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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated
Charles Darwin
Progress: 158/346 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Plasma physics
R.A. Cairns
Progress: 30/244 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 144/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages
Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being
Ted Hughes
Progress: 478/517 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 1118 out of 1344 pages.

The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, John Jowett, Gary Taylor

Monthly target update: So far behind schedule it's gonna be difficult to catch up :-(

Reading progress update: I've read 108 out of 272 pages.

Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics) - Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad

Amy Foster.
The rural English setting reminds me of Thomas Hardy!

Reading progress update: I've read 96 out of 272 pages.

Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics) - Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad

Youth: A Narrative
A framed narrative, that is; Conrad had a thing for framed narratives it seems.

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 272 pages.

Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics) - Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad

The Noble Savage thing is being laid on with a trowel.

Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 272 pages.

Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics) - Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad

Running arms to the natives in the South Seas.

Storm Front, Jim Butcher

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher

Philip Marlowe pastiche mixed with what the author himself says is a hodge-podge of genuine magical practices mixed together. This is unfortunate because hard-boiled detectives are not terribly interesting these days unless they bring something new to the game. It was obvious that the new thing was meant to be the magic, but in turn that brings nothing interesting either through neither being an original take on how it could work, nor a detailed exploration of what if some genuine belief system really worked. The mystery also had predictable elements. The saving grace was the protracted denouement that dispensed with the wise-cracks and got on with an exciting show-down.

 

This is a debut novel and I've been told Butcher improves (variously between books 4 and 7 of this series) which is projected to last for 20 volumes. I think it's more than 3/4 of the way there already. My feeling is that the climax of this book made up for a lot of the previous sins and I would definitely read more, though I'm inclined to try one of his other series to see if he really has got better with practice. On this showing, Malcolm Pryce's Louis Knight series is a better modern pastiche (or send-up) of the hard-boiled detective genre and Stross's Laundry Files or Lukyanenko's Watch series are both hugely more original urban fantasies.

Reading progress update: I've read 136 out of 346 pages.

Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated - Charles Darwin

Sea-sickness, anti-slavery sentiments and many an invertebrate.

Reading progress update: I've read 239 out of 307 pages.

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher

Talking of Storm Fronts, I have one approaching from the south west - how soon 'til I start hearing thunder?

Reading progress update: I've read 238 out of 307 pages.

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher

Oh noes! My early prediction turned out true!

Reading progress update: I've read 202 out of 307 pages.

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher

Serviceable, at best

Reading progress update: I've read 130 out of 307 pages.

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher

I'm not quite seeing what all the fuss is about, so far. The mystery is progressing slowly and the concept seems simply to be, mix cliches from two genres and hope no-one notices the lack of originality with regard to either.

Reading progress update: I've read 36 out of 100 pages.

Hero And Leander - Christopher Marlowe

Hero deals with her chastisement for loss of chastity by officiating at other people's weddings.

Reading progress update: I've read 125 out of 346 pages.

Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated - Charles Darwin

Francis has maximised the personal and put in few scientific letters from the Beagle voyage; this is inconvenient for my purposes.

Reading progress update: I've read 34 out of 307 pages.

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher

What if Philip Marlowe was a wizard working in Chicago?

The Nightmare Stacks, Charles Stross

The Nightmare Stacks (A Laundry Files Novel) - Charles Stross

The gazillionth Laundry File confirms that the success of its predecessors depended heavily on the voice of Bob Howard by again not using it. Instead we get Howard-lite in the form of newbie vampire and Laundry recruit, Alex. Alex is the kind of nervous, out of his depth nerd Bob was way back in the mists of time, without the wit or distinctive turns of phrase. This makes the first half of the book a little dull. Circa p200 however, things start to go crazy, the viewpoint widens and war breaks out. After that it's a gallop all the way to the end.

Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 307 pages.

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher

This Dresden fellow is a bit of a sexist git - one of those sexist gits who dress it up as "old fashioned" and "gentlemanly".