My Year in Reading 2017

This blog has not been particularly lively last year, for a variety of reason – none of which was, I am happy to say, due to my lack of reading. Goodreads did their reading overview again, and for anyone who is curious about what I read in 2017 and did not write about, the link is here.

Not sure what next year will bring – I do want to write more, but just don’t seem to be able to muster the energy to actually do so. In any case,  I wish everyone a wonderful holidays and a great start into 2018 – see you next year, I hope.

And here’s a song – not very seasonal, but highly relevant, very intense and emphatically worth your time:

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Murasaki Shibiku: The Tale of Genji

After having read all six of the Chinese Classic Novels, it seemed like a logical continuation to go on to the Classic Japanese novel Genji monogatari; not just because of the geographical proximity but also because Japanese culture was greatly influenced by China back then (the early 11th century) and I was expecting something in a similar vein. As it turned out, I was profoundly mistaken in that assumption – The Tale of Genji is something quite different and fascinating in its own, unique way.

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Ed Brubaker / Sean Phillips / Elizabeth Breitweiser: The Fade Out

It’s not like I never read any comics – I have read several, even posted on this blog about some of them. But those were few and far between, and it took me quite some time to get through each of them. I’m not quite sure what the reason for this is – reading The Sandman quite thoroughly cured me of any residual ideas of comics being for kids that I might have had, and I always meant to read more. Maybe it’s my ongoing struggle with visual arts – but that never kept me from watching and enjoying lots of films. Maybe it is the hybrid nature of comics, straddling both literature and graphics, and feeling at home in the first and rather lost in the second, I always felt off-balance when reading comics.

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Hirokazu Koreeda: Maboroshi no Hikari

“Maboroshi no Hikari” translates literally as “Light of Illusion” and I am tempted to read this as a reference to my favourite film by Eric Rohmer, Le Rayon Vert (i.e., “The Green Ray”). It is however fairly unlikely, seeing as the two film do not have all that much in common – although it has to be said that both figure a young female protagonist who is somehow out of synch with her surroundings.

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Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone et al.: The Witch Who Came In From the Cold, Season Two

I posted a couple of brief reviews on several (not all) episodes of the second season of the ongoing e-book serial The Witch Who Came In From the Cold; and while each of them is too short for a blog post, I was thinking that maybe it might be of inerest to someone if I posted the whole bunch colletively (which is either a desperate attempt to scrape out the bottom of the barrel to scratch out a new blog post or a clever way to go meta and imitate the serial / omnibus structure in my post – your pick).

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Matthew De Abaitua: The Red Men

trtoPretty much every single review of Matthew De Abaitua’s debut novel The Red Men which I have glanced at has compared him to one or two or several other authors and I am feeling that almost irresistible urge myself. Maybe comparison to others is unavoidable with this author – not because he is in any way derivative, but for precisely the opposite reason: His novel is so brilliant and original that it leaves readers bewildered and helpless, groping for the comparison straw just to have something familiar to hold on to.

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Luo Guanzhong: The Three Kingdoms

First, I should point out that I am writing this post six months after finishing the novel; and while I took some notes when reading it, details are starting to get a bit hazy and I apologise if what follows is even more vague than usual. As with the previous Great Chinese Classics, both date of composition and author of The Three Kingdoms (also known as Romance of the Three Kingdoms) are not known with certainty. It is generally assumed that it was written by Luo Ghuanzong (who also may have edited and maybe even written parts of Outlaws of the Marsh) and assumed to have been written in the latter half of the 14th century, but neither of those appears to be quite uncontested.

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