Monday, January 31, 2011

book review: Master and Man and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy

And he remembered about his money, his shop, his house, his purchases and sales and the Mironov's millions; it was hard for him to understand why this man they had called Vasilii Brekhunov had concerned himself with the things he had.

Where Tolstoy is in a league of his own is describing the life of peasants toiling in the hard Russian landscape and writing historical stories set against a landscape of events he describes with great accuracy.

In this collection of three stories, two short and one the length of a novella, his ability to paint a world that is so vivid despite being distant in the past and for me geographically is testament to his writing.

The longest story, Hadji Murat, is set against the background of Russian campaigns to quash local rebellions in the Caucasus. In a battle that sounds oddly familiar the Russian army is fighting against the Chechen rebels and manages to achieve a coup with the defection of Hadji Murat. As the second in command the defection is a useful one. But as Tolstoy reveals, sometimes at a length that is perhaps unwarranted, the political consequences of the defection prevent the Russians ever really using their latest ally usefully. The way that Tolstoy shows both sides of the story with an explanation of why the Chechens have acted with such hostility is fairly well done and one that presumably could have been fairly awkward for a Russian writer to achieve even when it was penned in 1904.

Added to that historical work are two stories that focus more on the idea of self improvement and spirituality. Father Sergius and Master and Man put up two men who are guilty of pride and greed and then details how a humbling of their situation changes their attitude. It was presumably written with the intention of showing other Russians that there was not just a more spiritual path that could be followed but if people put their minds to it change was possible.

As a reading experience this collection works well with the stories flowing well between each other giving the impression they were written in a similar frame of mind at a similar time in Tolstoy's career.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thoughts at the half way point of Master and Man and Other Stories

Halfway through this book and the theme seems to be a religious one with Tolstoy looking at how people can determine to change their own destiny and personality.

It kicks off with Father Sergius, a story of a perfectionist who has worked his way up in the military to become an aide de camp to the Tsar and is on the brink of getting married to a woman well above his social position. But his pride is wounded when he discovers she was the emperor's mistress. He leaves and heads into a monastery and there dedicates himself to being the best he can be there. But again pride becomes his weakness and even when he becomes a hermit he still can't fight the urge for self promotion rather than God's. In the end he learns through a meeting with a poor peasant relation that the best thing to do is be as good as you can without blowing your trumpet about it.

Master and Man, the title story, is a tale with a warning about greed. A rich merchant moves to seal the deal on a bit of woodland hoping to get the owner to sell at a very low price before competitors arrive and point out the real value. But as he sets off into a snow storm with his servant he is not only pushing his luck but taking on the Russian weather. Even when he gets the chance to stay at a friends and avoid the snow and biting cold his greed gets him back out there on the road. The cost of doing so is not just the ultimate one but as Tolstoy suggests one that gives him a chance to redeem himself and find a lasting spirituality.

A full review will come soon...

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Library

As a result of a comment on the blog yesterday I have been enjoying a video of Duncan Fallowell's library. The short film not only shows you round his large collection of books but contains some great thoughts about reading.

If you get the chance do have a look. Must confess I watched green with envy but then thought about it positively and decided it was something to aspire towards.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Apologies for lack of blog posts have really been struggling to get the reading momentum going this month so the focus in the evenings has been on getting a few extra pages under the belt and the blog has suffered.

Please bear with me as I start to get the reviews of January's reads finally put together and catch up with myself.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

book review: The Village by Ivan Bunin

"About the village, it should be, about the people," said Kuzma. "I mean, you say it yourself: Russia, Russia..."
"And isn't Drynose the people, Russia? The whole of it's a village, get that into your head once and for all!"

The phrase about all the world being a village is one that kept coming to mind as the reader was introduced to the idea that Russia is a country that shares the same characteristics across its many miles. In the village there are those that have worked hard to gain wealth and position, those that are feckless and unable to do anything other than live a life of toil and often drunkenness and those that look to positions of power to change their fortunes.

