September’s Reading List of Doom

Posted 1 September, 2015 by Michael Kitto in Literature / 9 Comments

It turns out I have way too many books on my reading list that I need to get read in the month of September. I do not know if I will be able to complete them and I know I will be distracted with other books but I thought I would share a whole list of different books waiting for me. A lot of these books are books from the library or just books I have agreed to read as part of a buddy read or a read-along. I am excited about many of the books I am going to be reading but this TBR is just beyond ridiculous. Let us see how many I do complete.

sept TBR 1

  • Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (currently reading)
  • Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (library book & currently reading)
  • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (translated by Simon Pare) (in real-life book club book for September)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (re-read and BookTube read-along)
  • Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (library book & BookTube read-along)

sept TBR 2

  • The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (translated by Ken Liu) (potential buddyread with Riv)
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (library book)
  • Quiet by Susan Cain (audiobook)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Literary Exploration Goodreads group)
  • The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworth (library book)

sept TBR 3

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (library book)
  • Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan (translated by Heather Lloyd) (potential buddyread with Time to Read!)
  • Chess by Stefan Zweig (translated by Anthea Bell) (potential buddyread with Time to Read!)
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (translated by Ann Goldstein) (in real-life book club book for October)
  • The Parrots by Filippo Bologna (translated by Howard Curtis)

I know I am not going to complete all these books, but I will try. If you are interested in buddyreading any of these, please let me know and I shall see what I can do.

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? 31th August 2015

Posted 31 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in What are you Reading / 2 Comments

It’s Monday, What are you Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey. I thought I’d join in with this meme as a way to be more consistent with my posting schedule, the idea is to post regularly. As I treat this blog as a book journal I thought it might be nice to have this kind of information documented.

Satin IslandSatin Island by Tom McCarthy

MEET U. – CORPORATE ANTHROPOLOGIST secreted in the basement of a large consultancy. U. spends his time toiling away at a great, epoch-defining public project which no one, least of all its own creators, understands. Besieged by data, confronted at every turn by the fact of his own redundancy, U. grows obsessed with the images – oil-spills, roller-bladers heading nowhere over streets that revolutionaries once tore up, zombies on parade – which the world and all its veil-like screens bombard him with on a daily basis.

Is there a plot at work behind the veil? Is it buffering a portal to the technological divine? Who killed the parachutist in the news? And what’s this got to do with South Pacific Cargo Cults? U.’s disconnected notes from underground in fact amount to an impassioned, integrated vision – of disintegration. Satin Island is a book that captures our out-of-joint times like no other.

Satin Island is long listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize.


My Reading LifeMy Reading Life by Bob Carr

Welcome to my library.
Dog-eared paperbacks falling to pieces.
Second-hand books from the stores and barrows of four continents.
Modern first editions, some inscribed …

In My Reading Life, a personal investigation into the nature of democracy, dictatorship, decency and the hardwired human condition, Bob Carr shares his profound love of books and reading – books you’ve never heard of, books you’ve always wanted to read, books you will rediscover afresh. Here are the essential clues to devouring Tolstoy, Proust, Flaubert, Solzhenitsyn and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

From the social comedies of Anthony Powell and Patrick White and the tragedies of Sophocles and Shakespeare, to the twentieth century’s darkest moment – Auschwitz – powerfully recounted by Primo Levi in If This Is a Man, Carr invites us to discover the most important testaments to the highs and lows of human nature. He discovers, through his great love of the written word, that decency can survive the greatest tests, giving us all cause for hope.

The Little Paris BookshopThe Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (Translated by Simon Pare) *

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

Check out my reading stats from last week thanks to Literally.

* Books part of my reading challenge for 2015; re-reads and more books in translation

What Are You Reading?

Monthly Review – August 2015

Posted 31 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

Motherless BrooklynAs most people know, last month I was feeling very stressed about work and I found it was really affecting my reading. I am pleased to say that this month my reading was better than average and this is thanks to the BookTubeAThon. If you are not aware, I am a BookTuber as well as a blogger and I have been creating videos most of the year in an effort to improve myself. I found it has built confidence and really helped my ability to articulate all my bookish thoughts. I hope it might help with all thoughts, but only time will tell. BookTubeAThon is a week long readathon where people in the BookTube community come together to read and complete challenges.

