Archive for November, 2008

Reading post #4

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 26, 2008 by brbslicingapple

I just finished Naomi Novik’s Black Powder War (this is a lie; it was actually some days ago) which was a very exciting book.

In this book, Captain Will Laurence, his crew and his draconian companion Temeraire return from China to the British Isles. However, things do not go as planned and their last-minute change of plans includes stopping in Istanbul to collect dragon eggs purchased by the British government as well as fighting against French forces in Prussia.

Since this is a series, there are looming shadows from the last book, such as the dragon that swore to destroy everything and everyone that Temeraire loved or the mysterious lack of communication from the British aviators.

The book has rich and compelling storytelling that carefully entwines fantasy and historic facts together to produce a wonderful piece of literature, portraying different cultures (such as the Turks or the Prussians) as well as different species (like dragons) without making them seem caricatures.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable read and good entertainment. I’m already half-way through the next book in the Temeraire series.

(I also read a small portion of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, which was surprisingly readable for medieval literature, so I was pleasantly surprised. But I doubt my attention span will last the entire duration of the book, so I’m not even going to attempt it.)

Reading post #3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 17, 2008 by brbslicingapple

Wow. I really haven’t written here for a moderately long period of time.

I had to read Hõbevalge by Lennart Meri for school in the meantime, so I had to put a few pieces of reading off for a later time. For more compulsory reading, I will have to read five novellas from Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron.

Added to my non-compulsory reading list would be a collection of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s short stories. It’s called The best of Marion Zimmer Bradley and I hope I have time to read it before its owner wants it back (my mum borrowed it from a friend and lent it to me.) To make more reading time for myself, I’ll have to cut down on the time I spend messing around on the Internet, I guess.

I really did like Lennart Meri’s Hõbevalge, even if I didn’t have a chance to properly read it from cover to cover.

I read the new edition of the book which is actually put together from two books (Hõbevalge first published in 1976 and Hõbevalgem first published in 1984). The title translated is basically “Silver White”.

Hõbevalge speaks about the past of the Baltic and Finno-Ugric people, hypothesising about the various possible ties Estonia, the beliefs Estonians held and remarkable historic going-ons that took place in Estonia a long time ago could have influenced foreign writers and historians. For example, Meri explores the aftermath of the creation of Kaali lake (which was by way of a meteorite hitting the ground) and the traditions and assumptions which might have stemmed in peoples lives from that specific incident.

Most of the book is written in a scientific style, while bits of it are more poetic, and while it might be very convincing, it is useful to bear in mind that it is still a work of fiction first and foremost, if a very well researched one. Meri cites different sources and gives many possible explanations for what he thinks realistically could have happened.

Of course, with strange theories like this one going around, the themes explored in Hõbevalge make more sense than they should.