Showing posts from April, 2022

"We Never Make Mistakes"

  "We Never Make Mistakes:" two short novels by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn This is what I mean about my April reading slump -- it took me the entire month to read this very short, very readable volume.  I don't think we can call these two stories novels -- at best they're novelettes or longish short stories.  About 70 pages each.  Also, I love love love the cover design, with its stark buzz saw blade.  There are, of course, no buzz saws of any sort in the stories. "An Incident at Krechetovka Station" centers on Lieutenant Zotov, who runs a small country train station.  It's 1941 and everything is overwhelmed by the recent German invasion.  Trains of troops, goods, refugees, medical supplies...there's not enough fuel to keep them all going, and nowhere near enough food.  Zotov has one competent assistant, Valya, and various other personnel who all seem to be lazy, corrupt, or very elderly. A 'straggler' arrives in the station, a man who has been


Two sets of siblings, two ethnicities  Tunnels, by Ruth Modan, trans. by Ishai Mishory I was intrigued by the descriptions of this graphic novel, and I was not disappointed; it's a complex and fascinating read set on the fraught borders between Israel and Palestine. Nili is an unemployed archaeologist, single mom, resident of Jerusalem.  As a child, she helped her dad in his pursuit of his dream; he was convinced that he knew where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden, but the dig was canceled.  The spot is right under an Arab village, that village is behind a huge wall, and no Jewish archaeologists can get anywhere near it.  Now, with Nili's dad lost in dementia, and her brother working for a rival academic, she is determined to find a way to continue the project. Nili winds up with a strangely assorted crew of workers -- Jews, Palestinians, her brother, her son (whose name, inexplicably, is Doctor -- he's 6 or 7 and worryingly addicted to phone games).  As they dig into the

Angels Found

 Angels Found: Book 4 in the Z-Tech Chronicles, by Ryan Southwick This is the fourth book in the series, so here are reviews for previous volumes: Angels in the Mist (v. 1) Angels Lost (v. 2) (I have read this book, and I don't know why there's no review) Angels Fall (v. 3)  Zima: Origins (prequel) We come back to our story with everyone enjoying a breathing space, living undercover in the country.  It would be idyllic if it weren't for the rising population of vampires in the US and all around the world.  Anne was turned so early on that she is now one of the head vampires, but she stays shielded from knowledge by the electronic implant that also protects her from the Entity, the mysterious and malevolent being that started the vampires in the first place. Then two visitors show up in quick succession.  Tabby, Anne's long-lost daughter, has found her mother through Anne's brother, but he hasn't explained much.  And the soldier Calum has found the Entity in Russ

The Horse and His Boy

The Horse and His Boy, by C. S. Lewis Someday I will write a #Narniathon21 post on time, but it is not this day.  April's book is The Horse and His Boy, which I've always liked for all the action and travel.  Plus I just like the title.  This story is also a bit unusual in the Narnia books, in that most of it is set in Calormen or Archenland; Narnia is often described, but not really seen (well, that happens in half the other books too!).  Calormen is the kingdom to the south, across a desert, and it's stated that it is much larger than Narnia, with many provinces, and is growing larger through conquest.  The only reason Archenland and Narnia are safe is that the desert is too difficult to cross.  Lewis doesn't really get any further into this, but I do find it interesting that Narnia is described as tiny and obscure compared to the huge countries elsewhere in the world -- who know nothing of Aslan.   This may parallel the way that Christianity is not, and never has be

The Storm is Upon Us

 The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything, by Mike Rothschild Since I'm always interested in reading about conspiracy theories, and I've had a hard time wrapping my head around the Q movement, I snapped this one right up from the library.  I must say that it really just tickles me that the author's name is Rothschild (no relation, he specifies), since that name is so often caught up in conspiracy theories too. Rothschild gives us a readable history of Q, which is pretty impressive given the chaotic material he had to work with.  He explains the boards it started on, the major names, related scams, and the unusual nature of the movement, which is charismatic but practically leaderless.  It also co-opts many older narratives into this new form and trades mostly in fear.  After the history, Rothschild meditates on possible ways to reach loved ones who have fallen down the Q rabbit hole and gives some limited advice, while ack

A Spring Riffle of Reviews

 I'm going to give in and admit that I have more books to post about than time to post in.  Besides, it's a beautiful spring outside!  So here we go: I continued my March Magics reading with Pyramids by Terry Pratchett , which I haven't read in many years.  It's an early one, about #7, and comes after Wyrd Sisters .  Pteppic, only son of the king of the narrow desert/river land Djelibeybi*, spends his youth in Ankh-Morpork, training as an assassin, but right after he survives his final exam, his father dies and he becomes king himself.  His ideas about bringing Djelibeybi into modern times are not welcomed; here, everything is done exactly as it has always been done, and head priest Dios is present to make sure of that. This is such a fun story, absolutely packed with mayhem, humor, and satirical insight.  I really enjoyed revisiting it. *A pun Americans may not get, since we don't have the British candy jelly babies -- which are basically gummy bears.  I don't