This event happened in the first week of August from the 3rd to the 9th. I was unsure if I should take part in the readathon but decided I need to push myself a little bit and created my TBR video in preparation for the week. While one of the challenges was to complete seven book for the week (which I failed) I think it did a world of good. I also managed to finish six books in the week. The first book I read was Mislaid by Nell Zink which I found problematic, I did talk a bit about my issues in my BookTubeAThon Vlog video, so I will not go into too much details here and you can wait for my review (I am very behind so might take a while) for that. The next book I read was Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico by Javier Marías, which was translated by Esther Allen. Now this was for a challenge were a read a book without letting go of it (which is a stupid challenge) but obviously I needed something quick. I am not sure who recommended this novella so I cannot thank them but this was an amazing read. It explored some interesting ideas of translations, and the relationship between the translator and everyone else. This was written in Spanish, translated into English and it talked about a Spanish translator, which gave it a very meta feel.

After that, I read Where I’m Reading From by Tim Parks and this book is different than I expected, I thought it was a memoir about reading but it turned out to be a collection of essays. I also finished another non-fiction book on audiobook; The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo which just reminds me I want to read so many more books on psychology. This book sparked a blog post recently too. I then read In Watermelon Sugar, the first of three books I read as part of a Richard Brautigan read-along for the month, and after that was an espionage novel called Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon and these were all the book I managed to read for BookTubeAThon. The last book would have been Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem but I got so sucked into this novel, I wanted to take my time and savour all it; it ended up being my favourite for the month.

This readathon was a lot of fun; I read a decent amount of books, even if I did not complete all the challenges. It really got be back into reading, and I managed to keep a decent amount of momentum for the rest of August.  The next book I did complete was The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, which was for a buddy read. I do not know if I am any good at buddy reading but it is fun to have someone to talk to about a particular book; it also makes it a more social activity. For my in-real-life book club we had to read The Green Road by Anne Enright and that was recently long listed for the Man Booker Prize. I really enjoyed the way Enright took fragments of each person’s life and combined it into this domestic drama; some people in the book club had a bit of a problem with that style of writing but for me it just worked.

I have already mentioned In Watermelon Sugar but I also read a collection of poetry call The Pill Verse the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan. I like his poetry style; they are short poems that often pack a big punch. I then read Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan to finish off my Brautigan read-along, I plan to read more of his books in the future but this was a great introduction to this author.

I then went onto a bit of a non-fiction kick when I read Bonk by Mary Roach, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day, Postmodernism: A Short Introduction by Christopher Butler and My Reading Life by Bob Carr. All very different books but I am starting to love non-fiction books and I think books like Bonk and Postmodernism: A Short Introduction are good ways to do that. Mary Roach is a wonderful writer and I think I have found an example of the writer I would like to become in her book. I will have to practice more and read everything Mary Roach has written but it is nice to have a goal. Also Felicia Day’s memoir talked a lot about goals and failures so Never Weird was really helpful in that aspect.

The last novel I read this month was the final book in Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series, Dexter is Dead; I have been reading these books all my reading life and it is a little sad that the series is ended. Lindsay’s writing style is not that strong but he helped me get into reading. At one point I did want to write like him, I love the inner struggle of Dexter and the moral questions that are explored but the series was a bit of a hit or miss. However there is a real sense of nostalgia going back to those books for me, and this is one of the few series that I have actually completed.

That was my reading for the month of August; I am very pleased with my progress. You might have also known I have fully migrated over to Knowledge Lost and am now blogging about more than books. I hope to catch up on my reviews (I think I have 30 to write) but I might do some mini reviews. My goal is to explore more than just literature on my blog and on my YouTube channel. It is weird to think I have become addicted to YouTube but I think it has been great for me. Next month I plan to read Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, Satin Island by Tom McCarthy, Choke by Chuck Palahniuk and reread The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. There are so many other books I want to read but lets see how I go. Let me know what your August was like in the comments below.

