Friday, 30 December 2011

Also read in 2011

The Man Who Knew Too Much – W Howard Baker
Swords Against Wizardry – Fritz Leiber
Artemis Fowl And The Atlantis Complex – Eoin Colfer
Enchanted Glass – Diana Wynne Jones
The Game – Diana Wynne Jones
Murder In The Sun – Jack Trevor Story
Down With Skool – Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
How To Be Topp – Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
Whizz For Atomms – Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
Back In The Jug Agane – Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
Terror Keep – Edgar Wallace
Unexpected Magic – Diana Wynne Jones
I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream – Harlan Ellison
A History Of Monks House And Village Of Rodmell – Julie Singleton
Slaughtermatic – Steve Aylett
Between Fantoine and Agapa – Robert Pinget
The Empire Of A Thousand Planets – Mezieres & Christin
That Voice – Robert Pinget
Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor – Mervyn Peake
The Old Man Dies – Georges Simenon
Maigret And The Minister – Georges Simenon
Maigret And The Young Girl – Georges Simenon
The Secret Kingdom – Jenny Nimmo
Maigret’s Little Joke – Georges Simenon
Maigret And The Old Lady – Georges Simenon
Pure Dead Magic – Debi Gliori
Maigret And The Headless Corpse – Georges Simenon
Maigret’s First Case – Georges Simenon
Maigret Takes A Room – Georges Simenon
Maigret’s Failure – Georges Simenon
Maigret And The Man On The Boulevard – Georges Simenon
The Others – Georges Simenon
Maigret And The Loner – Georges Simenon
Pure Dead Wicked – Debi Gliori
Maigret’s Memoirs – Georges Simenon
Maigret In Society – Georges Simenon
Maigret Loses His Temper – Georges Simenon
The Window Over The Way – Georges Simenon
The Magic Drum – Emma Tennant
Maigret’s Pickpocket – Georges Simenon
Maigret And The Nahour Case – Georges Simenon
Maigret Stonewalled – Georges Simenon
The White Cottage Mystery – Margery Allingham
The Crime At Black Dudley – Margery Allingham
Mystery Mile – Margery Allingham
Look To The Lady – Margery Allingham
Police At The Funeral – Margery Allingham
Sweet Danger – Margery Allingham
Death Of A Ghost – Margery Allingham
Flowers For The Judge – Margery Allingham
Maigret And The Hundred Gibbets – Georges Simenon
Dancers In Mourning – Margery Allingham
The Case Of The Late Pig – Margery Allingham
The Fashion In Shrouds – Margery Allingham
Lock 14 – Georges Simenon
A Crime In Holland – Georges Simenon
Mr Campion And Others – Margery Allingham
A Face For A Clue – Georges Simenon
Traitor’s Purse – Margery Allingham
Coroner’s Pidgin – Margery Allingham
More Work For The Undertaker – Margery Allingham
The Tiger In The Smoke – Margery Allingham
The Beckoning Lady – Margery Allingham
Hide My Eyes – Margery Allingham
The China Governess – Margery Allingham
The Mind Readers – Margery Allingham
Cargo Of Eagles – Margery Allingham
Mr Campion’s Farthing – Youngman Carter
Mr Campion’s Falcon – Youngman Carter
Maigret And The Enigmatic Lett – Georges Simenon
A Battle Of Nerves – Georges Simenon
Maigret Takes The Waters – Georges Simenon
The Friend Of Madame Maigret – Georges Simenon
Maigret In Court – Georges Simenon
Maigret’s Boyhood Friend – Georges Simenon
Maigret At The Crossroads – Georges Simenon
The Sailors’ Rendezvous – Georges Simenon
At The ‘Gai-Moulin’ – Georges Simenon
The Galton Case – Ross Macdonald
Maigret And The Tavern By The Seine – Georges Simenon
The Wycherly Woman – Ross Macdonald
Maigret And The Wine Merchant – Georges Simenon
The 50s & 60s The Best Of Times – Alison Pressley
My Friend Maigret – Georges Simenon
The Zebra-Striped Hearse – Ross Macdonald
The Chill – Ross Macdonald
The Far Side Of The Dollar – Ross Macdonald
Faustine – Emma Tennant
Black Money – Ross Macdonald
Backwater – Dorothy Richardson
334 – Thomas M. Disch
Honeycomb – Dorothy Richardson
The Instant Enemy – Ross Macdonald
Pure Dead Brilliant – Debi Gliori
The Goodbye Look – Ross Macdonald
The Lion Of Boaz-Jachin And Jachin-Boaz – Russell Hoban
The Tunnel – Dorothy Richardson
The Mathematics Of Magic – L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt

A grand total of 139 books read during the year.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin (tr Jamey Gambrell)

It is unusual for me to give up on a book. It has to be very badly written or exceedingly dull. This was both. I know it is not the translation as Gambrell has proven her ability to move a work from one language to another with a great deal of skill and sensitivity to the original. But there’s not much you can do when the original is as bad as this.

All of which has left me wondering. Sorokin is, apparently, highly regarded. He has won literary prizes. Surely it is my judgement that is in error. Or not. Literary prizes, in my opinion, often go to undeserving but safe work. In Sorokin’s case, it has probably gone to someone who put their head a little way above the parapet and got lots of attention for it. It certainly hasn’t gone to them (on this evidence) for their ability to write.

I got part way through the the first book, Bro. It is plodding, dull, almost adolescent in its repetitiveness and peppering of the text with randomly italicised and capitalised WORDS, and by half way I had given up caring about the characters or their story. The potential was there for a story that could have turned the entire history of the Soviet Union inside out, but Sorokin has given no thought to structure or style (or if he did, he made the wrong choice) and ruined his opportunity in a story so dull I literally fell asleep part way through a chapter.

One for the charity shop.