What I Just Finished Reading

The Legacy of Lhasa – Anna Hestler
While this volume is certainly visually attractive, its discussion of Tibetan iconography never rose above the superficial, and thus disappoint.

Followed by Frost – Charlie Holmberg
Yes. This is what I want from a fantasy novel. I was concerned in the early chapters that Holmberg was setting up an all-too-typical plot that's a particular squick of mine, but I needn't have worried. What she wrote instead is a little gem of a story, with likeable characters and a narrative arc that foregoes attempts to be a sweeping epic in favor of telling a less grandiose story very well. That the novel incorporates multiple narrative kinks of mine—exile, found families, language acquisition, sign language, reconciliation—is just the icing on the cake.

Inda – Sherwood Smith
This one just never clicked with me. It's the fantasy novel equivalent of a hoarder's house: so crammed with needless things you can't move. Smith introduces so many characters she can't focus on any of them, with the result that she has to tell, tell, tell readers about their personalities and motivations. The end result is that they're less like people than paper dolls Smith can dress up in whatever clothing she requires to move to plot forward. I didn't really care what happened to any of them. It's too bad; this could have been a compelling novel if she'd reined in its focus.


What I Am Currently Reading

The Original Dream – Nukila Amal
There's some nice imagery in the first two chapters, although I hope the entire novel is not written in their stream-of-consciousness vein.

Japan and Korea – Frank Carpenter
Thus far, the author has discussed the changes he's witnessed over 30 years in Tokyo. It's good stuff.

The Strangler Vine – M.J. Carter
Yes, again. I am counting down the days until the third novel's US release.

The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
This novel has an intriguing premise: orphaned master thieves operating in an alternate reality Venice. It's the tone that's not working for me: Lynch tries for a sardonic worldliness that largely falls flat, and he can't make up his mind whether to write the narration and dialogue in quasi-archaic constructions or Deadpool-style wisecracks.

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom – John Pomfret
In this week's chapters, we begin to follow the Communists' rise.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones – Paul Reps & Nyogen Senzaki
I've wrapped up the first volume in this anthology and moved on to its translation of the Mumonkan. It's definitely a dated translation, but still surprisingly readable.

Don't Be A Jerk – Brad Warner
Don't Be A Jerk is Warner's rescension of Eihei Dogen's Shobogenzo into modern, informal English. I'm still in the early chapters, but thus far it's avoided all the obvious pitfalls such an endeavor could fall into.

The Light and Shadow Tarot – Brian Williams & Michael Goepferd
On to the two's this week. Reading the volume this slowly has made me realise how much less attention Williams pays to these middle sets in the Minor Arcana.

How Computers Work – Ron White & Tim Downs
I'm still in the early, text-heavy chapters but already enjoying this very much.

세상에 없는 아이– 김미승 (Sesang-e Eomnun Ai – Kim Misung)
It is an engaging read, but like much Korean writing, lord is it dark.


What I'm Reading Next
I'll either continue to wrap up these volumes or return to some of the books that dropped off the pile this week.

これで以上です。
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