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Smoke by Ivan Turgenev

Posted 27 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in Classic, Russian Lit Project / 2 Comments

Smoke by Ivan TurgenevTitle: Smoke (Goodreads)
Author: Ivan Turgenev
Translator: Michael Pursglove
Published: Alma Books, 1867
Pages: 256
Genres: Classic
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Set in Baden-Baden, a small spa town in the foothills of the black forest, in the south west of Germany, near the border of France and Switzerland. Grigory Mikhailovich Litvinov has arrived in the town after spending years in the west; here he plans to meet up with his fiancée Tatyana. While there, he bumps into Irina an old flame, who is now married to a prominent aristocrat General Valerian Vladimirovitch Ratmirov. This chance meeting derails all Girgory’s plans for the future and sends his life into turmoil. Smoke is a melancholy novel of an impossible romance and an apogee of Ivan Turgenev’s later novels.

I know what my wife would say, this is a typical Russian novel about a man that has a fiancée that has waited for him all these years while he was out west but then an old flame turns up and he doubts his relationship. This is a common trope in classic Russian literature but this is also autobiographical for Ivan Turgenev. At the time of writing this novel, Turgenev was living in Baden-Baden to be near his lover Opera singer Madame Viardot. Creepily, he moved next door the singer and her husband. His relationship with Madame Viardot turned into a lifelong affair that resulted in Turgenev never marrying, although not sure what her husband thought of it all.

Smoke is a satirical novel aimed to highlight the problems Ivan Turgenev found with mother Russia. The conservatives are unwilling to change and adapt to the help modernise Russia, while he believed that the revolutionaries were glorifying a Slav mysticism, which we all know as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. With one novel, Turgenev managed to alienate the majority of Russia in one hit; the book even sparked a heated feud with fellow writer Fyodor Dostoevsky.

While this satirical exposé into his fellow countrymen was met with a lot of criticism within Russia, Smoke was still published in the March 1867 issue of The Russian Messenger. The Russian Messenger is one of the best Russian literary magazines during the 19th century publishing the majority of the great pieces from this country. Smoke may not be the best Ivan Turgenev novel to start with but it was an interesting book to read none the less. The amount of debate it sparked was fascinating to explore and I believe Smoke holds a well-deserved spot in the Russian canon.

Movie Review: Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Posted 25 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in Film & Television / 0 Comments

Cinema ParadisoTitle: Cinema Paradiso
Released: 1988
Giuseppe Tornatore
StarsJacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, Leopoldo Trieste, Marco Leonardi
Genre: Drama

Italian masterpiece Cinema Paradiso tells the story of the life of fictional film director Salvatore Di Vita. This is often seen as an example of nostalgic post-modernism, exploring the evolution of cinema in the form of a coming of age story. Writer and Director Giuseppe Tornatore has spoken out as saying that Cinema Paradiso was his eulogy to the death of cinema, however after the success of the movie he never mentioned this again.

The 1988 movie is set in the small Sicilian town of Giancaldo where Salvatore (Toto) Di Vita grows up. He befriends the local film projectionist Alfredo and the movie follows this development through the ages of cinema. The theme of censorship plays a big part of the movie, often depicting scenes where the local priest would watch the movies prior to release in order to remove all kissing scenes or anything else that is considered inappropriate. This is in a time where the whole town came together to watch a movie and get the latest news. So there was not much choice in what to see and with the whole family there it needed to be appropriate for all ages. However this does spark many debates on the necessity of censorship and one day I hope to do a blog post on the Hays Code that nearly destroyed America cinema as well as the Legion of Decency, an organisation that would boycott any movie they deemed inappropriate.

While Cinema Paradiso likes to take a hard look at the censorship, it does not take itself too seriously. Stand out scene for this was when a kissing scene finally makes the screen and the priest in an outrage says he would not watch this pornographic movie. Despite the fact that he has spent many hours watching all these movies in the past. As well as looking at censorship I could not over look the nostalgic value of this movie. Depicting scenes from many great movies including; The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Carmela (1942), The Outlaw (1943), It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) and so much more. I am no expert in classic cinema but I really enjoyed the nostalgic approach found within the movie.

