Nerwende ROOTs in 2016
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I'm new here and very glad to have found this group. I was looking for a challenge group but felt that most of them were.... well, a bit too challenging for me at the moment. ;) This place however will hopefully be just what I need to help me get through some of those books that seem to all have the alternative title "to be read one day".
I'm going to start this year with my To Read collection and I've set the goal at 30 titles. There's books in English and in Finnish (some of them translated from English so not necessarily that obscure) and they can be roughly categorised as one or more of the following:
- "I really should have read this already" classics
- read and quite possibly rehome after
- lt early reviewers/member giveaways (too many of those I'm ashamed to say)
- some stories from my favourite authors that I've been "saving for a rainy day" (which I'm now planning on using as rewards if necessary)
Some heavy stuff hiding within those roots... taken in a forest I visit almost daily with my dog. Also this is how little snow we have at the moment!
ROOTs tackled in 2016
* Ingo by Helen Dunmore
* The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien
* 10lb Penalty by Dick Francis
* Shattered by Dick Francis
* Salattuja voimia by Johanna Sinisalo
* Tarina vailla loppua by Michael Ende
* The Monsters and the Critics by J.R.R. Tolkien
* Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Pearl; Sir Orfeo as translated by J.R.R. Tolkien
* Papin perhe by Minna Canth
* Timbuktu by Paul Auster
* Kylän koirat by Veikko Huovinen
* Magical Beginnings edited by Steven H. Silver and Martin H. Greenberg
* Musta rakkaus by Väinö Linna
* Dun Lady's Jess by Doranna Durgin
* Bent by Teri Louise Kelly
* The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall by Chris Dolley
* The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
* Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller
* Nurinkurin by Umayya Abu-Hanna
* Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
* Feral Darkness by Doranna Durgin
* Rendezvous: Where immortals come to play by Elinor Groves
* Pikku Puun kasvatus by Forrest Carter
* Eerikinpojat by Antti Tuuri
* Liavek edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull
* Liavek: The Players of Luck edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull
* Liavek: Wizard's Row edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull
* Liavek: Spells of Binding edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull
* Intian viidakoista by Rudyard Kipling
* Intian viidakoista II by Rudyard Kipling
I like your categories!
I've added a ~relevant photo to the first message and chosen the first book. Is it customary to post the titles beforehand or only after finishing one?
Happy ROOTing 2016
I only count a book as a ROOT once I've read it so I only post titles after the book is finished but again, you can do as you wish. This group is very lenient! Welcome!
I post the books I'm reading when I start them and just mention it when I'm finished and have added them to my ticker and the group ticker. Perhaps you could read a few other threads in this group to get some ideas.
then when I'm done, I add them to the tickers and give them ratings. If I have time (or if it's an early reviewer), I also post a review or mini-review....
I've just finished my first ROOT! A few years ago a family member was cleaning out their bookshelves and gave me Helen Dunmore's Ingo. As I was sorting through my potential ROOTs, I glanced at the first two pages and thought it looked promising enough as an easy and pleasant start. I was wholly expecting it to be sorted as "to be re-homed" later on but now I'm not sure I will be able to let it go! All I can say is, had this book been published and translated a couple of decades ago, it would have definitely been a childhood classic for me. It ticked all the boxes that made me love Narnia, the Dark Is Rising sequence, the Chronicles of Prydain and other tales like those.
This was another great read. The story itself is basically an unfinished first draft of a planned "fix-it" adaptation of Kullervo's story as it was published in The Kalevala but interesting nonetheless. The surrounding notes by Verlyn Flieger explain nicely its significance, but for me (as a Finn), the most enjoyable and fascinating was Tolkien's own essay on The Kalevala, or as he himself called it, "...rather a disconnected soliloquy accompanied by a leisurely patting on the back of a pet volume". :D
Francis was a pretty consistent author, and always before when asked about what one should read from him I've said you can pick any of them for a good example of his work. Well, from now on I'm going to have to amend that with "just don't start with Shattered". I found both the protagonist and the villain inconsistent in character, most of the minor characters unlikely in behaviour and most disappointingly, a lot of the writing just generally not flowing very well. Francis has been my go-to author for nice, well-written, entertaining stories and having read and enjoyed over 30 of them so far it's somehow doubly disappointing to come across a stumble like this. Shattered is his most recent work I've now read (having been published 15 years ago) and I hate to say this, but it has made me very hesitant to pick up the few novels that have been released under his name since. It's probable the change in quality is due to changes in his personal life (his wife Mary, who helped him write his novels, died the same year Shattered was published) but I'd rather keep the good memories of his older books than go on reading if the rest are like this. Luckily I still got two of his really old novels I haven't managed to find a copy of, so there's something to look forward to!
