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Everything posted by iff

  1. Review of Dry Season by Gabriela Babnik, translated by Rawley Grau There are some things that are unnerving though unimportant when you start reading a novel. One of those is when a difference in a character's name is spelt differently on the back of the book compared to the actual text of it, I know Ana is one letter away from Anna but it kind of puts me off rhythm. Anyway to the novel at hand, Dry Season by Gabriela Babnik is about a 62 year old Slovenian woman in Burkina Faso and she starts a relationship with a 27 year old local. I felt a disconnect to it, I just never got into the book when reading. I was bored reading this book, it didn't do anything for me apart from make my mind seek out distractions, like there is a horrendous line towards the end (third last page) which instead of me just finishing it ad me googling the bad sex award information. I just did not like this book. I think my 2 star rated might be a bit kind. * *
  2. Review of Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession This novel is about 2 friends, Leonard and Hungry Paul as they try to make their way in life. Leonard works writing encyclopedias without getting credit for it and his mother has just died so there is change in his life because of that while Hungry Paul's parents are approaching retirement age and his sister is getting married at Easter. He works as an occasional postman as he feels it wouldn't be fair for him to take up a full job from another person. They are friends and occassionally meet at Hungry Paul's to play board games. Life ensues, between the wedding, there are also in Hungry Paul's family, pushes to make him do more from the mild suggestions of his mother to the pushiness of his sister who for the sake of their parents want him to give them a life and break now that they are retiring. As part of moving on, Leonard develops feeling for the fire safety office at his work and him and her start going on a date or two. There is humour worked in to the novel, some scenes are very funny as are some lines. Particularly nice was one involving chocolates As a musician, Hession made 3 albums under the name Mumblin' Deaf Ro which were very good and it is really nice to see him writing novels. He uses a similar sensitivity in his voice as he did with the books (the start with Leonard's mother passing away reminded me of his song Cade Calf Call, a cade calf being a calf whose mother has died). A very good debut, I really enjoyed this book. It is a funny, coming of age novel about thirty somethings. An enjoyable read. * * * * 1/2 i don't usually read books as soon as they come out but circumstances transpired that this ended up being started the day I got it (I didn't have a book with me to read when I got it so basically within 15 minutes of buying it, I was reading it I do not regret it one bit as it is a really good novel)
  3. Review of Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman This is a modern fable where the main character, the artiste becomes a part of the entourage of the king. What started as seeming to be a medieval system of king holding court, you learn this is not the case. It could be a drug lord or a mafia boss rather that a feudal system king. Herrera writes a short novel at about 100 pages on this as suspicion arises in the king's court and weaves a good story for an afternoon as love and crime and internal rivalries meet. A good afternoon read * * * *
  4. iff


    Review of Clean by Juno Dawson Lexi Volkov is a rich socialite but in need of help because with the privilege of her father's money, she has a drug problem nearly oding on heroin and needing to be revived. Her brother Nikolai worried about her takes her kicking and screaming to a treatment facility on an island (For me, this brought images of Shutter Island but that might just be the island comparison. We learn later that the kicking and screaming is the usual way of entering. One of the trigger to her addiction is her no good, user of a boyfriend who did some art but prefers drugs (I use user in botht he sense that he uses Lexi as a cash machine and also uses drugs, which he gets Lexi to pay for). We delve into both the past of Lexi before coming to the cause of her problem and her life at the treatment facility with the other patients and staff there. The patients are being treated for a variety of problems. There is a bit to the novel, it is young adult but there is a bit of swearing, and some hard subjects from drug use, gender identity, anorexia and such. When out of isolation, in the afternoons it is free time and for Lexi this means she goes to the horses which brings me to the unbroken horse Storm another point: I really loved Dawson's writing, it is funny but also a lot of heart to the novel. This was the second book of Dawson's I read and her first fiction that I have read. a very endearing and engrossing read. I think I read 180 pages on Saturday afternoon. * * * * 1/2
  5. I didn't know to put this in long book thread or short book thread https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/in-praise-of-short-novels-1.3775752?mode=amp
  6. A couple of weeks ago I recorded from BBC the man in the white suit (starring Alec Guinness) from the 1950s and I watched it last night as the Irish times made it a movie of the day when it was being shown (starting the review with "thank god for recording devices" as it was at 6:25am to which I thought "hey I have a recording device.") Really good satire where his character is a scientist that develops a fabric that doesn't get dirty and can't be destroyed. I enjoyed it a lot.