Up to 1905 all of them believed they knew the lie of the land but as revolution threatened to topple the status quo and certainly introduced talk of more reforms and a Duma which would carve up land more fairly there must have been a palpable sense of fear.

Seen through the eyes of two brothers, Kuzma and Tikhon, The Village introduces the reader to a cast of characters that cover most of the usual Russian types. The richer of the two peasant brothers who has become a landowner, Tikhon, who owns property and a store, is envied and admired and spends most of his time worried about what could happen if the rebellion spreads and his property is burnt down.

Kuzma it turns out has had a harder life and in some ways is saved by his brother from a life of poverty but he is much more sensitive. The differences between them are highlighted most clearly over their attitude towards a servant woman Bride. Tikhon rapes her but Kuzma sees her more in a fatherly light even harboring some feelings towards her that cause him great pain when Bride is forced into a marriage.

This is a brilliant portrayal of a world that is ugly and harsh. There is no gloss here with Russian counts and duchesses dancing at balls this is grim life. Mud, millet and misery are the things you are left thinking about. The brother's each in their own way aspire to escaping that drudgery.

But by the end, regardless of whether or not the Duma, the Russian parliament, will introduce changes or not the brothers sell up and plan to escape the village.

But as we know the brutality, harshness and misery of the village is replicated elsewhere and the brothers might succeed in escaping their own specific situation but not Russia.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thoughts at the half way point of The Village

One of the greatest things about most Russian literature is the way it is set against a background of such turbulent change. The unknown caused by revolution and the potential collapse in order manages to trickle down even to the smallest communities.

So it is here with a village waiting to see which way the wind blows around the time of the 1905 revolution. Told through the story of two brothers, one of which has become a land owner and the other who dreams of becoming a poet, Bunin weaves a story of a world that is in flux.

The peasants are burning down the large estates and the order laid down over decades by the Tsar is coming under threat.

As the different characters emerge it becomes clear that the main challenge is to try to use the crisis for personal advantage.

A review will follow soon...

Monday, January 24, 2011

book review: Uncle's Dream and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"Oh, my friend, my entire life has been a dream. I kept dreaming and dreaming, but I never lived; I was proud, I scorned the herd - yet what was I so proud of? I myself don't know."

This collection of short stories includes tragedy, humour and an insight into how people lived and survived in a Russia that was hard for both peasant and aspiring aristocrat alike.

The main story Uncle's Dream was penned by Dostoyevsky after a five-year exile in Siberia and covers the tale of a provincial family desperate to better itself through a marriage of their daughter to a senile prince. The old man is hoodwinked and almost forced into a wedding that is expected to last for a short period before he dies and leaves his fortune to the young girl. There are complications however with the young girl Zina already in love with a teacher who is on his death bed. That relationship is frowned on by her ambitious mother and the only other suitor is disliked by Zina.

The mother tries to manipulate everyone to her own advantage but it all comes crashing down and with great humour the plans to marry the Prince fall apart.

What you are left with is a brilliant insight into the desperation for provincial merchants to better their station in life and the gossip and rivalry that is created by their efforts.

A Meek Girl takes the form of a diary like narrative recounting the story of a pawn broker and his wife. She has just committed suicide and the husband dwells on what happened to their relationship. His ambitions to escape to the country and get away from the poverty he sees everyday in the shop is kept from her and the silence that builds up gets to the point where the damage is irreversible.

Along with those two there is A Weak Heart and White Nights which are a tragic tale of the pressures of working to live and the tale of a loner who over four nights falls for a girl who then moves out of his reach.

