Posts Tagged ‘books’

Процитирую отрывки из прочитанных недавно книг,  в качестве представления, рекомендаций (и наоборот).


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Someone in a friendly blog thread pointed me to this delightful piece of vintage Capotiana, The muses are heard (could be had at archive-dot-org at an unbeatable price of $0.00, just don’t forget to click the Borrow button every hr of reading).

She referred to it in context of A. Vertinsky , that curious figure stuck in-between worlds of white-guard French emigrees of the 20’s and post-WWII Soviet misery and sellout. Somewhere half-through I found the the exact place


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Widening the circle

In the infinite ocean of contemporary fiction, with multitude of barely distinguishable  voices and themes and writing styles – how are you choosing your next escapist read?

I employ two strategies.


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A few quotes, roughly in chronological order


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  • “People have always been divided into two groups, Constable, and the sooner you get that into your head the better.” At school he had learned about patricians and plebeians, as a young man about proletarians and … proletarians and … Sloan couldn’t think now who the others had been, but he could still remember getting very excited about it at the time. It had seemed so important. Now that he was older he knew the grouping was simpler than that. Oneself versus The Rest.
  • Sarcasm was a real boomerang of a weapon.
  • Like most policemen he believed in retributive justice. Punishment should follow crime. People expected it. And punishment did follow crime in all the ordered societies he’d ever heard about. Those that were still going strong, anyway. Presumably those where it didn’t had been sunk without trace.
  • He had, however, long ago reached that stage of controlled despair when he regarded each fresh burden with a certain masochistic satisfaction as providing further evidence of a malign fate’s continued unkindness to him
  • In his experience people’s better natures were only ever appealed to for causes that didn’t respond to logic or common sense.
  • by the time some sixty winters had besieged a person’s brow their lifestyle was ordinarily a settled thing.
  • Someone had once explained to him about the British commander who had reported the victory at Sind in India with the single word Peccavi – Latin for ‘I have sinned’
  • [He] held his peace. It was no part of a detective’s duty to inform.

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Frank Tallis, Death and the Maiden (somewhere about 39% of the book):

“I have long subscribed to the view that those who achieve high office cannot enjoy perfect mental health. Such self-belief must be delusional.”

And further, from Mephisto Waltz:


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F.Tallis, Vienna Twilight

I’m watching Vienna Blood series on PBS and parallel read all books in series that I can find in my local digital library.

[n short: night and day. TV stripped all meaning from the books, leaving only “detective fiction”. And even there they didn’t have a courage to follow the author, butchered his plots into a predictable PC-nonsense] But I digress.

Wanted to jot dawn a few quotes from the book.

  • when I was a student, I could not help feeling that some of the professors believed that the job of healing patients was quite incidental to the practice of medicine, and that only autopsies mattered. A different generation, of course, but it is a sobering thought that in their student days treatment was actively discouraged because it might influence the natural progression of symptoms and mislead the pathologist. I was told—and I fear that this might not be apocryphal—that on some wards, the only medicament prescribed was cherry brandy.”
  • A bust of Goethe stood on a pedestal outside the toilets.
  • “Your fare, sir?” Liebermann looked into the man’s dead eyes and saw the end of Austria-Hungary. An empire that produced so many bureaucrats and petty officials would never survive the new century. Here was a man who had been instructed to take fares, and that was what he intended to do, whatever the circumstance. Liebermann sensed all the other men behind him, a great army of automata with grand titles and flamboyant uniforms, operating in every stratum of society—and was too exhausted to argue. He gave the conductor a coin and accepted the ticket.

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I have seen the world now, Mr. Winge. Humans are lying vermin, a pack of bloodthirsty wolves who want nothing more than to tear each other to pieces in their struggle for power. The enslaved are no better than their masters, only weaker. The innocent only retain their blamelessness due to their lack of ability. Before Paris became a bloodbath, everyone spoke of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, of human rights, and now those same voices are heard here. I saw the Declaration of Human Rights bound in the tanned hides of men who had been flayed once the guillotine had separated their heads from their bodies. Here, the burghers and farmers also stand ready to rise up against the nobility, their ancient oppressors. […] The blade of the guillotine has to be sharpened several times a day in order to manage its load. I wish the same for Stockholm. The gutters will run red. The fewer of us who survive, the better. Let the City-between-the-Bridges choke on corpses. Let the graveyards be flooded. Let only the ravens remain.”