I have never seen this movie before and I feel a little shame to admit this. In the future I plan to watch more of the movies found on the 1001 Movies to Watch Before You Die list and blog about them all. Who knows, I might actually get a chance to watch them all. I know I am just a beginner when it comes to critically analysing movies but I am looking forward to seeing the progress I make in the future. I have not talked about the acting or the dramatic use of lighting in the review, I may revisit this film in the future. If you have never seen Cinema Paradiso and are a fan of cinema I highly recommend getting a copy as soon as possible.

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? 24th August 2015

Posted 24 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in What are you Reading / 0 Comments

It’s Monday, What are you Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey. I thought I’d join in with this meme as a way to be more consistent with my posting schedule, the idea is to post regularly. As I treat this blog as a book journal I thought it might be nice to have this kind of information documented.

dexter-is-deadDexter Is Dead by Jeff Lindsay

After seven national best sellers and eight seasons as one of the most successful shows on television, New York Times best-selling author Jeff Lindsay bids a thrilling farewell to his uniquely twisted and beloved serial killer, Dexter Morgan. Dexter Is Dead is the definitive conclusion of the character who has become a global icon.

Dexter Morgan has burned the candle at both ends for many years: blood spatter analyst…husband…father…serial killer. And now, for the first time, his world has truly collapsed. Dexter is arrested on charges of murder. He has lost everything – including his wife, his kids, and the loyalty of his sister. Now completely alone, Dexter faces a murder charge (for a crime, ironically, he did not actually commit). His only chance for freedom lies with his brother, Brian, who has a dark plan to prove Dexter’s innocence. But the stakes are deadly, and the epic showdown that lies in Dexter’s path may lead, once and for all, to his demise.

Jeff Lindsay’s trademark devilish wit and cutting satire have never been sharper. Dexter Is Dead marks the end of a beloved series, but is also Dexter’s most satisfying and suspenseful outing yet.

postmodernism-a very short introPostmodernism: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Butler

Postmodernism has been a buzzword in contemporary society for the last decade. But how can it be defined? In this Very Short Introduction Christopher Butler challenges and explores the key ideas of postmodernists, and their engagement with theory, literature, the visual arts, film, architecture, and music. He treats artists, intellectuals, critics, and social scientists ‘as if they were all members of a loosely constituted and quarrelsome political party’ – a party which includes such members as Cindy Sherman, Salman Rushdie, Jacques Derrida, Walter Abish, and Richard Rorty – creating a vastly entertaining framework in which to unravel the mysteries of the ‘postmodern condition’, from the politicizing of museum culture to the cult of the politically correct.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Check out my reading stats from last week thanks to Literally.

What Are You Reading?

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Posted 23 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in Horror / 10 Comments

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide LindqvistTitle: Let the Right One In (Goodreads)
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Translator: Ebba Segerberg
Published: Quercus, 2009
Pages: 519
Genres: Horror
My Copy: eBook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Twelve-year-old boy, Oskar is having a hard time with life. While he has a loving mother, his alcoholic father is very absent in his life. At school, Oskar is the constantly being bullied. One day he meets Eli, and a friendship is formed between the two. However Eli is not a normal girl and it is quickly revealed that she is in fact a vampire. Let the Right One In by Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist is a horror novel unlike any other that I have read before.

While Let the Right One In is a gothic horror that explores the unusual relationship between a 12-year-old boy and a vampire, for me this novel was something completely different. I found this to be a book that explores the darker side of humanity; looking at issue of alcoholism, divorce, bullying, abuse, self-mutilation, murder and paedophilia. Think of it more of an existential look at life and the horrors of the world around us.

I do not want to go into too much detail about what to expect when reading this novel. I just enjoyed the way it looked at the way we handle the horrors of the world from the view point of a struggling boy trying to cope with his situation. The relationship between Oskar and Eli is complicated, and unusual. This allows John Ajvide Lindqvist to explore so many interesting issues and push the reader to contemplate more of the world around them.