As a collection it runs along well, sometimes there can be a jarring between stories, and combines a good mix of tragedy and satire. The themes that Dostoyevsky is famous for are all here with the grinding misery of the clerks in A Weak Heart not being a million miles away from the hardship Raskolnikov finds himself in at the start of Crime and Punishment. Its hard not to think of the muddled and manipulated Prince Gavrila in Uncle's Dream as not that far away from Prince in The Idiot.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thoughts at the half way point of Uncle's Dream and Other Stories

When it comes to the big names in Russian literature there is always a choice to go for one of the well known novels or if you have read those or fancy something showing a bit of variety to opt for the short story collections.

In this case this book has been on my shelf for about four years with its crisp untouched pages reminding me that I have not picked it up. So in the spirit of reading some of the books I have been meaning to get to for years this was picked up but within a few pages there were no regrets.

The collection kicks off with A Weak Heart which takes you straight into classic Dostoyevsky territory with two clerks living almost hand to mouth in a shared room. One reveals to the other that he is in love and about to be married and they rush off to see the fiance.

But a comment made between the two friends on the way back makes the betrothed realise that his companion intends sharing even in his joy and that forces him to spiral in despair. Faced with an insurmountable mountain of work the clerk literally goes out of his mind with worry leaving his proposed marriage and life in tatters.

Then comes White Nights which is a tragic tale of love. A man falls in love with a woman who feels that her former lover has betrayed and forgotten her. As she seeks comfort and a shoulder to cry on the prospect of love stirs in a very lonely man. He reveals that he has rarely mixed with other people or ventured out into St Petersburg but having come across this girl crying one night and heard her story he plans a future for himself with her. But then the former lover returns and all of his hopes are dashed and he retreats, but this time bitterly, into his seclusion.

A full review will follow soon...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Going beyond the page with One Hot Summer and Fallowell

One of the advantages of reading books by authors that are alive and web savvy is that there are often resources online that can add to the reading experience.

So having read One Hot Summer in St Petersburg there is a chance to look at some pictures that provide you with an idea of the world that Duncan Fallowell found himself in back in the early 1990s.

They are a great companion to the book and his site is packed full of other material well worth browsing.

Do take a look at

Thursday, January 20, 2011

book review: One Hot Summer in St Petersburg by Duncan Fallowell

A writer heads to St Petersburg in the early 1990s to find a refuge to write about the English countryside but finds a city and a country changing rapidly and so completely absorbing that he spends weeks finding out about Russia and Russians rather than working on his writing.

The world that Fallowell is describing is one that operates to a different beat from the West, a feature that is both exhausting and captivating for a Westener. There is a brutality, frankness and openness that the Russians display that at moments is frightening and at other times rather attractive.

This is a city in transition but still weighed down by its past. That past stretches back over the 300 years of its existence and the Russians seems to be deeply aware of their history.

But they are also keen to move away from the years of dictatorship and embrace the freedoms they were denied for so long to speak their minds, party and make decisions about the lives for themselves.

Fallowell moves through this world brilliantly describing the different characters and the City and how the past casts such a long shadow over the present.

From slightly mad professors, party goers and artists he takes the reader on a journey through the City meeting numerous people working out what change means for them and their world.

But central to the story is the relationship between the author and the Russian sailor Dima. I'm not going to spoil the ending of the book for others but this is a powerful story that leaves you both shocked and deeply moved.

The fate of the young in Russia, as seen through the erratic life of Dima seems to sum up the dangers of a country that has replaced the authority of the state with a mixture of mafia muscle and old KGB bosses sitting in the Kremlin.

This book is a record of a period in Russian history that was exciting, dangerous and highly unpredictable and Fallowell has the ability to have you laughing at the antics of his landlady one minute and holding back the tears as you struggle to come to terms with the brutality of the country in the next.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Non-fiction experiences

Just a brief observation on the differences between reading a piece of fiction and a travel book/memoir type work. The problem is the nature of the travel book is episodic and so there is a pace that you get used to looking for in fiction that never really arrives.

Also by the nature of the episodic nature there are moments when you find your interest almost completely lost until another part of the adventure grabs you back.

