January 6th, 2015



The last time I published an entry in the Fifty Book Challenge, it was October, and I was about to go on yet another road trip.  Thus last year ended with only ten books reviewed, and a large stack of books awaiting review in the study.  Thus an impromptu New Year's Resolution to work off the backlog of books awaiting review, whilst taking advantage of the sunny cold days when there's no reason to go outside, to read some more books, and, with proper self-discipline, post the reviews this year.

And thus, let us start the New Year, Orthodox style, with Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia.  The shorter version of what Mr Frazier relates to us is summarized in a brief P. J. O'Rourke passage from a Daily Beast essay on all the ways Vladimir Putin might go wrong.

“Exiled to Siberia” says everything about Russian economic and social development in that land of mountains, lakes, and forests with a climate, in its lower latitudes, no worse than the rest of Russia’s. I’ve been across it on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. If this were America, the route from Irkutsk to Vladivostok would be lined with vacation homes and trendy shops, and “exiled to Siberia” would be translated as “exiled to Aspen.”

That was my impression of the Ulan Ude to Irkutsk section. Collapse )Thus, the first review.  Let us see if we reach the fifty.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
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Illustrated Retread Moon

Retread Shop, by T. Jackson King
Timeless YA alien-focused tech-focused SF until the last 30 pages, which got all Heinleinian-socially-weird, as well as quite pointedly of-its-time (the late 80s). Still, it was fun.

The Hunter's Moon, by O. R. Melling
Predictable YA Celtic fantasy, but in a good way. Playing the changes sort of thing. No Hounds of the Morrigan, but it'll do nicely. Adventure, kindness, courage, food, loveliness, etc.

An Illustrated Journey, edited by Danny Gregory
Sketchbook samples and narratives from people who draw while traveling. The text didn't do all that much for me, but the journal pages were an absolute delight. Have bookmarked several new-to-me artists' webpages.
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Ranma 1/2 Volume 4 by Rumiko Takahashi

book 4: Ranma 1/2 Volume 4 by Rumiko Takahashi

In this volume classmate and secret admirer of Akane, Gosunkgui, discovers Ranma's secret phobia and shares it with upperclassmen Kuno in hopes of Ranma's defeat. Shampoo also returns from China carrying a cursed spring alter ego of her own and accompanied by a martial arts expert great grandmother bent on seeing her marry Ranma.

Ranma 1/2 Volume 5 by Rumiko Takahashi

book 5: Ranma 1/2 Volume 5 by Rumiko Takahashi

First Ranma with Genma and Ryoga with Cologne (Shampoo's great grandmother) go on a training expedition and then duel with Akane as the prize. Then Ranma and Akane get pulled into a martial tea ceremony battle to help a stranger, Sentaro, get out of an unwanted arranged marriage (and because Ranma can't stand to not win at any martial arts contest). Finally, Shampoo, Akane, and female Ranma compete for the title of Miss Martial Arts Take Out, and inadvertently, the title of Tatewaki Kuno's number one girl.