Most people would be familiar with the plot of this novel by the movie adaptation done in 2008, which was then horribly remade again by Hollywood in 2010 under the name Let Me In. I saw the Swedish version many years ago and felt it to be a brilliant movie but I have not re-watched it since reading the novel. I did however watch the American addition and it made me very angry. I feel like Hollywood is too afraid to deal with the dark side of humanity if it involves a twelve year old boy. Also America has a terrible habit of trying to remake movies that are already brilliant, I understand some people do not want to read subtitles but they do it to movies that are already in English as well. Soon there will also be a TV show based on this novel, which is set to air on A&E later this year.

I am so glad to have read Let the Right One In; I had a great time exploring the world. This is an extremely dark novel and this will not be everyone. I am curious to see what the TV show will be like but I will not be holding my breath. If you are willing to explore the dark side of humanity you will find Let the Right One In to be a compelling and thought provoking novel.

Movie Review: Trainwreck (2015)

Posted 22 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in Film & Television / 2 Comments

Trainwreck-posterTitle: Trainwreck
Released: 2015
 Judd Apatow
Stars: Amy SchumerBill HaderTilda Swinton
Genre: Comedy

The latest romantic comedy from Judd Apatow is something completely different and will hopefully shake up Hollywood a little. In his last movie. Apatow took on the story of life after 40, in the movie This Is 40, which starred Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. While Judd Apatow’s movies are problematic when he directs a movie, I often get the sense he wants to take on some real issues. Both The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up had some positives messages hidden behind all the cheap gags and as for Funny People, well it was a little forgettable so I could not tell you what the message was with that movie.

Trainwreck was the first movie that Judd Apatow directed that he did not write, with the exception on The 40-Year-Old Virgin which he co-wrote with Steve Carrell. This time the screenplay was written by the lead Amy Schumer. Schumer has been taking the comedy world by storm, after first appearing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in its fifth season; where she placed fourth. Now she has her own hit show, Inside Amy Schumer as well as being a critically acclaimed stand-up comedian.

In Trainwreck Amy Schumer plays a journalist named Amy working for a men’s magazine S’Nuff. She was brought up to believe that monogamy was not realistic and now Amy spends most nights getting drunk, stoned and getting laid, despite the fact that she is dating a gym junkie (played by pro-wrestler John Cena). She is assigned by her boss (Tilda Swinton) to write an article on a sports doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader) despite the fact the fact she believes sports is not intellectual enough to be interesting. The film continues on the very formulaic romantic comedy path after this.

What I loved about this movie is the way Amy Schumer took the same formula and reversed the gender roles. While this is a boring plot line, the idea of taking the outdated clichés of the dating world and shaking it on its head is very refreshing. The movie does not stop there; there are even slight nods to penicil movies in this genre, including a blowjob scene in shot in the famous location found in the Woody Allen movie Manhattan. If I was a better film critic I would be able to pick up on all the homages made within the movie; one day I hope to be able to do so.

I had a lot of fun watching this movie and I think the stand out performance should go to John Cena for his portrayal of a homoerotic meathead. I did see was more of John Cena than I would like but thankfully his penis was still able to say his catch phrase “You can’t see me”. Even though the formula to Trainwreck is the same old plot, there is still something very true about the movie. I cannot criticise the plot because I have been in the same boat as Amy. Hopefully this is one step closer to a change in Hollywood; Trainwreck has been positively received but only time will tell.

August 2015 Mini-Reviews

Posted 21 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction / 4 Comments

August 2015 Mini-ReviewsTitle: Black Girl / White Girl (Goodreads)
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Published: Fourth Estate, 2006
Pages: 272
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
 (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Black Girl / White Girl tells the story of Genna Hewett-Mead who is reflecting on a traumatic event in her past. Fifteen years ago, in 1975 while attending an exclusive women’s liberal arts college near Philadelphia, her roommate Minette Swift died a mysterious and violent death. Minette was a scholarship student and one of the few African American women to be let into the college. Genna, a quiet woman of privilege got to witness the effects of racism first hand as the racist harassment escalated from vicious slurs to something far worse. However whoever was responsible for this murder still remains a mystery to this day. I had never read Joyce Carol Oates before and I thought this may be my chance to experience her writing. The premise of this novel intrigued me and I was looking forward to uncovering the mystery at play. However, this turned out to be a novel about reflecting on the changing times; I was interested in learning about racism within America during the time of civil rights movements but this focused too much on Genna.

