Continuing with the class (see my October 15, 2016 post) which is about half way through.
And I finally finished...
The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino, William Weaver (Translation), Tim Parks (Translation), Martin McLaughlin (Translation and Introduction)
This is one that has been on my bedside table for two years. I love it but it's something I wanted to take in small doses and ponder over each story. I'll be dipping back into this often.
I love this jacket designed by Peter Mendelsund & Oliver Munday
Two Lines 25 by
Mexico: Stories by
Interesting collection of noir stories set in various urban areas of Mexico. The most successful are first person narratives of Ex-pat American men who get involved in the underworld of the drug cartels and lesser thugs. Less convincing are ones where he speaks in he voice of a Mexican or, in I Want to Live, women's voices (one ex-pat and one Mexican). Barkan sometimes goes overboard in discussing the background and ethics of his protagonists--it could do with a little more show and less tell. Still it was a good read, but don't expect sandy beaches, umbrella-ed drinks, and romantic guitar music. These are gritty stories.
Uncorrected proof through LibraryThing.
The Mastermind by David Unger
A strange story, based on a real 2009 event, of a Guatemalan lawyer who is drawn into planning his own assassination as a gesture of patriotism. I went back and forth on whether I liked the book and I almost didn't finish it. I did finish it and I'm glad I stayed with it. My main problem was with the depiction of the love affair--it seemed shallow and based only on sex. The death plot, however, was intricate and fascinating. Guatemala is a scary place.
Advance review copy through LibraryThing.
Eleanor Glanville 17thC Entomologist by Deborah Swift
Interesting essay with some beautiful illustrations and, if you scroll to the end of the essay, there is a YouTube recording of a piece of music composed in Glanville's honor. There are some other interesting essays on the site English Historical Fiction Authors.
I also read a number of things on Literary Hub ...
...and a bunch of stuff about the US presidential campaign.Will it never end???
Monday, October 31, 2016
Saturday, October 15, 2016
One of my major projects for this month (and into mid-December) is an online course A Global History of Architecture. It is taught by one of the authors of the text book (right) Mark Jarzombek, Professor of History and Theory of Architecture at MIT.
I'm now in week four of twelve. All materials are online and the class is free (I'm auditing, there is a fee for credit). It takes about six hours a week of video lectures and reading. So far we've made it from huts to Dorian Greece and I'm really liking it.
I still have time for plenty of other reading, most of it very good:
The Sacred Night by Jelloun Ben Tahar; Translated from the French by Alan Sheridan
Dreams? Nightmares? Fantasies? Allegories? It was good. Library book.
The Girl from Venice by Martin Cruz Smith
This takes place near the end of World War 2 in Italy. Venetian fisherman helps a young escaped Jewish woman find her betrayer. A good read, nicely paced. Free advanced reader copy from publisher.
Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
Liked it, but not as much as Kit's Law. Library book.
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
I thoroughly enjoyed this multiple viewpoint story of the early days of the Battle of Britain.
Free advance review copy from the publisher through the Library Thing Early Reviewer
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
This one is also told from multiple points of view but more in a third person narrative style, with some collective first person plural as the older women in an African American church view the activities of the younger generation. Takes place in Oceanside, California and Ann Arbor Michigan.
A couple of picture books
Mother Goose's Teddy Bears Illustrated and adapted to Mother Goose by Frederick L. Cavally.
A delightful 1907 children's book with teddy bears acting out nursery rhymes. On Project Gutenberg.
Penguin Problems by Jory John, Lane Smith (Illustrations)
Nice whimsical pictures, with a count-your-blessings- and-be-happy-where-you-are story line. Library book
A comic book
Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope
by Berkeley Breathed
Welcome back Opus. A finished copy won in a
publisher sponsored contest.
"Architecture for Children" Explains Why We Should Teach Architecture to Kids by Ana Rodríguez; Translated by Amanda Pimenta
Zaha Hadid’s successor: my blueprint for the future "Patrik Schumacher preaches the gospel of ‘parametricism’, a system of architecture designed to cut out human error by valuing technology over art and intuition. But does it work?" Rowan Moore interviews Schumacher. They collide a bit and I found the comments as interesting as the interview. Someday I may figure out what they are talking about but my history of architecture class has barely reached the mud brick stage.
The untold story of Japanese war brides by Kathryn Tolbert
Fatherland. The Mountains of Iranian Kurdistan Photographs and a brief essay by Linda Dorigo.
Sagoromo, Co-Winner 2014 Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize Background information and an excerpt from the translated work. Wonderful illustrations.
So Happy to See Cherry Blossoms: Haiku from the Year of the Great Earthquake and Tsunami by by Madoka Mayuzumi; Hiro Sato and Nancy Sato (Translators) excerpts from the other co-winner of the 2014 Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize. I am purchasing a copy from the publisher, Red Moon Press Oops, just got an email from Red Moon--they no longer have any copies. Sigh...
The Dramatic Life and Mysterious Death of Theodosia Burr by Hadley Meares
"The fate of Aaron Burr's daughter remains a topic of contention."