2020 Reading Year

I have more or less neglected this blog, and more than once was even tempted to delete it completely. Though I am still reading books and can’t leave the house because of the pandemic, I have been pretty busy with work and don’t have a lot of time to blog. I did not “review” any…

A Rose by any Other Name…

After more than 10 years and two failed attempts, I finally finished Umberto Eco’s murder mystery The Name of the Rose. Published in 1980, The Name of the Rose is the retelling of a Benedictine monk about a series of strange events that he and his master Brother William investigated while traveling through a Franciscan…

Howl’s Moving Castle

I don’t read YA or children’s books much, but I couldn’t bring myself to read a “serious” book after Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, so I finally decided to read my copy of Diana Wynne Jones’ fantasy novel Howl’s Moving Castle. I admit that I bought a copy of this book only because of the anime…

Less

Arthur Less is a nearly 50-year-old gay man and former partner of a Pulitzer prize-winning writer who travels the world to forget a past lover and avoid having to go to his wedding. Such is the story of Andrew Sean Greer’s 2018 Pulitzer prize-winning novel Less. A middle-aged writer who had (barely) attained his 15…

Boy, Snow, Bird

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyememi is a retelling of the classic fairytale Snow White. Set in the 1950s and 1960s, the novel tells a strange tale of beauty, envy, race, and genetics from the perspective of the main character, Boy, and later her daughter, Bird. Boy Novak is a white young woman from New…

Four Classical Novels of Chinese Literature

I’m just one book away from completing my collection of the Four Classical Novels of Chinese Literature.  The editions of the three of the four novels I have are not the best translations, but as I am not a scholar of Chinese or Asian literature or any kind of literature for that matter, I am…

The Nine Cloud Dream

The Nine Cloud Dream is a 17th century Korean novel attributed to Kim Man Jung about a young Buddhist monk from a sacred mountain who falls from grace by obsessing over earthly pleasures. One day, upon returning drunk from the kingdom of the Dragon King, the young monk Hsing-chen meets eight beautiful fairies barring his…

The Mirror and the Light

After more than 10 years, the third and final installment of Hilary Mantel’s twice Booker-winning trilogy about Thomas Cromwell has finally been published. The first and second books were only around three years apart (2009 and 2012), but it took Mantel eight years to finish the concluding novel, The Mirror and the Light, which continues…

Hotel du Lac

I don’t really know how I feel about this book, which is about a romance writer who stays at a Swiss hotel to escape a scandal. A short novel that is funny and intriguing at times but far from amazing and compelling. Surprisingly, Hotel du Lac won the Booker prize in 1984 (beating JG Ballard’s…