I understand that Joyce Carol Oates may not want to write a novel from the perspective of a person of colour, since she is Caucasian and probably could not do the situation any justice. Rather she took on the perspective of a woman of privilege experiencing the issue first hand. This may have made the book a little more autobiographical and allowed Oates to still explore the issue of racism. While I enjoyed this book, I did not find anything special about it. Maybe this was not the best example of Joyce Carol Oates’ writing but I will try more of her novels in the future.

August 2015 Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Testimony (Goodreads)
Author: James Smythe
Published: Harper Collins, 2012
Pages: 368
Genres: Science Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
 (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

First there was static and the whole world freaked out. Then came a voice that said “My Children, Do not be afraid”. People said it was God, others said it was the government and still others believed it was aliens. The whole world was brought to a halt but no one had the answers. The Testimony details the apocalypse from the perspective of twenty six people around the world. James Smythe is a master at writing science fiction that will really make you ponder life and The Testimony is no different.

I was curious to check out James Smythe’s debut novel ever since I discovered his novels. The Machine was my first Smythe and still remains my favourite although many do prefer The Explorer. For me, while The Testimony was a thrilling read, it just was not on the same level as the other books I have read. Dealing with so many different perspectives was a great way to capture the different opinions and question the events. However this novel was not overly impressive, still a great book but if I compare if to James Smythe’s other novels, it falls short. This is proof on just how far Smythe has improved and makes me excited to read something new by this great author.

August 2015 Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Firebird (Goodreads)
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2013
Pages: 539
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
 (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Nicola has a rare gift, she can touch an item and glimpse the lives of its previous owners. When she holds a small wood carving called The Firebird she sees a glimpse of Catherine I, wife and later successor to the Tsar Peter the Great. The Firebird is a fresh take on the time traveling romance genre, blending it with the ever popular paranormal romance genre. This is the second book in the Slains series by Canadian author Suzanna Kearsley.

My wife is a big fan of Kearsley and since this novel is partly set in Russian she thought I should check it out. There is some interesting aspects of the life and times of Peter the Great and allowed me to learn a little more about Russian history and culture. However there is something about this novel that I did not like. The Firebird is a story with no conflict and no antagonist and for me this meant it was a really boring novel. I understand people would read this book for the romance but I was uninterested in that story line, I was reading this for the Russian setting. Obviously I am the wrong person to judge The Firebird, it really was not my type of book.

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? 17th August 2015

Posted 17 August, 2015 by Michael Kitto in What are you Reading / 0 Comments

It’s Monday, What are you Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey. I thought I’d join in with this meme as a way to be more consistent with my posting schedule, the idea is to post regularly. As I treat this blog as a book journal I thought it might be nice to have this kind of information documented.

Valley of the DollsValley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Dolls: red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight-for Anne, Neely, and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three women become best friends when they are young and struggling in New York City and then climb to the top of the entertainment industry-only to find that there is no place left to go but down-into the Valley of the Dolls.

Sex and drugs and shlock and more — Jacqueline Susann’s addictively entertaining trash classic about three showbiz girls clawing their way to the top and hitting bottom in New York City has it all. Though it’s inspired by Susann’s experience as a mid-century Broadway starlet who came heartbreakingly close to making it, but did not, and despite its reputation as THE roman á clef of the go-go 1960s, the novel turned out to be weirdly predictive of 1990s post-punk, post-feminist, post “riot grrrl” culture. Jackie Susann may not be a writer for the ages, but — alas! — she’s still a writer for our times.


You're Never Weird on the InternetYou’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world…or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was “homeschooled for hippie reasons”, Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.

Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.

Trout Fishing in AmericaTrout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan was a literary idol of the 1960s and 1970s whose comic genius and iconoclastic vision of American life caught the imagination of young people everywhere. He came of age during the Haight-Ashbury period and has been called “the last of the Beats.” His early books became required reading for the hip generation, and on its publication Trout Fishing in America became an international bestseller. An indescribable romp, the novel is best summed up in one word: mayonnaise.

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