Niklas Natt och Dag, The Wolf and the Watchman, 2017

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Прямо с утреца новоржденного года! Нашла сайт с огромным количеством выложенных книжек. Не знаю насчёт загрузки, я читаю прямо онлайн с айпада. Интерфейс неудобный, когда прокручиваешь страницу вниз, экран прыгает – но зато вся серия есть, без лакун.

Открыла сейчас Шардлейка, наслаждаюсь. И вам принесла!


As to my expectations for the new year – what he said.

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From Noah Gordon Shaman, the second book of the Cole trilogy, A Housewife’s Lament

One day I was walkin,
I heerd a complainin,
An saw a old woman
The picture of gloom.
She gazed at the mud
On her doorstep (’twas raining),
And this was her song
As she wielded her broom:

“O life is a toil,
And love is a trouble,
Beauty’ll fade
And riches’ll flee,
Pleasures they dwindle
And prices they double
And nothin is as I
Would wish it to be…”

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Reading xepts

Jenny Erpenbeck, New Directions:

*Embodying the act of staying put is his profession. Creating an interior. Digging deeper and deeper in a place where there is nothing

*now,six years after the end of the war, the Communists were making a grab for his business after all, this had only now occurred to them, suddenly, in the middle of peacetime—Mannesmann Air Raid Defense, always keep your eye on your opponent. Like children with an animal whose nature they are unable to comprehend, they were now ripping the head off this toy and would be surprised to see the thing stop twitching soon thereafter

Broadsheet Ballad by A.E. Coppard:

*She goes about dressed in stained-glass futurist muslins, and contrives provocative effects out of a tilted nose, and sulky eyes, and sallowness set off by a black velvet band on the forehead, and a black scarf of hair dragged tight from a raking backward peak

V.E. Schwab The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

*His own cup sits on the counter, charcoal gray, the inside coated in something that looks like liquid silver. A storm cloud and its lining.

Kathleen Winsor Forever Amber:

*’ll warrant you at least half of ‘em died of the plague!” She began to read from the fresh-printed bill, for they were scarcely off the press before Nan had one. “Griping of the guts—3! Worms—5! Fits—2! How do we know those weren’t all the plague too and not reported by the searcher because somebody greased ’em in the fist to give another cause of the death

*She protected herself against the plague by refusing to think about it. It was all that any of them could do, who were forced to stay in the town, to keep their sanity

*though they exchanged mutual greetings and news, people were still distrustful of one another. Those who had avoided the sickness this long had no wish to risk it now.

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Читая пунктиром

Последние 3 дня, между мрачным скандинавским детективом, беспомощной коньюнктурной худ.биографией Маргарет Кавендиш, и выдержками из Шёгуна – читаю повесть Один Человек  Макушинского в журнальной весенней публикации, по рекомендации из чьей-то ленты.
Рекомендатель восхищался мелодикой языка, повторами, интонацией – как бы одолженными из стихотворчества, гладким монолитом, где нельзя вырезать и убавить. Да, оно там конечно, есть; читать этот небурный поток – удовольствие. Содержание для меня интереснее формы (хотя о нём можно говорить только отметив галочкой удовольствие от формы). О содержании я ещё впечатления не составила. Пока, (где-то на четверти) впечатление самолюбования. Такое очень московское, циничное, с причмокиванием, с поддаванием пару и похлёстыванием веничком – унижением паче гордости заради эффектного контраста. Пока похоже на культовый хвастливый рассказец сов.писателя, длинно живописавшего буржуйские разносолы, чтобы в конце раскорячиться лакейской любовью к водке-селёдке и солёному огурцу. Пока похоже ещё на катаевскую трилогию.
Посмотрим, оправдается ли моё терпение.



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From Catherine de Medici, by H.de Balsac

*”Flatter none but your enemies,” [was] the famous saying of Catherine de’ Medici

*[In the early] editions of Perrault’s famous tale, Cinderella’s slipper, which was no doubt of vair (the fur), is said to have been made of verre (glass).

*Paris was so closely watched that the archers compelled all passers along the street to pray before the shrines of the Madonna so as to discover heretics by their unwillingness or even refusal to do an act contrary to their beliefs.