Having said all that, I have to confess I had expected 10-lb penalty be be dull or maybe even difficult for me to follow (the theme being British politics which I know very little about) but it actually turned out to be a straightforward mystery with a refreshingly different (for Francis) protagonist and very light on actual politics -which I understand was a disappointing factor for many readers, so truly a YMMV case.
This is a book about tramping/hiking. It has both fictional stories set on various treks around the world and real-life anecdotes from the author's own journeys as well as some general musings on tramping and even a short chapter on what you need to know before you hit your first trail. It's been divided into geographical sections rather than fact/fiction, so you might read a fictional story set in Alps for example, followed by a real world account from the walk that inspired it and then switch over to Australia and repeat. It's all been clearly marked though and the typography changes between different content as well, so it's not confusing at all.
I can't find any obvious faults in the book, but it still left me feeling a bit disappointed perhaps. It's solidly written and edited, the structure works well, the theme is right up my alley... maybe my expectations were just too high. Or maybe I felt the fictional stories were all too similar (they mostly seemed to deal with characters capable of disturbing and/or violent behaviour and towards the end that theme started to feel a bit repetitive.) I also got the impression that the author's own tramping preferences don't match mine, and especially since a lot of the book focuses on "Swiss-style" tramping, I probably won't be re-reading it. I'd recommend it though. So I think this copy will be looking for a new home.
//can't get the touchstones to work on this one, sorry!
I had somehow managed to completely not even be aware of this book as a kid, although it definitely existed and had been translated. Thinking back, I remember that my local small library had Momo by the same author but somehow I failed to read that one as well (I see a lot of people actually seem to prefer it to this one). I was in my twenties before I even saw the movie! So since I had no connection to this story as a kid, I feel like I shouldn't judge it too harshly as an adult - but instead of finding the world fascinating and rich, it felt over the top and simultaneously paper thin to me. I also feel the pace was too hasty - too much was happening without any chance to pause and reflect on any of it until the very end. Still, I can see why it's a classic and I think I'll keep my pretty copy around to see if my nephew might want to read it in a few years.
Anyway, I had fun reading both of these volumes. It's been over a decade since I purchased Sir Gawain, and I think my English just wasn't good enough at the time so I didn't get far. I still had some difficulties and will probably never wholly understand the nuances of the alliterative stuff on a native level but I found the different rhythms of the three poems surprisingly easy to follow and that helped a lot. (As did cross-referencing Tolkien's essay on Gawain in the other book and browsing Wikipedia and CliffsNotes). And although some of the themes in the essays (namely most of the Beowulf ones as I haven't yet read it) went right over my head, I always enjoy reading his non-fiction writing because he was just so passionate about things that mattered to him (and quite often very funny too!)
Looking at that proudly trotting puppy on the ticker is sooo satisfying! :D
Nice pic of your upcoming reads! It's fun to do that :)
I read a kind of special ROOT today, Papin perhe ("The Pastor's Family") by Minna Canth. Canth was a really important figure in the history of Finnish literature but sadly one that my generation read about in schools rather than read. I've had my mother's copy of this play for a few years now and thought today would be a perfect day to finally familiarise myself with it, as March the 19th is an official Minna Canth day in Finland (she is this far the only woman who has her own national flag day here). Although naturally the language of the play feels a bit old now, I was surprised to find that the characters felt really real and relatable and although the ending was a bit "too good to be true" I was impressed by how many different social issues (many of them still sadly relevant after 120 years) she managed to include in the plot. I think I'm going to make a tradition of reading something by her every year on her day, as a lot of her work is available free through places like the Project Gutenberg and such so I really have no excuse not to!
And then there's Meditations on Middle-earth which used to regularly move from my Tolkien collection to my Robin Hobb (she's one of the authors in it) collection and back again... until I tagged it as part of both on LT and stopped bothering. :)
A quick afternoon read today to strike down one ROOT, Paul Auster's Timbuktu (a very nice Finnish translation). I had received it as a gift years and years ago and I'm afraid it had been selected for me because "it's like, got a dog in it, and you like dogs" and maybe that flippancy and the rather grating cover design had put me off reading it. More fool me, because it was a great read indeed. I found a couple of aspects a bit troubling but overall thought it was solid story.
First of all I was a little confused whether I was supposed to see a link between Willy's mental illness (which seems to be presented as something inevitable) and his family's history. I also thought Mr. Bones makes some out-of-character human judgements. I don't mean his "heightened" skills, just that some of his thoughts sounded too much like a human's. But most of all I was a bit disappointed how short the latter half of the book was, it seemed to me that the writer had only just begun to explore the contrasts in the human cultures that Mr. Bones comes across when the story came to an abrupt end.