I'm not drawing any major conclusions just sharing an observation that might challenge my ambition to read a mix of non-fiction in with the fiction this year. Both require a different approach and so chopping and changing might not be the best policy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thoughts at the half way point of One Hot Summer in St Petersburg

The theory was simple: a writer heads to Russia to pen a book set in the English countryside escaping the landscape he writes about to make it easier to concentrate.

But the reality is quite different with the author encountering a world that is unlike anything he has known before. St Petersburg is spinning out of control, or at least it seems that way although it looks as if it has been on the same edge of an abyss for years, and the people seem to be living at a speed and with motivations alien to an Englishman.

He is drawn into some relationships that are damaging and others that open up artistic worlds that operate in dusty forgotten clubs down side streets.

But just as things seem to be going well the darker side of St Petersburg emerges and the risks of trying to understand people that are different becomes all too apparent.

A review will follow on completion...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Russian memories

Ten years ago I got the chance to go to St Petersburg for three days then take a sleeper train to Moscow. It was one of the most exciting and at moments frightening trip I've ever been on.

One of the main feelings I had was one of surprise as the churches with their ornate mosaic and gold icons were there for all the tourists to enjoy. Somehow I had expected the communists to have pulled down and destroyed everything but a lot was still standing. There seemed to be an odd relationship between pride in the past and a feeling of deep unease in the wealth that had been held by a privileged elite. This was the feeling that struck me as I walked around the Hermitage.

Magnificent works of art hanged on the walls but outside there were people shuffling around in rags trying to sell their belongings to make ends meet. The gold of the throne room seemed at such odds with the world outside.

The other main feeling was one of fear. At the station in St Petersburg in the dim light I was pushed by other people and shouted at by a solider for reasons I never quite understood. There were moments when I felt that I could have been gunned down and it would have been a footnote in the Moscow Times and not much more.

But for someone who has loved Russian history for most of their adult life the chance to see Lenin, walk around the Kremlin and get an insight into a world described by numerous history books it was magical.

Russian literature seems to convey that mix of tragedy, brutality but also great wealth so well that even if Russia is beyond your grasp, as it is now for me with children eating me out of house and home, you can dip into that country and its past through the pages of its literature.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Russian history recommendations

One of the ambitions this month, which I have to accept will have to be postponed, is to read Orlando Figes The Whisperers. It describes what it was like to live in a society that thrived on informants and divided families and friends through vicious word of mouth.

But although I will fail to read it let me just recommend some non-fiction books about Russia that have come out in the last few years.

A People's Tragedy by Orlando Figes is a real doorstopper but it is a great read and account of the revolution and its aftermath

Simon Sebag Montefiore has done a few books on Stalin which are worth a read, I've not got through them all, but The Court of the Red Tsar details a man capable of horrible things but a lonely man unable in the end to trust anyone.

Robert Service has written some heavyweight autobiographies of the main characters and his book on Lenin is a good one to get an insight into the father of the Russian revolution.

Anne Applebaum's Gulag shines a light on the dark side of a regime

Will add to this post as I think of more but the above were all good reads.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Russian lit online resources

As you can imagine there are a few places you can go online to get pointers on Russian literature. Most of the greats are household names but it helps to be able to place authors in some sort of political and historical context.

The mistake to make is to assume that it's only the stuff written since 1917 that contains elements of turbulence and commentary about life under a repressive regime. Life under the Tsar was no picnic with people pegged very firmly into their positions in society. Visitors to Russia in the 18th century commented on how Russians abroad were so talkative but back home watched what they said. Not quite Stalin but not freedom either.

Anyway here are some good places to head for some ideas on Russian literature:

way to Russia is a travel guide which has a decent literature section has a lot of information on more contemporary writers which can be helpful

Russian Literature is a guide not just to prose but also poetry

There are of course numerous author sites but will post some of those as I get through the books this month.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

book review: 2017 by Olga Slavnikova

"Today, humanity is holding in a secret pocket a fundamentally new world in which is it incapable of living. Because in this new world most types of activity - yours, for instance - are pointless. Of the eight billion Homo sapiens, seven and a half aren't needed for anything."