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Меланж дижур

  • Соседи напротив (те, что единственные в нашем крыле этажа вывешивали на дверь экспонаты ко всем праздникам – венки, знамёна а т. вдохновительные изречения) – снялись и покинули сей скорбный град. Квартиру продали в декабре. Жильцы теперь новые, однако манера старая. Сразу по переезду, на двери появился громадный крюк, и начиная с рождества, на нём возникают послания миру. Сейчас, напр., висит беленькая табличка с красным сердцем и ЦУ золотом Love Each Moment!
  • С предыдущего года я стала читать не то что запоями, но – скажем так, серийно. Начала Керра – пока не прочла всё, что было  в overdrive библиотеке, не остановилась. То же – с  Гэлбрайтом, то бишь – Роулинг. Теперь так же передвигаюсь по серии Kate Atkinson о Jackson Brodie. И вот  заметила удивительные параллели у 2х последних упомянутых. Биография детектива (трагедия в детстве – убийство члена семьи; служба в армейской полиции; открытие частного агентства). Мотивы (“овчарка, защищающая стадо”, работа иногда бесплатно из благородных побуждений). Квартира детектива: такая маленькая, что можно до всего дотянуться, не вставая с места. Характер клиентов (измены, разводы, долгие бдения в машине припаркованной у дома обьекта). Ворчливая карга-секретарша агентства с прокуренным голосом. Разнообразные членоповреждения бедного детектива, до попыток его убийства. Сложные отношения с женщинами (слишком долго перечислять похожее). Прочная сюжетная связь с Йоркширом. ИТП. Интересно, одна я заметила?
  • Перелистывая friends-of-friends, наблюдаю постепенное выветривание тонкого культурного слоя. Последний случай: призыв вызвать полицию против людей, не желающих надевать в помещении бесполезную маску. А также показать документики. Угу. Авторитарный оскал интеллигенции, обнажение скальных пород…
  • K предыдущему: милое вязальное сообщество якобы аполитично  восхищается в-глазах-навязшими-варежками коммуняки берни. я попыталась привести перспективу (это как умиляться любви гитлера к овчарке блонди. самый человечный человек), но понимания в общественности не нашла, нет.  Бывш. подруга там даже так высказалась: “Сенатора я теперь просто обожаю, уже подписалась на описание свитера с таким узором, обещали, что оно будет недорогое и деньги тоже пойдут на благотворительность.” PS: забанили, разумеется – несмотря на искл-но цивильный тон моих комментов и неотвечание подобным на оскорбительные выкрики. Ну и бох-с-ними. Вяжу я примерно раз в десятилетие, овчинка не стОит, и проч.

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Какая тоска!

За этот год я прочитала 51 книгу, ровно столько, сколько планировала (в прошлом году книг было 50). Планирование, кстати, очень помогает держаться в рамках, если бы не это, то я бы прочитала намного меньше (у меня было время, когда я за год прочитала всего три книги). А так я все время держала в голове, что мне нужно читать примерно одну книгу в неделю, четыре книги в месяц, и этого плана я и придерживалась. В последний месяц мне пришлось чуть-чуть постараться, чтобы уложиться в срок. Если бы у меня не было плана, я бы никуда не спешила и не прочитала и половины этих книг. В следующем 2021 году планирую замахнуться на целых 52 книги.

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Gunther series: chronology

  1. Metropolis, set in 1928.
  2. If The Dead Rise Not, set in 1934.
  3. March Violets, set in 1936.
  4. The Pale Criminal, set in 1938.
  5. Prussian Blue, set in 1939.
  6. Prague Fatale, set in 1941.
  7. The Lady From Zagreb, set in 1942-3.
  8. A Man Without Breath, set in 1943.
  9. A German Requiem, set in 1947–48.
  10. The One From the Other, set in 1949.
  11. A Quiet Flame, set in 1950.
  12. Field Gray, set in 1954.
  13. The Other Side of Silence, set in 1956.
  14. Greeks Bearing Gifts, set in 1957.

Catching up with one of my drafts, i thought to post a proper chronology of Bernie Gunther’ books by Philip Kerr. They appeared in different order within the series, but it makes much more sense to read them following the inherent chronology – especially if you, like me, are unable to find and start the next book at your leisure immediately after finishing the previous one, and there might be a time gap in between.

Let me know if it helps!

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I’ve improved my score from four years ago by more than 2000 words!

Do you think it’s a gradual background accumulation or a result of involuntary covid lockdown/layoff, with subsequent incessant reading-for-pleasure?


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To whet your appetite

Some quoted highlights form Philip Kerr’s Prussian Blue.

