Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
vodkafan

Vodkafan's 2020 New Reading start

Recommended Posts

 Welcome to my 2020 New Start !

What's new this year is that I have a kindle again after three or four years without one.  I plan to re-read many old favourites , get my teeth into several old classics and indulge in the best of new fiction too. Let's get to it!

 

(k) denotes kindle ebook
® denotes book read primarily for research purposes
 keeping the same simple rating system this year:
1/5: I didn't like it
2/5: It was okay
3/5: I liked it
4/5: I really liked it
5/5: It was amazing!

 

 

 

January

A Wizard of Earthsea   4/5

The Tombs of Atuan    4/5

The Farthest Shore      4/5

Tehanu                          4/5      all by Ursula K Le Guin

Convenience Store Woman     5/5   Sayaka Murata

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Edited by vodkafan
addition

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The OLD TBR Pile organised! A lot of these were in my Amazon account for the kindle, so they haven't moved for the last three years!

 

Victorian authors, obscure works and classics

 

The Poor Gentleman                                     Hendrick Conscience    

Two On A Tower      

The Return Of The Native

A Laodician

A Pair Of Blue Eyes

Jude The Obscure

The Woodlanders

Far From The Madding Crowd                         all above by

The Mayor of Casterbridge                             Thomas Hardy 

Post Haste                                                    RM Ballantyne           

Autobiography Of Anthony Trollope

Lady Anna

Miss Mackenzie                                                4 above by

Twelve Years A Slave                                    Solomon Northup         

Letters Of Two Brides                                       Balzac                   

Birds Of Prey

Charlotte's Inheritance

Run To Earth A Novel

The Doctor's Wife

Lady Audley's Secret                                    Mary Elizabeth Braddon 

Little Dorrit                                                    Charles Dickens

The Mill On The Floss

Madame Bovary

Tess of The d'urbervilles

Lady Susan

   Thoughts On The Education Of Daughters

The Last Man

Maria, Or The Wrongs Of Woman

Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman

The Perpetual Curate

Equality

Looking Backward 2000-1887

Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Picture Of Dorian Grey Oscar Wilde
Nicholas Nickleby Charles Dickens
The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irvine

Shirley

Bleak House 
The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde 
The Moonstone 
The Woman In White 
Ruth

The Importance Of Being Earnest 
Basil
Les Miserables 
Mrs Oliphant

Confessions Of An English Opium Eater Thomas De Quincey 

Testament Of Youth                                        Vera Brittain
 

 

 

Books set in Victorian times by modern authors

 

Under A Cloud-Soft Sky

The Singing Winds

Shelter From The Storm

Snow Angels

The Road To Samarcand                                 Patrick O'Brian 

 

 

 

Reference works and 18th-19th century history, social history

 

London The Biography                                Peter Ackroyd

The Dictionary Of London

Raj Lawrence James

The Age of Revolution 1789-1848 
The Age Of Capital 1848-1875 
The Age Of Empire 1875-1914 

Slavery A New Global History Jeremy Black
Balti Britain - Ziauddin Sardar

Asians In Britain  400 years of History  Rozina Visram

 

 

       

 

Random must reads

 

 

 

Nice To See It To See It Nice                      Brian Viner 

It's A Small Medium And Outsize World  John Taylor

Connections

Rules For Virgins

The Life And Loves Of A She Devil

The Passion Of New Eve

The Haunted Hotel

Ten Interesting Things About Human Behaviour 

Slave Girl Sarah Forsyth  (autobiography)

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers Paul Hoffman (biography of Paul Erdos) 

The White Mists Of Power Kristine Kathryn Rusch         

I Think I'm OK

Undercover: The True Story Of Britain's Secret Police

King Solomon's Carpet  Barbara Vine

Good Behaviour  Molly Keane

Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
One Day David Nichols

Geisha Liza Dalby
In The Heart Of The Sea Nathanial Philbrick
Spycatcher Peter Wright
The Horse Whisperer Nicholas Evans
The German Invasion Of Norway Geirr H Haarr