This story, set slightly in the future, is as much about the past as it is the possible state of Russia in six years.

The anniversary of the revolution provokes a collapse in the country as the Reds and Whites emerge to fight old battles but for the main characters that is background noise as they cope with their own challenge to outwit the maiden of the mountain and get their hands on precious gems.

The idea of a maiden of the mountain provides a mystical element to the story which feels both futuristic as well as relating to the here Urals and fight madness in order to find gems that could make their fortunes those that stay behind in the cities are no less suspectible to madness.

The attraction of wealth and fame is one that doesn't just strike the diggers but effects those that are dazzled by the bright lights of television and the money, furs and cars that the elite have access to.

This is a story on one level of greed but it is also one of love. The central character, Krylov, falls in love with a stranger that he meets when bidding his gem hunting boss Professor Anfilogov farewell at the station.

The mystery woman and him meet in different parts of the city and their relationship grows. But like all things in this shallow world depicted by Slavnikova greed eventually destroys that love as well.

A brilliant mix of mythical fantasy along with a feel of a contemporary critique of Russian society pulls you in. There are images conjured up by the author that stick with you months after you have read the book.

The story 2017 is one that speaks of where Russia is now. The shadow cast by the revolution lingers on and the gulf between rich and poor is more relevant than ever before.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thoughts at the half way point of Stories and Prose Poems

If there is a theme this month, and I guess I've just decided there is, then it's Russia. So in the spirit of that the next book along comes from one of the modern greats Alexander Solzhenitsyn. One of the good things about short story collections is it provides a chance to get a wide flavor of a writers work.

This is no exception so far kicking off with two stories that were both in their time stand alone novellas.

Matryona's House sums up everything you think of with Russian literature. It is set in a remote village with the main characters living in a broken down house that you can picture so clearly.

But the village is full of the bitchy, selfish and lazy people that populate any society and the story of a widow working so hard for others and begrudged her own good fortune when it comes is one that could be replicated in almost any rural society. What makes it uniquely Russian is the existence of party figures looking for stolen peat and the collectivization that benefits the system but never the individual.

For the Good of the Cause is a great story that rips open the corruption at the heart of Soviet politics. The children in a technical college have given their own time and energy to help build a new building so they can start lessons in a fresh and well sized college. But they have their building taken away initially to a research project but in the end to a corrupt businessman looking for a new place for his works. The inability to use common sense stretches right up to the top with everyone too scared to question a decision that clearly is unfair.

Those that do question it, the teachers and the children, are given a lesson they will never forget in having to come to terms with unfairness, corruption and a political system that is a million miles away from understanding and rewarding its citizens.

Great stuff and there's more to come...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thoughts at the half way point of 2017

this is one of those great books where underneath on one level there is a fairly straight story going on with some miners trying to make their fortune from illegally taking gem deposits but added to that there is some mystical elements.

The story is haunted by tales of the mistress of the mountain who can enchant those digging for gems, the rock hounds, and that idea of Russia existing in both the past and the present and in this world and a parallel one all at the same time.

There is also a love story developing between the main character Krylov and a woman he meets and gives a nickname to but as the country starts to move closer to the anniversary of the revolution the past catches up with the future and the ghosts reach out to change the lives of the living.

A review will follow on completion...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Another happy time spent in the children's section

If there is one thing I enjoy as much as buying books for myself it is buying books for my children. A trip to a bookshop now includes a lengthy spell in the children's section and I'm discovering a wide range of books along with them.

The way a great deal of books for boys seem to be pitched is in a series. So there is Beast Quest, which now runs into 40 plus books, and other delights such as Dinosaur Cove. I guess it was ever thus, thinking of Enid Blyton, but these days the covers are colourful and the experience of buying books is much more fun than it was when I was a kid.