Possibly re-homing my copy, definitely with recommendations.
I've had this book for 18 years and based on a bookmark I found it seems my previous read ended (very uncharacteristically for me) in the middle of a chapter about 1/3 through. I'm very glad I picked picked it up again if only to remind me that I should make a point of reading more of this author's works!
I've now added the review for Magical Beginnings.
I'm falling behind on my schedule this month, it would seem. I need to just pick a book and start reading again!
We all fall behind at times, you'll catch up, no worries!
I started a very short book (~170 pages) in May by an author I enjoy a lot but it got depressing super fast (it's the kind of tale where not only rocks fall and everyone dies but you can see it's going to happen after the first few pages and feel so helpless because there's nothing you can do to help the characters) and I made the mistake of putting it down instead of pushing through... and then summer happened and I was too busy/distracted to pick it up again.
However, I picked it up today, finished it and wrote a short review for Musta rakkaus by Väinö Linna. Done and dusted! I need to choose something lighter in tone next obviously! :D
And I'm halfway through to my goal! :)
I finished an early reviewers book, The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall which I didn't have in the original ROOT pool since I only received it this February - but as I'm also trying to empty my er/member giveaway queue, I decided I would count it as a ROOT as well.
I've had a horrible flu this week, but the upside is that after the first two days I got some reading done. The Picture of Dorian Gray which I approached with some caution due to it's status as a classic turned out to be very much worth a read (my copy is a Wordsworth classics edition with an introduction that actually encourages one to read the story first!) and Notes on a Scandal which I thought might be disappointing as I know the plot of the movie by heart but which is so deliciously written I could hardly put it down.
>61 rabbitprincess: Thank you. It's been a very persistent flu, but the worst is definitely over.
And I got another ROOT down. Nurinkurin is an autobiography by Umayya Abu-Hanna, about her childhood and teenage years as a Palestinian girl in Israel. She later moved to Finland and became an award-winning journalist. I was both fascinated and upset by her memories. Her descriptions of geography, people's physical features and especially various foods are really vivid. And the confusion of a small child amidst different cultures and under a constant threat of war, growing up without a strong sense of her own identity came through really well. I see she's written another memoir - I really need to read that one as well.
My first ROOT for October, Mythago Wood, had been gathering dust for six years. I've just finished it, and I'm maybe a bit disappointed. For a book that starts with no less than three pages full of praise from reviewers it fell a bit short on my expectations. I found the first 100 pages or so difficult to get through and even though the pace picked up after that, I kept waiting for something to "click" but it never really happened. There was nothing particularly interesting about the main character and I thought he accepted the extraordinary events too easily. His love interest was a right mess of a character. Additionally, it seems to me that the whole premise of the story only sort of works on a philosophical level, but soon falls apart if examined more closely. Then again, I also disliked the Fionavar trilogy so maybe these "real world myths mixing and mingling in an imaginary one" stories just aren't for me.
Anyway, it's a well written book, likely worth a read for anyone looking for different kinds of fantasy fiction.
I've just finished one more book for this month, the Finnish translation of The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter. Somewhere between getting my copy as a gift years ago and finally reading it in full now I learned the truth about about its author... and I can honestly say I've never been so confused while and after reading a book. I certainly felt a range of emotions reading it and will most likely be mulling over its purpose or meaning for awhile, which I guess means it was worth a read anyway.
My first ROOT for November is Eerikinpojat by Antti Tuuri. Shortest way to describe it would be that it's 300 pages of descriptions of a group of people exiled from the kingdom of Sweden for their religion, sailing along the coasts of the Baltic sea, trying to find a city that would let them in. Bad weather, nasty bureaucrats and religious teachings abound in cycles. The view point character is a young maid from Finland, but the she tells her tale in a very specific passive voice (probably meant to reflect her social status and lack of influence on things that unfold) which together with there being virtually no dialogue just makes her really hard to connect with. According to Wikipedia, this seems to be the first part of a long series although the book makes no mention of that. It's by no means a bad book, just not my style at all so I will be rehoming my copy.
>75 Tess_W: A belated Thank You!
And so I end this year's rooting with the Jungle Book and the Second Jungle Book. I'd been planning these for next year but they happened to fit my schedule around Christmas better than anything else I had around.
They've been translated 4 or 5 times into Finnish and I've read some version as a kid* - my copies are the first translation so there was some amusing old language - which actually gave the story just the right feeling. I enjoyed them as classics, but some of the attitudes towards animals are really outdated - I think a more modern text would have made me feel more bothered about that.
*I should try to sort out and combine the Finnish editions here on LT but it looks like the original ones are a bit of a messy situation as well...
Also, Happy New Year & see you in the new 2017 group!