  7. No, you wouldn't have to read end of eddy first, they both can work as independent works. If wavering about the book, it is one to give a miss
  8. glad to hear that he is home, momac and hopefully he'll be back to full strength soon
  9. Call me by your name - andre aciman
  10. I finished this last week and found it to be a very good novel but I do think there are the problems that a lot of the characterisation is done to the extreme (of course then again it is a satire so that might be why) and I think towards the end of the novel, it ran out of a little bit of steam. overall I did like this, the narrative of Jane's was engrossing and a good read, I felt sorry for Akiko and the pluses outway the minuses in the book. I liked it * * * *
  11. Review of History of Violence by Edouard Louis, translated by Lorin Stein The follow on to the autobiographical novel of The End of Eddy and Eddy is now living in Paris and heading to his apartment after a Christmas Eve meet with friends for Dinner. He is stopped in the street by a stranger and while Eddy tries to get away, eventually they both go back to hi with the night ending in Reda raping, assaulting and trying to murder Eddy. The novel deals with the event and aftermath, told through both Eddy's point of view and from listening to his sister tell her husband about what happened. This I found to be a very engrossing, heartfelt, afflicting read about the trauma of a traumatic event, trying to tell it to the French police the incident but responses of racism as the perpetrator was of North African descent, trying to deal with friends and family about the incident. The narration of the event takes on a kind of slow motion in it. Definitely not a book for everyone but I did feel that despite the difficult subject of the novel, that it was an excellent, affecting and absorbing read. * * * * *
  12. i think for people who set aside specific time to do reading, it shouldn't but i think it is for more casual readers. both my mother and brother will occassionally ask me for books and i have learnt to give neither of them anything over 200 pages or 250 pages because the length of time it takes them to get through them makes it difficult. my brother even comments "good, short books". my mother is still working on a 200 page one I gave her before christmas so that is 2 months already. a long book would be a very slow and long read.
  13. I wince at all the 4 or 5 star reviews which end Maybe it is an honest review but looking through a list of one individuals honest reviews , I find the lack of any 1 or 2 and barely a 3 star review with a bit of scepticism (when you are producing 3 honest reviews a day). Personally I get some enjoyment from writing 1 or 2 star reviews, a lot more than from the reading of the book that earned the rating.
  14. I think how much value you can place on a review is based on how you rate the reviewer themselves. Have I read other books they reviewed? Did I share their views on them? For me, it is what draws me to particular individual's opinion is what I thought of their other opinions. I trust the film reviewers in Irish times, I had a great trust in Eileen battersby's book reviews too in the Irish times, for music, there have been many acts Shaun keaveney and Lauren Laverne like that I like too, although with music, it is easier because you get good samples before you buy so I value these opinion. Here, there seems a good overlap with Mr hg so that's great
  15. review of Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori keiko Karakura is a 36 year old woman, working 5 days a week in a Convenience Store, where she has been for the last 18 years. She lives for the convenience store including doing her own shopping in the store she works, her breakfast coming from the store, her lunch from the store and dinner from the store. This brings societal pressure from both family and friends to form a relationship and to start a family (she admits to having "no awareness of her own sexuality", she seems to be very sex adverse in the novel and probably asexual (asexuality is mentioned in my edition on page 37). She also seems to be on the autism spectrum. She struggles to relate to people outside of work and needs help from her sister to come up with preplanned answers to the difficult questions. The structure of the convenience store works for her as everything she needs to do, is covered in the manual. The repetitiveness and organisation of the store puts her in a settled mood). Her sister wishes Keiko would visit her and her son more but Keiko doesn't understand the difference between her nephew and a friends baby. In social situations in the store, she tries to mimic the other staff's style of speaking and dress in order to fit in. As a cover for her unwillingness and difficulty at dealing with the questions on her relationship status, she decides to enlist a former colleague Shirhaha to play the role of a boyfriend/partner but he seems an awful person (misogynistic, lazy). I think the pressures that keiko faces are very relateable to problems other asexuals face, trying to appear and fit in with a society that doesn't really understand a lack of interest and lack of sexual attraction. There are some indicators I find on how I feel about books. A disappointing book may have things like, you keep going to your mobile phone to check stuff on it, you take breaks and your mind wanders. Similarly, a book that you enjoyed have other indicators, like the only break you took when reading was to have some tea, you read it through in a single evening when you originally intended to only read for an hour but instead you just finished it, you decide to skip watching stuff on tv that you probably would normally watch (also helped was new england patriots thrashing la chargers 35-7 in the odd break to see the score at 8pm). the list of those reason you enjoyed a book all apply to this one. In short, I loved this book. Apart from my tea break (and to check the American Football score), I wanted to just read it, I loved Keiko and the voice that Murata and Tapley Takemori gave Keiko. It was witty, endearing, observant. The reason I wanted to keep reading it was I wanted to know that she got on ok. thanks to both Sayaka Murata and Ginn Tapley Takemori for this superb novel that I loved. * * * * *
  16. I have read books in a day, usually a short translated novel under 150 pages I looked at statistics for the length of my average reads 2012 - 337 pages 2013 - 325 pages 2014 - 354 pages (???) 2015 - 315 pages 2016 - 302 pages 2017 - 262 pages 2018 - 252 pages So based on books I am reading, certainly they have got shorter
  17. iff

    Have a Rant!