Accidents In The Home Tessa Hadley
A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry
Lord Of The Flies William Golding
Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier
Untying The Knot Linda Gillard

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing,
Thursday Next First Among Sequels,
Something Rotten,
The Well Of Lost Plots,
Lost In A Good Book,
The Eyre Affair 
Jasper Fforde

Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson

The Terror 
Round the Bend

Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali 
Nerd Do Well Simon Pegg
The Voyage Out Virginia Woolf 

Renoir My Father Jean Renoir

Shopping, Seduction And Mr Selfridge  Lindy Woodhead

7 Trips Through Time And Space  anthology

Night Watch Andrew m Stephenson

 

 

 

 

SF

Out Of Time-Five tales of Time Travel

Strange Loops

The Time Travel Megapack

The Martian Way Isaac Asimov

The Green Brain Frank Herbert
The Steampunk megapack (26 stories)
Viridis
Lady Of Devices A Steampunk Adventure
Steampunk Erotica

Best New SF 25
Meeting At Infinity John Brunner

 

 


 

Edited by vodkafan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PRIORITY reads to finish off!

 

These are books I started in 2019 but for some reason didn't finish! They are cluttering up my spaces and weighing on me: 

London The Biography  Edward Rutherford

Oryx and Crake  Margaret Atwood

London The Novel Edward Rutherford

The Body  Bill Bryson

The Incredible Human Journey Alice Roberts

Edited by vodkafan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Happy reading for 2020! Hugely recommend both the Wilkie Collins books you’ve got. 

 

You also made me realise I haven’t added my kindle books to my list!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Hayley said:

Happy reading for 2020! Hugely recommend both the Wilkie Collins books you’ve got. 

 

You also made me realise I haven’t added my kindle books to my list!

 

Thanks Hayley! Yes kindle books can soon add up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, vodkafan said:

 

Thanks Hayley! Yes kindle books can soon add up.

 

I think I currently have over 80 books waiting to be read on my Kindle... I did make a bit of a dent in it last year, but have ended up buying more over Christmas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, vodkafan said:

 

Thanks Hayley! Yes kindle books can soon add up.

 

6 hours ago, Raven said:

 

I think I currently have over 80 books waiting to be read on my Kindle... I did make a bit of a dent in it last year, but have ended up buying more over Christmas.

 

I'm a bit scared to count mine but I'm fairly sure it's less than 80, so thanks @Raven, I feel better now :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Happy Reading in 2020, VF :)! It's great you have a Kindle again :D!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Athena said:

Happy Reading in 2020, VF :)! It's great you have a Kindle again :D!

 

Thanks Athena! It's been so long  since I had one I am not quite used to it yet, they have changed a little.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have just today finished the first 4 books of the Earthsea  saga by Ursula K. Le Guin, which my daughter gave me for Christmas in an Omnibus edition. They were very good, I will review them on Saturday when I have more time!.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, vodkafan said:

Thanks Athena! It's been so long  since I had one I am not quite used to it yet, they have changed a little.

 

My Kindle is from 2013, would love to know what the main differences are with the newer Kindles vs. older ones, if you're up for posting about it at some point :). I feel I don't use mine enough to justify buying a new one, but then again maybe I would use it more if I had a new one that wasn't so slow as my Kindle is :giggle2:.

 

14 hours ago, vodkafan said:

Have just today finished the first 4 books of the Earthsea  saga by Ursula K. Le Guin, which my daughter gave me for Christmas in an Omnibus edition. They were very good, I will review them on Saturday when I have more time!.

 

Oooh I'm so glad you enjoyed these books! I've got the first 4 Earthsea books in an omnibus too, it was a gift quite a few years ago, and I've read them several times, loving them each time. I look forward to your review(s)!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Convenience Store Woman       5/5

Sayaka Murata

 

Another Christmas gift book from my daughter. This was a quick read, about 3 hours, I couldn't put it down. It is weird, wacky and hilarious and slightly disturbing, I can't say any more!

