Sunday, 6 June 2010

Reading Challenge - 25 to 29

The books on this list will be mostly fast reads and short stories. Books I could drop when I got the one I was reading (The mark of the Horse Lord) back, because I left it with a friend and it took me a long time to have it back.

25 - Contos Apátridas 
(I don't think this book is available in English, but you can read it if you know Spanish, Portuguese or Italian)
This is a collection of short stories by Ibero-American authors.

Um tradutor em Paris by Bernardo Atxaga [A translator in Paris] is a very existentialist story. A man retraces the steps in taken 20 years before in Paris, in order to accept his disability. Strange, feels unfinished and definitely not my cup of tea.
Nunca lá estive by José Manuel Fajardo [I was never there] is about nostalgia and remembering a day in the past. It is beautifully done, like most of Fajardo's writing. My favourite story in the book.
Tragédia do homem que amava nos aeroportos by Santiago Gamboa [Tragedy of the man who loved in airports] is amusing. It's about a man that finds himself being the boy toy of flight attendants.
Antiga Morada by Antonio Sarabia [Old address] is another strange story, about a brother and sister living alone in a old mansion. There is incest, ghosts and attempted murder. I liked the writing style, but the story was a bit disturbing.
O anjo vingador by Luis Sepúlveda [The vengeful angel] is a Monty Python-ish CSI kind of story. And that's why it's amazing. I really couldn't care less about the crime, but I loved the surreality of it.

Final opinion: a enjoyable book where the good stories outweigh the bad.


26 - M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
M Is for MagicM is for Magic is a collection of short stories, some of which I already knew from Fragile Things (others are in Smoke and Mirrors which is in my To Read list). It is intended to young readers, but most of the stories are of the Horror kind.

The ones I already knew, I skimmed through them. October in the Chair starts with the months of the year telling each other stories, and finishes with October story. I loved the beginning, but October's Story is far too sad and tragic for me to re-read. How to talk with Girls at Parties is a very nice story about teenagers and love, and otherworld things. Sunbird is a great story, but it does nauseate me a bit (it deals with food, and people who like to eat, well, anything as long as it's tasty). The Witch's Headstone is part of The Graveyard book, and truly a children's story. A lovely one at that. And finally Instructions, which I love.

The new stories: The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a strange film noir kind of story dealing with Humpty Dumpty's nursery rhyme. It felt a bit rushed, with potential for more if expanded. Troll Bridge and Don't ask Jack are also very strange, and maybe not exactly for kids. Don't ask Jack could be an adult horror story (and really scary as well) if it was longer. How to Sell the Ponti Bridge was a sweet story about con men, and selling a landmark. It had a nice twist, but not to the level of American Gods. Chivalry was one of my favourites, so sweet and surreal and lovely. And so British. The Price was another favourite, that actually brought tears to my eyes. It's sort of biographical (I think, although I rather not delve too deeply into that), about one of the cats of the author and what happened in the night.

All in all, this book felt a bit like a disappointment. Some stories were good, but most left me with an eerie and empty feeling. Had it not been for Chivalry and The Price, this book would be just average.


27 - One bloody thing after another by Joey Comeau
One Bloody Thing After AnotherOne Bloody Thing After Another is an apt title to this book.
I enjoyed it, even if it's not my favourite genre. It is a fast read, but delivers what it promises.

Full review


28 - The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Mark of the Horse LordThis is another book that the basic premise was brilliant, but its execution was not so. The story it's still good, but I did not enjoy the writing.

It's not a happy-ever-after story, but I found the end fitting, albeit sad. I liked the main character Phaedrus a lot (how couldn't I, a huge red head gladiator?), but I felt more drawn to a secondary character, Conory. I wish there was more about him in it.

My biggest complaint about this book is that there seems to be almost no female characters at all. There are two that are named, one is the evil usurper of the throne, the other her daughter whom the main character has to marry. And that is almost all there is to them.

It was nice, but I had hoped it would be better.


29 - Misfortune by Wesley Stace
I am not sure how I came about this book. It might have been a recommendation for another book, or simply finding the cover somewhere and being drawn to it (how could I not, there is a woman with a moustache!). In any case, it was an absolute find!


Full Review


  1. 30, que acabei hoje o Book of Lost Things.

  2. Hi Marta! Thanks for your visit to my blog & for your comment! I just left a response there for you.

    I really like your blog & am definitely going to bookmark it!