[in this book Bernie Gunther is sent, against his wishes, to Hitler’s Bavarian mountain residence to solve a murder – alas, not the residence’ owner’s – and does his usual best to survive amid clashing forces, incidentally solving more murders than he was ordered and indeed, more than it’s healthy for him]


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Их уже нет на свете, и на новые книги рассчитывать не приходится.

Поэтому читайте, как я, всё что можете найти :

Reginald Hill, Dalziel & Pascoe book series 

Of author: here. Of his books: here.

Philip Kerr, Bernie Gunther book series

After you read at least one book and get interested in the author, as I did, go here, scroll down to Media and listen to the first video of the meet at Hatchard’s. Then go ahead, and read some more.

Both politically are on the Left; Hill farther than Kerr – forgive them this stupid illogical wishful thinking and just filter out those pages and paragraphs. They died way before they could see direct consequences of their false religion. Be warned,  though: there is an occasional revolting passage.

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…It was a week of that motley September weather, uncertain as April but much more troubling to the human spirit, when days swing between noons of high summer and frosty midnights, and the shades of municipal trees, heavy and still on sunlit pavements, start to shift and squirm beneath a  fragmented moon.

Reginald Hill, Child’s Play

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Quote of the Day

…He understood most idiocies, but could not, even in his most pessimistic moods, believe that a small group of Roman senators would actually prefer to precipitate civil war rather than face the inevitable and permit Caesar what was, after all, no more than his due. Legally consul for the second time, free of prosecution, the First Man in Rome and the first name in history books. These things he owed to his family, to his dignitas, to posterity.

Colleen McCullough

Masters of Rome. Caesar.

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Как жаль

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Попытка – пытка

По онлайн-рекомендации взялась читать рассказы Фолкнера Knight’s Gambit. Продираюсь с трудом, вернее – застряла на середине.

Стилистически – претенциозная тягомотина «шаг вперёд, два назад». Спиральные, без тени юмора предложения псевдо-фолклорным Южным говором. Дурная многозначительность. Хитрованское простодушие. Тон – отвратительно самодовольный, типично-южно-Демократический. Превосходство и назидательность, наскрозь они этот вороватый, преступный народеьц видят. Иерархии, где «ниггеры» внизу, чуть выше бессловесной скотины, затем женщины (разумеется, бестолковые, нуждающиеся в поводыре, описываемые в животных физиологических терминах), потом тупые, упрямо тянущие лямку фермеры, итд. Ну и традиционная Демократическая identity politics, где не дай бог выбиться из клана. Чужак – козёл отпущения, сосредоточие криминала, совратитель малых сих. А главный герой, областной прокурор – их пастух и защитник.  Ну и вся такая дребедень.

Тьфу, выплюни каку. Немедленно.

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I am going through my periodic Nero Wolfe phase.

Today is a third weekend in a row; I even skipped the gym for pleasures of A Man Alive.

[…]they (Daumery & Nieder, a ficitonal haute couture house – Etat) had there that afternoon six of the girls I was waiting to marry, if you count Cynthia Nieder, and I don’t see why you
shouldn’t. Each of them made around a dozen appearances, some more, some less, and as for picking and choosing, if the buyers were as far up a stump as I was by the time it was over the only way they could possibly handle it was to send in an order for one of each.

As I explained to Wolfe in the office that evening, after I had reported a blank and we were conversing, “Imagine it! After the weddings I will of course have to take a good-sized apartment between Fifth and Madison in the Sixties. On a pleasant autumn evening I’ll be sitting in the living room reading the newspaper. I’ll toss the paper aside and clap my hands, and in will come Isabel. She will have on a calf-exposing kitchen apron with a double hemline and will be carrying a plate of ham sandwiches and a pitcher of milk. She will say seductively, ‘Two-ninety-three,’ make interesting motions and gestures without spilling a drop, put the plate and pitcher on a table at my elbow, and go. In will come Francine. She will be wearing slim-silhouette pajamas with padded shoulders and a back-flaring hipline. She’ll walk and wave and whirl, say ‘Nine-thirty-one’ four times, and light me a cigarette and dance out. Enter Delia. She’ll be dressed in a high-styled bra of hand-made lace with a billowing sweep to the—”

“Pfui,” Wolfe said curtly. “Enter another, naked, carrying a basket full of bills, your checkbook, and a pen.”

He has a personal slant on women.

Marvelous! admit it.

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