of the South
Author:
Arturo Perez-Reverte
ISBN:
0330413147
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

I really liked this, I read it over the space of a few days – every time I went into the room I’d left the book in, I picked it up and started reading.

In my ignorance I hadn’t realised that Perez-Reverte wrote more serious novels than the Captain Alatriste books one of which I reviewed in the Summer.

That Teresa – what a woman! What balls! I’ll certainly give his other books a go and can recommend this but you may wish to acquaint yourself with some Spanish invective – what does pinche mean?

Finally, I don’t think I’d like to visit Sinaloa – a bit too dangerous- and when you are sitting on the beach next Summer just imagine what they’re carrying in those speedboats.


Books I read this Winter 06

Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

Well, I finally managed to finish this after many months of trying. Looking back, it probably deserved a more dedication on my part. Certainly, I believe from what others I know have said about the author it should be worthwhile. Nevertheless I felt is was a bit too slow for the first 90% and none of the characters was particularly engaging.. and then the end just rushed up in the last 20 pages and is gone, leaving me unsatisfied. Overall, interesting to read from a structural point of view I guess (for me at least as an untrained reader) but I didn’t gain anything deeper from it.


October 20, 2006

Books I read this Summer(06)

Title:
Saving Fish From Drowning
Author:
Amy Tan
ISBN:
0007216165
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

I hadn’t read The Joy Luck Club so didn’t really know what to expect when MDW passed me this after I’d finished the books I’d taken on Holiday (see Places I’d Rather Be). Well, I enjoyed it mostly. I thought the main story was a bit predictable but the humour level was kept up throughout; the cave episode was hilarious. Although the end dragged on a little it wasn’t enough to ruin the experience.


Books I read this Summer – Smith

Title:
Rating:
1 out of 5 stars

I didn’t manage to get past the first 30 pages before I got to the Lifes too Short stage. It just didn’t engage me in the slightest and the story just didn’t move on fast enough for my liking.

Of course, this could’ve been because I was sat on the tarmac at Athens airport with fuel gushing out of the aircraft’s wing, fire trucks zooming up and no air-con because all the engines were shut down as a precaution .. but I do feel that a good book should’ve been able to keep my attention through all of this.


October 18, 2006

Books I read this Summer(06) – Lewycka

Title:
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (Penguin Essentials)
Author:
Marina Lewycka
ISBN:
0141020520
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

Was this the Captain Corelli of 2006? – amongst my fellow engineers I know I wasn’t the only one to read this. Perhaps it had something to do with the title. Sorry, but there really aren’t (m)any tractors in the story but there is a heavily modified Roller – hey! that is the tractor!

Funny, but in a rather disquieting fashion, not quite sure what sense of humour The Times reviewer has.


Books I read this Summer(06) – Perez–Reverte

Book front cover
Title:
Purity of Blood: The Adventures of Captain Alatriste
Author:
Arturo Perez-Reverte
ISBN:
0753821192
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

If you want a quick read with plenty of sword-play and clear goodies and baddies this could be for you. Captain Alatriste is still the main player but the narrator is who you are likely to be rooting for.
_“How easily he scales the high wall of stone
spurred on by his youth”_
I’ll read the next one when its translated – hopefully while on a plane somewhere.


Books I read this Summer(06) – Akunin

Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

Erast is back in Russia but now in Moscow. Still a good read but I think he’s getting a bit too Bondish for me – he’s just so accomplished it gets a bit wearing. That is one …


Books I read this Summer(06) – McCarthy

Title:
No Country for Old Men
Author:
Cormac McCarthy
ISBN:
033044011X
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

A welcome return to the Wild West (the first book of the author’s I read was Blood Meridian you see). Had me going from the start, the side commentary is really evocative and sets the mood marvellously. I really wanted him to get away with it.


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