    For me, books don't help if something is particularly playing on my mind as in that situation I find it hard to concentrate. Sometimes music (though I've learned that one particular singer actual makes me feel worse), mostly procrastinating online when I feel very low. Hope it gets better, momac
  18. I start the year with a reread always, this year it is a plot against america by Philip Roth (both in memory of roth and as HBO has commissioned a miniseries based on it) My other books from tbr I have decided to read next are Convenience store woman - sayaka murata The orange groove - Larry Tremblay My year of meats - Ruth ozeki While I'll start as a home book for nonfiction beneath another sky by Norman Davies. I really liked his vanished kingdoms and another book of his was listed in the bibliography of the Ukrainian novel I read last year
  19. Happy new year to everybody
  20. books - fiction my favourite book of the year was sorry to disrupt the pace by patty yumi Cottrell. a darkly comic book and an absorbing read. The other two contenders are belladonna by dasa drndic and brother in ice by Alicia kopf. books - nonfiction the gender games by Juno Dawson, funny part autobiography, part political treatise. I loved reading album My favourite was from dream wife. Riotous feminist rock. Other album highlights were Susanna, wyvern lingo (impressive soulful r&b tinged indie pop from Ireland), first aid kit, the spook school and she makes war. live gig Susanna in September was hauntingly beautiful, just a really great show. The cello, violin, accordion were perfect accompaniment to Susanna's majestic voice Belle & Sebastian in march was another live highlight and British sea power while dream wife in October was very enjoyable. songs bratt by Haley Uh huh by jade bird Trick of the light by villagers Shallow by lady gaga from a star is born tv series - comedy "It doesn't need to be funny, it just needs to end after 30 minutes" It seems as episodes rightly puts it, the main determinant of what is a comedy and isn't. Though there were some highlights, episodes final series was one as was Derry girls, both genuinely laugh out loud funny as did Atlanta do so. tv series - drama A harder topic here, sharp objects was a slow ticker but each episode unwind it a bit and at the end, this was really good. Mr robot season 3 was superb, hopefully will get to see season 4 soon A disappointment is I have a brilliant friend recorded but need to get watching, the first episode though was brilliant. tv series - documentaries Dynasties - is there any doubt? film Lady bird, coco and phantom thread were both very enjoyable and a fantastic woman was brilliant. Glenn close gave a great performance in the wife sporting event of 2018 2 great sporting moments this year and surprisingly neither are cycling related In February, Philadelphia eagles taking the Superbowl in a very very nail biting match. The rest of the day I had just gone on adrenaline with the delight The other was limerick taking the all Ireland hurling championship in august for the first time in my life
  21. Review of And The Wind Sees All by Gudmundur Andri Thorsson, translated by Bjord Anadottir and Andrew Cauthery The novel is set in an Icelandic fishing village, as the choir conductor passes each of the house on her bicycle and her blue polka dot dress (in the cover art, it is red polka dots, which honestly go better with being on a bicycle than blue polka dots (though I do recall the Vuelta a Espana does use a blue Polka Dot jersey) The stories are involving interlinked characters being a small village, you get a snap shot of their live and a defining moment from their live. I don't feel right going long into this as a lot of the chapters are shortish but I did think this was a good novel. * * * 1/2
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