The OF Blog: Review plans for October: More Malazan, Booker Prize finalists, Sapkowski

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Review plans for October: More Malazan, Booker Prize finalists, Sapkowski

October seems to have arrived with a vengeance here, as the temperatures have been much colder (and rainier) than normal.  I've always associated this time of year with reading and I have been busy with a few projects in mind.  Since I have this week and next free for the most part of any other demands on my time (at least until the October 12-14 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville), I plan on (re)reading and reviewing the following (* denotes already read):

Malazan Re-Read Project:

* Reaper's Gale
* Return of the Crimson Guard 
* Blood Follows
Toll the Hounds (previous review exists)
The Lees of Laughter's End
The Healthy Dead
Crack'd Pot Trail
Orb Sceptre Throne
Dust of Dreams (previous review exists)
The Crippled God (previous review exists)
* Forge of Darkness

2012 Booker Prize Shortlist

* Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
* Deborah Levy, Swimming Home
* Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
Tan Twan Eng, Garden of Evening Mists
Alison Moore, The Lighthouse
Will Self, Umbrella

Andrzej Sapkowski Re-read Project:

Geralt Saga (only two books out of the seven (eight in Spanish translation) are available in English)

The Last Wish/El ultimo deseo (previous review exists)
La espada del destino (The Sword of Destiny) (previous review exists)
Blood of Elves/Sangre de los elfos (previous review exists)
Tiempo del odio (Time of Contempt) (previous review exists)
Bautismo de fuego (Baptism by Fire) (previous review exists)
La torre de la golondrina (The Swallow's Tower)
La dama del lago, pts. I & II (The Lady of the Lake) (will be reviewed together)

The Hussite Trilogy (incomplete in Spanish translation; not available in English to date)

Los guerreros de dios (The Warriors of God)

Yes, most of the month will be devoted to reading these, although a few more doubtless will be slotted in, although most likely without a review this month.

Which of these works/projects appeal to you most and why?


Mihai A. said...

Yesterday I was reading a presentation of "Los Guerreros de Dios" and started to dream about Sapkowski's "Trilogia de las Guerras Husitas". I am not an assured reader in Spanish, but things start to move. Slowly, but moving forward. I also found an interesting Spanish online book shop that I need to test.
I am looking forward to your reviews with interest :)

Liviu said...

Well, I read/checked the Booker nominees (Umbrella got dropped after the first few pages as all capital words and exclamation points spread everywhere on page are things that annoy me to no end, while Narcopolis got a fast browse only) with Garden of Evening Mists one of my top 5 books of the year (huge fan since Gift of Rain), Swimming Home and Bring up the Bodies also favorites and The Lighthouse an ok but kind of "meh, who cares" read.

Umbrella and the longlisted Teleportation Accident (which i loved) are available on Net Galley

A few more books of interest that appeared or will appear soon and are in "tone" with the Booker nominees are Merivel by Rose Tremain, Astray by Emma Donoghue, Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson (this one is both much funnier than Finkler and a great rant about publishing, critics, editors, agents, the dumbing down of children and YA literature, other authors etc etc and is on Net Galley too...). The Dinner by Hermann Koch, the last unpublished book of Lawrence Durrell, Judith (was a movie script originally), while there is also a book with a great title that will come out soon, Hikikomori and the Rental Sister and a new translation of The Tale of the Heike

I have not looked into getting Warriors of God yet, but will do it soon as i really enjoyed Narrenturm and I am curious where it will go.

S.M.D. said...

I'm certainly looking forward to your take on the Booker Prize finalists. I've become more interested in the books selected for that word every year. Maybe because of the controversy or because I've become a pretentious condescending liberal grad student :P

Hélène said...

The Geralt saga is translated in French but I'm just starting it. Unfortunately, the Hussite trilogy is not and my Spanish is so rusty I still hesitate to buy the Spanish version.
@Liviu : is there an unpublished book by Durrell ? I can't say I really like his last ones but, how nostalgic...

Liviu said...

This is an excerpt from the email I got upon obtaining a Net galley earc of Judith:

"On November 13, 2012, Open Road Integrated Media will release the never-before-published novel Judith by the late Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990).


Released one hundred years after the author's birth, Judith is a breathtaking novel of passion and politics, set in the hotbed of Palestine in the 1940s, by a master of twentieth-century fiction. It is the eve of Britain’s withdrawal from Palestine in 1948, a moment that will mark the beginning of a new Israel. But the course of history is uncertain, and Israel’s territorial enemies plan to smother the new country at its birth. Judith Roth has escaped the concentration camps in Germany only to be plunged into the new conflict, one with stakes just as high for her as they are for her people.

Initially conceived as a screenplay for the 1966 film starring Sophia Loren, Lawrence Durrell’s previously unpublished novel offers a thrilling portrayal of a place and time when ancient history crashed against the fragile bulwarks of the modernizing world.

This edition features an introduction by editor Richard Pine, which puts Judith in context with Durrell’s body of work and traces the fascinating development of the novel. Also included is an illustrated biography of Lawrence Durrell containing rare images and documents from the author’s estate and the British Library’s modern manuscripts collection."

Do not see yet a retail (eg Amazon) page for it, but i guess it will come soon

Larry Nolen said...

Mihai, which shop? I often use Casa del Libro when I import from Spain (but this time, I am trying out another via ABEbooks).


I seem to have liked Narcopolis a bit more (although I think the other two I've read so far are superior). As for the others you mention, let's see:

Tremain - had to read her book on the Restoration when I was in college. Loved it, so willing to take a look at this in the near future.

Donoghue - Thought Room was very good, so again, a future buy.

Jacobson - Maybe, but his last one was not all that great.

Durrell - Maybe after I read more of his works (only read the Alexandria books).


It's grad school, no doubt about it. Learning how to teach a story will do that to you. Think you could create something as interesting from say a Rothfuss novel as you can from a Schuyler story? ;)


Geralt is a better-than-average take on S&S fantasy, with some really funny satires mixed in. The various translations of Sapkowski across Europe are strange, as it seems only a few have translated or are in the process of translating all of his fictions. There is a long story, "Malady," that appears in English translation in The Apex Book of World SF 2 that I would recommend; one of the few highlights from that anthology.

Liviu said...

"Jacobson - Maybe, but his last one was not all that great."

To be honest that was my feeling too, so I did not request the Net Galley arc of Zoo Time for a long time, but one day recently I was in a darkish mood and the cover (which is quite funny too with the monkeys and the books alluding to the famous Shakespeare and the monkeys thingy which appears in the book too) made me request it and when i opened the book, i started just laughing hard and harder so i could not put it down; it gets darker and sadder in the last third which is quite serious and deals with terminal illness and tragedy, but for 2/3 is mostly a laugh riot...

Of course not everyone will see it that way as i think the author hits upon some uncomfortable truths that are tied in for example with the recent Stothard kerkuffle

Larry Nolen said...

Cool, I'll keep that in mind for around Christmas time, as that does sound intriguing enough for further investigation. Unfortunately, I have a lot on my reading/reviewing plate right now, not that I should be complaining, what with the upcoming Southern Festival of Books and all :D

Mihai A. said... &, but I didn't get to try them yet. There is also, but I am afraid it might have the same expensive shipping costs as the US Amazon. I'll need to check this up though, because I set my eyes on a few Spanish fantasy novels that sound to be truly interesting and original. :)

Larry Nolen said...

I forgot to try this time. From what I can tell, the shipping costs would be about what I pay when ordering elsewhere in Spain, about $15-20/book.

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