Except to urge everyone to go out and buy, borrow or steal this and read it! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎14‎/‎01‎/‎2020 at 7:56 AM, Athena said:

 

My Kindle is from 2013, would love to know what the main differences are with the newer Kindles vs. older ones, if you're up for posting about it at some point :). I feel I don't use mine enough to justify buying a new one, but then again maybe I would use it more if I had a new one that wasn't so slow as my Kindle is :giggle2:.

 

 

Oooh I'm so glad you enjoyed these books! I've got the first 4 Earthsea books in an omnibus too, it was a gift quite a few years ago, and I've read them several times, loving them each time. I look forward to your review(s)!

 

 Thanks Gaia, my new kindle is more than a bit of a mystery to me, I was trying to get to grips with it today.

I feel sure I will read the Earthsea books again, there was much to savour in them. Will review on Saturday!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, vodkafan said:

Convenience Store Woman       5/5

Sayaka Murata

 

Another Christmas gift book from my daughter. This was a quick read, about 3 hours, I couldn't put it down. It is weird, wacky and hilarious and slightly disturbing, I can't say any more!

Except to urge everyone to go out and buy, borrow or steal this and read it! 

 

Oooh excellent! I bought this book recently. I'm glad you liked it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have that Earthsea collection too, I’ve just got the last one left to read but I’ve loved the first three. They really have something special about them don’t they? Looking forward to reading your review!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/01/2020 at 2:01 PM, vodkafan said:

PRIORITY reads to finish off!

 

These are books I started in 2019 but for some reason didn't finish! They are cluttering up my spaces and weighing on me: 

London The Biography  Edward Rutherford

Oryx and Crake  Margaret Atwood

London The Novel Edward Rutherford

The Body  Bill Bryson

The Incredible Human Journey Alice Roberts

 

Is that Peter Ackroyd's book topping the list? 

 

Your whole to-read list looks really interesting.  If I had just one book to pick out as a particular favourite from those I've read on your list, it would probably have to be Barbara Vine's King Solomon's Carpet, but there are other goodies as well (Rebecca, for instance, was a recent 'discovery', far better than I had anticipated from previous du Maurier reading when read with my book group last year). Looks like we've got quite a few Victorian novels in common on our TBR lists, so I'm looking forward to following your thoughts on them.  Equally, will be interested in what you make of the Ackroyd, plus the Hobsbawm books, as both have sat on my shelves for years, but I've never got around to them; Hobsbawm in particular is rather daunting.  Although I own, use and enjoy a Kindle, I seem to have gone back more to reading physical books - although the Kindle is very useful when travelling!  Anyway, all the best with the year's reading.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Willoyd. Oops yes that should have been Peter Ackroyd of course, well spotted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 A Wizard of Earthsea              4/5

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

I had heard of Le Guin  of course, but somehow had only managed to read one of her books  before now (The Left Hand Of Darkness) way back when I was a teenager, which I had enjoyed but found markedly different to all the SF I was reading at the time, by authors such as Roger Zelaney, Damon Knight, Samuel Delaney, Jack Vance, Asimov. I put this down to being a female voice, which when I lost myself in the main character made me feel the story events in a totally different way.  It was something I kind of wondered at.

Fast forward forty plus (cough) years and here thanks to my daughter I have that voice in my head once again.

(General overview, no plot spoilers!)

This first book is a Bildungsroman and introduces us to both the central character (of all the first four books) and to the fantasy world of Earthsea. Earthsea is a world of perhaps a thousand islands, large and small in a vast archipelago surrounded by navigable seas. The level of technology is in the early iron age I guess although not too much use seems to be made of metal. Wooden sailing ships which trade between islands are the only method of transport.  It is a human world, and there are a few different human types and several languages. The default physiology is brown skinned, and the only white skinned people live in the North East  Kargish islands. They are a bit aggressive at times. There are also Dragons, (proper fire breathing ones) , an ancient race who mostly keep to themselves. There is also magic. Low level magic is everywhere. Most ships carry a weather maker who can put wind into the sails, and every village has a witch. However, there are only a few hundred proper Sorcerers, who learn their craft at the Institute on Roke, the island of wizards.