It's great to see the next generation grabbed by reading and so happy to spend time in a bookshop.

Friday, January 07, 2011

book review: Islanders & The Fisher of Men by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Being attracted to Russian literature like a moth to a flame this book, found in between others on a charity bookshop shelf, seemed to immediately hint at some wonders within.

But fairly quickly you realise that although you are dealing with something Russian the decision of Yevgeny Zamyatin to set the action in England means this book will have a very different feel.

The best word I can find for the result is detachment. Zamyatin writes about an England he has observed as a foreigner and a world which he seems to dislike. Perhaps it is the cocoon of the world he describes in Chiswick which is running parallel to the 1917 revolution in his own country.

He even starts the first part of Islanders, the main story in this book, with the sub title A Foreign Body, which could as much refer to himself perhaps as the man Campbell who bursts into the ordered life of Rev Dewley.

The Rev works to a strict time management system of his own devising which stifles his wife and leaves no room for spontaneity. So when a man is hit by a car and taken into the vicarage to recover the impact on the reverend's life is fairly dramatic.

But nowhere near as dramatic as it is on the vicar's wife who glimpses the possibility of a different life, one away from the repression of home, and falls for the unwanted lodger. The consequences of the visit are profound for her even if her husband does his best to get back to routine as quickly as possible.

The lodger continues to dominate the wife's thoughts even after he has left and falls into friendships with a night club singer with fatal results.

Are those obsessed with systems really living? Can love be scheduled in a diary? Makes you think.

Fishers of Men as a title inspires some sort of religious theme but the main character of this short story Mr Craggs makes his extra money by sneaking up on people who are at risk of falling foul of the anti-vice campaign. He blackmails them to pay out or risk losing their reputations for a bit of a kiss and cuddle in the park.

But a zeppelin attack, which is brilliantly described, undoes Cragg and there is a sense of the hypocrite being undone.

An interesting read and although both stories describe a world that is perhaps lost now but the hypocrisy, love and lust remain essential features of human character.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Reading plans

Having gone through the highlights of the year ahead provided by The Guardian and The Telegraph it looks like I might be spending my limited books budget in the following ways in the first few months of this year:

Pulse by Julian Barnes

The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

The Book of books by Melvyn Bragg

The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress by Beryl Bainbridge

Also planning to get some non-fiction as well.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

book review: Box of Delights by John Masefield

Christmas time is the perfect moment to choose a story to read that is dripping with yuletide references and a classic battle of good versus evil.

Kay Harker is coming home from school for Christmas and bumps into a punch and judy man and a couple of curates on the train and his adventure begins. The old punch and judy man, Cole Hawkins, asks him to do him a favour telling an old woman in the village that the wolves are running and from that moment on the young Kay is drawn into the protection and magic of the box of delights.

Kay is up against Abner Brown and his gang that are based in an old missionary college and choose to dress as clergymen when not running around the countryside as wolves or flying through the air in quiet mysterious airplane cars.

The Box of Delights contains a way into the past and can help the owner go small or fly through the air, both options Kay uses widely as he discovers the plot of Abner Brown and his gang. Brown wants the box for its magic and having kidnapped Hawkins then starts to work back through everyone the old man might have met taking them captive in the cells in the cellar of the old missionary college hoping they will tell him the location of the box.

He never chooses to scrobble Kay because the boy's former governess is Brown's mistress and she informs Abner that the boy was stupid and couldn't possibly have been trusted with such an important object.

Through a series of magic moments in the present, with mice, fairies and rats all emerging from the hidden places, to adventures in the past Kay is brought to a climatic fight with Brown.

Reunited with Hawkins the magic of the box helps them escape but it is plain and simple greed and double crossing that see off Abner.

Despite snow and the capture of the clergy the box comes to the rescue and the Christmas Eve service, the 1000th at Tatchester Cathedral, is saved.

