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Maven Books

Reviews about historical, literary, classic, and other fiction.  Miscellaneous book things.

Currently reading

The House of Mirth (Oxford World's Classics)
Edith Wharton
A Book for Her
Bridget Christie
The Power
Naomi Alderman
Walking in Berlin
Franz Hessel
The Years
Virginia Woolf
Notes from the Underground & The Gambler (Oxford World's Classics)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Malcolm V. Jones, Jane Kentish
Tales from the Underworld
Hans Fallada

Sorry, technophiles: 92% of students prefer books to e-readers

"In a new study conducted by American University linguistics professor Naomi Baron, researchers have found that an overwhelming majority of students prefer physical books — you know, with covers and paper — over e-books for serious reading."

Reading should not carry a health warning by Frank Furedi

"Contagion, poison and trigger. The idea that books are dangerous has a long history, and holds a kernel of truth."

Bookstore-styled Tokyo hostel has 1,700 books to read, bunks in the shelves to sleep next to them

Bookstore-styled Tokyo hostel has 1,700 books to read, bunks in the shelves to sleep next to them

Between Books by Sadie Stein

William Strang, Münchhausen entdeckt die Bibliothek von Alexandria, 1895.

"You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different worlds on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write."

--Annie Proulx

 

 

(From Annie Proulx, The Art of Fiction No. 199, The Paris Review)

History v historical fiction, by Jane Smiley

"Historical fiction is not a secondary form – I was condescended to by a conservative historian who cannot see that he too constructs stories"

The Best American Short Stories 2015

The Best American Short Stories 2015 - T.C. Boyle, Heidi Pitlor

If these are the best short stories America has to offer, then there's something wrong with fiction writers in this country.

Hitler-Spotting at the Frankfurt Bookfair

To be continued bookmarks
To be continued bookmarks

Free printable bookmarks by Little White Whale

Bookmarks versus dog ears: how you keep track of your reading – in pictures

From Books to Ebooks and Back: The Future of Literary Consumption Is Unwritten

"'Devices are not dangerous for literature,' [László] Krasznahorkai said. 'People can be dangerous for literature. People, for example, who do not read.'"

Gabrielle Burton, feminist novelist and screenwriter, dies at 76

Impatient with Desire - Gabrielle Burton Searching for Tamsen Donner - Gabrielle Burton Heartbreak Hotel - Gabrielle Burton
— feeling sad

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life - Kate Atkinson

I get the premise, but it was just so repetitive.  I wasn't really interested enough to keep reading, especially with writing that felt very flat and kept getting in the way.

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Infinite Home: A Novel - Kathleen Alcott

Everyone in this book is broken, and none of them were interesting enough to stick with the constant perspective jumps.

The Daughters by Adrienne Celt

The Daughters - Adrienne Celt

Lots of telling, not much showing.  Everything felt candy-coated and lacked in substance.

Born in Exile by George Gissing

Born in Exile - George R. Gissing

This was a difficult read, not just due to some slower passages, but because the main character is so unsympathetic.  Not only is he a opinionated and close-minded, but he sees himself as a victim, mainly of the class system and society.  He goes on like this, despite contradictions to his worldview, never giving other people a chance to prove him wrong, and it's difficult to see this unfold.  The other people he encounters are a little more sympathetic, but not by much.

 

As with other Gissing novels, this also deal with several heavier topics, like whether religion can survive in a science-oriented world, and whether women should be educated and "emancipated."

 

After all the drama, I sort of felt like the ending was almost deserved.