The boy Ged, a simple goatherd shows early promise and is after some time with a kindly Mage is sent to Roke.  He is gifted but not yet wise and early in his training is goaded into doing something truly terrible.  I won't say anymore than that.

I found the writing style very gentle and unhurried, but never slow; it keeps up a tension. It was satisfying in that as a reader I could see the seeds of  conflict brewing, while the characters in the story could not, which kept me reading. We are often told that good writing should "show, not tell" but Le Guin breaks this rule; she is a "teller".  Dialogue is used adequately; the characters say what is needful but no more.  But it works. 

Edited by vodkafan
addition

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Tombs Of Atuan     4/5

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

The second book of the Earthsea series.  The titular tombs are mentioned a couple of times in the first book,  but at first there seems no connection at all with the main character of that book, in her unhurried style the author tells the story of a completely new person to the same small level of detail.  Which confused me no end,  I wondered if Ged would not show up at all and maybe all four books were each based around a different character? But  Le Guin knows what she is doing and this story is as rich and enjoyable as the first.

We find in this story that there are different forces in the world, the Wizards of Roke are not all powerful.

The first book reminded me a bit of Jack Vance's Dying Earth series ; this one did even more so. I think it was that the use of magic is very structured. It is well thought out, there are rules and logic to it. 

Edited by vodkafan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Farthest Shore                         4/5

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

Book number three is different again.  Time has jumped forward a lot of years. There have been some changes in the world since the events of The Tombs Of Atuan, but now something has happened, something very bad, emanating from somewhere on the edge of the world in the far West .  It is spreading outwards and Eastwards slowly like a plague .  A young prince is sent to Roke  by his father to offer his services.  But the council of the arch wizards of Roke are undecided of what action to take, or whether to take any at all; safe in their island where magic is strong they hope it may sort itself out.

The Archmage Sparrowhawk disagrees; something must be done .  He suspects it is no pure accident that the prince is the one who came to warn them. But although brave, the boy is young and untried: will he be up to the task?

In this one we learn a lot more about the ancient dragons and their power.

Plot wise,  there is a sub-plot which I saw the ending of from about a quarter of the way in, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment. 

Edited by vodkafan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tehanu     4/5

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

This book follows on directly from events in The Farthest Shore, but luckily I don't  have to allude to any of that, because this book ploughs a different furrow.  Out of the four, this book is notably by far the most female book. The main characters are all women, their interactions and relationships are examined.

The men are either ignorant (ie they don't listen ) or they have lost their powers and are enfeebled, or are simply bad.

Through the characters the author discusses much the basic differences between men and women. As far as the world of Earthsea is concerned, we learn that Male and Female magic is different and comes from a different source; women's magical power seems to be innate  to them, while men have to learn it and give up something big in exchange. Despite this, only men are taught the high magic of Sorcerers,  there has never been a female Sorcerer.

(Much like every woman can cook but only men get to be a Michelin chef. )

It was a very satisfying book and everything went full circle and wrapped up pretty well.

I have heard there are two more  Earthsea books, but it feels like these characters have done their bit, so perhaps their stories have finished?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I loved reading your reviews! Yes, there are two more Earthsea books. One is a short story collection, the other a novel. I haven't read either one yet so I'm really not sure if they'll be as good as the first four. I really enjoyed reading your reviews, I'm glad you enjoyed these books and that your daughter inspired you to read them :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Athena said:

I loved reading your reviews! Yes, there are two more Earthsea books. One is a short story collection, the other a novel. I haven't read either one yet so I'm really not sure if they'll be as good as the first four. I really enjoyed reading your reviews, I'm glad you enjoyed these books and that your daughter inspired you to read them :).

 

Did you think I had them about right? Did you feel the same about the last book being much more female?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  



×