The story is a wonderful Christmas read and the BBC made it into a drama back in 1984 that is still enchanting despite the dated look of the special effects. One thing sticks in my mind, which is why even when he makes his friends small and they meet fairies etc, why do they never talk about it afterwards? Was it all a dream? Perhaps.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The month in review - December

Reading at Christmas time is always a struggle. Firstly, I take annual leave so there is not the chance to read on a commute and secondly the children are around making calm reading very difficult.

The aim this December was a fairly simple one, to keep the momentum of previous months going, but nonetheless it proved to be a challenge as days went by without more than a couple of pages being turned. In the end it worked out well but the lesson for next year is to read quick and to read early.

books read in December:

The Interrogative Mood A Novel? by Padgett Powell
The Dead Beat by Cody James
The Small Hand by Susan Hill
Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer
The Passport by Herta Muller
The Box of Delights by John Masefield

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Books read so far in 2011

1. The Islanders and A Fisher of Men by Yevgeny Zamyatin
2. 2017 by Olga Slavnikova
3. Short stories and Prose Poems by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
4. One Hot Summer in St Petersburg by Duncan Fallowell
5. Uncle's Dream and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
6. The Village by Ivan Bunin
7. Master and Man and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy

8. Count D'Orgels Ball by Raymond Radiguet
9. Taking it to Heart by Marie Desplechin
10. The Counterfeiters by Andre Gide
11. Holiday in a Coma by Frederic Beigbeder
12. Jezebel by Irene Nemirovsky
13. The Princess of Mantua by Marie Ferranti
14. A Day in the Country and Other Stories by Guy De Maupassant

15. The Terrorists by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo
16. Parallel Lives by John Tagholm
17. The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler
18. The Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka by Josef Skovorecky
19. Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James
20. The Suspicions of Mr Wicher by Kate Summerscale
21. Headed for a Hearse by Jonathan Latimer

22. Next World Novella by Matthias Politycki
23. The Lost Honour of Katherina Blum by Heinrich Boll
24. Lineman Thiel and Other Tales by Gerhart Hauptmann
25. The Call of The Toad by Gunter Grass
26. Death in Venice, Tristan, Tonio Kroger by Thomas Mann
27. The Decision Book by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler

28. Country Dance by Margiad Evans
29. The Death of Napoleon by Simon Leys
30. Dearest Father by Franz Kafka
31. The Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee
32. Letters from a Lost Uncle by Mervyn Peake

33. Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada
34. Laikonik Express by Nick Sweeney
35. Mercedes-Benz by Pawel Huelle
36. Paris Metro Tales edited by Helen Constantine

37. How I won the Yellow Jumper by Ned Boulting
38. Beer in the Snooker Club by Waguih Ghali
39. Can We Borrow Your Husband? by Graham Greene
40. The Hare With the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
41. King of Tuzla by Arnold Jansen op de Haar
42. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
43. Les Belles Images by Simone de Beauvoir

44. The Whores of Coxcomb Hall by Egg Taylor
45. Red Plenty by Francis Spufford
46. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
47. Rome Tales stories translated by Hugh Shankland
48. The Ascent of Isaac Steward by Mike French
49. Stabat Mater by Tiziano Scarpa
50. The Scarlet Plague by Jack London

51. Hello America by JG Ballard
52. Busy Monsters by William Giraldi
55. The Queue by Vladimir Sorokin

56. The Wanderer by Knut Hamsen
57. Made in England by Gavin James Blower
58. A Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
59. Engineers of the Soul by Frank Westerman
60. Incognita by William Congreve

61. Unthology 2 by various authors
62. Ten Stories about Smoking by Stuart Evers
63. Dark Steps by Martin Pond
64. Departures by Tony Parsons
65. What we talk about when we talk about love by Raymond Carver
66. Break it Down by Lydia Davis

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

Hope 2011 brings you all a good year with plenty of reading. may your reading challenges be successful, your tbr piles ploughed through with ease and your purchases wise ones!