What I'm Reading: January 4-10 and October 29-December 12, 2021

While I do think that my ongoing posting about my reading throughout the year has eased some of the pressure during the holidays to write about everything, I do still have a lot of catching up to do. Time to post about as many books as I can once again. I do promise that there'll be one final "What I Read Last Year" post as usual, but the format will be a bit different.

Here are five books that I read between January 4 to 10 and October 29 to December 12, 2021, in the order that I completed them:

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

210 pages

I read Sourcery back in January and I'd intended to write a full review post for it but month after month crept by without that happening, and then I finally decided that it was time to simplify and abandon that plan.

This book is the fifth one of the Discworld series, and has Pratchett returning to Rincewind and the other wizards already, which is a bit of a disappointment. Frankly, this book about a young sourcerer (eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son--i.e. son of a wizard who broke his vows of celibacy) is probably the weakest Discworld book I've (re)encountered so far. It's just a little too silly, a bit muddled, and overall just meh.

I'm looking forward to getting back to the Witches in the next entry in the series.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

after 367 pages

This is one of those family saga types of novels in which there are multiple timelines and scandalous information is hidden from the reader until the last possible second. I got to the end of I think the second part of the book, had a bad feeling about some of the upcoming content, and decided that I didn't need bad feelings in my life right now for various reasons, so I'd stop reading. Up till then, I certainly didn't mind it. I think Morton, who is Australian, does a good job handling her Australian and English characters and settings, as well as handling the different time periods that she's juggling (at least as far as I read).

I've since read some spoilers about what happens in the novel and discovered that my fears were possibly unfounded, but haven't had the urge to pick the book back up again. This is especially a shame because it was a book club selection.

The Sabres of Paradise by Lesley Blanch

after 248 pages

A case, I think, of right book, wrong time. Blanch's book about Russia vs. the Caucasus (and a fascinating figure called Imam Shamyl) started with a bang but I just didn't have enough time to read this as fast as I think it deserves/needs. Blanch jumps all over the place in her timeline, which is really hard to follow if you're only reading a few pages per day like I was (due to having other stuff to do).

Blanch is extremely good at setting the scene for the action of the book, and her descriptions make me want to visit the Caucasus someday, if the political situation ever calms down (based on the description of the region in the book, this is somewhat doubtful).

I heard of this book as being one of the major inspirations for Frank Herbert's Dune, which is obvious from the first page and honestly the first sentence. The Fremen are clearly very much modelled after the Caucasians of this period. It's possible that someday I'll pick this one up again or try another one of Blanch's works, because I'm disappointed I didn't make it to the end of this one.

Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton

202 pages

I continue to read self-help-flavoured books regarding simplification and downsizing/decluttering. This one describes the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, which is something like embracing impermanence and the beauty of imperfection. It's kind of complex. This book is less about decluttering your house and embracing its imperfections as it is about just learning how to simplify and live in the moment. I think? It was fine but not terribly memorable.

Irredeemable Vol. 2 by Mark Waid and Peter Krause

112 pages

The second volume of this "Superman, but evil" series. The Plutonian's former team of heroes tries to figure out how they can possibly beat him, and he continues to kill more people. We found out what may have finally driven him over the edge from good to evil, and about some other shenanigans that were going on behind the scenes of the good old days.

Will I get to Vol. 3 before the end of this year!? Stay tuned.

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