Whoo-hoo, and eclectictales.com is back after a month (and a bit) long hiatus! Blog post scheduling wise, I’m playing catch-up now as a whole slew of reviews from books read last year will be slowly trickling in until mid-April =3
- Books reviewed this month include: Arkady Ostrovsky’s The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War (review), Ian McEwan’s The Children Act (review), and Robert Shearman’s Tiny Deaths (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
- Two ARCs was reviewed this month: Aravind Adiga’s Selection Day (review) and Nick Cutter’s Little Heaven (review). You can check out all of the ARCs I’ve read and reviewed to date in this tag.
- For this month’s So You Want to Read…, I focused on the manga quartet CLAMP, a post that was supposed to go live last month, but anyway. You can check out that post over here. For all my previous recommendations under this feature, check out this tag.
And that’s about it from me and the blog for the month of January! Stay tuned later this week as the blog is about to hit a milestone entering February 😉
The English Teacher
By: Yiftach Reicher Atir
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
After attending her father’s funeral, former Mossad agent Rachel Goldschmitt empties her bank account and disappears. But when she makes a cryptic phone call to her former handler, Ehud, the Mossad sends him to track her down. Finding no leads, he must retrace her career as a spy to figure out why she abandoned Mossad before she can do any damage to Israel. But he soon discovers that after living under cover for so long, an agent’s assumed identity and her real one can blur, catching loyalty, love, and truth between them. In the midst of a high-risk, high-stakes investigation, Ehud begins to question whether he ever knew his agent at all.
In The English Teacher, Yiftach R. Atir drew on his own experience in intelligence to weave a psychologically nuanced thriller that explores the pressures of living under an assumed identity for months at a time.
I came across this book randomly–either from a newsletter from Penguin or a related book website or from Twitter–and the premise and the fact that it was translated from Hebrew was what caught my attention. It sounded like a fascinating read so I picked it up.
(This isn’t the book cover of my edition/the North American edition but I couldn’t find a hi-res version of the book cover I have)
By: Robert Shearman
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
Analyzing the complexity, absurdity, and blessedness of seemingly ordinary people, this debut collection examines the metaphysical assumptions surrounding death. From the end of a relationship to the meaning behind its title, this anthology continually surprises and subverts, utilizing topics such as alien intelligence, reincarnation, imaginary children, and even conversations with Hitler’s childhood pet. Engaging and diverse, this compendium offers a fascinating perspective on mortality.
So fun fact: this was actually the first Robert Shearman book I came across and that I added to my wishlist. It was a wee bit difficult then to get my hands on a copy of it but lo and behold, I finally did indeed get a copy of it so hurrah! 😀 Tiny side note, but how awesome is that book cover? One of my favourites that, coupled with the title of this book, definitely drew my attention in the first place 😛
The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2)
By: Rick Riordan
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.
And here we are, the second book in the Magnus Chase trilogy. I bought books 1 and 2 roughly around the same time, figured best not wait between books 🙂 Plus, there’s something about the colour of this book that was appealing…as well as the title of the book 😛
The January/February edition of Femnista is now live! The topic of this issue was supposed to have been last year but was rescheduled for the new year so here we are. The topic was “Second Fiddle” which looked at the men and women who did not get the hero/heroine of the story at the end of the day. It’s an interesting topic, and naturally (for me, at least) my thoughts immediately went to Henry Crawford from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. I’ve written about it multiple times (here, here, and I think here) but approaching Henry from a viable significant other perspective rather than as an antagonist/mere contrast to Edmund Bertram and you’d see that he was second fiddle, the one who tried to win Fanny’s heart but ultimately fell short.
You can of course read my blog posts on Mansfield Park as my thoughts were a little more expanded there (I think) but the article I wrote for Femnista is a more condensed version:
Almost, But Not Quite: Henry Crawford from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park
And of course, just a bit of shameless pluggage, but you can read all of my previous articles contributed to Femnista via this tag 😉 Happy reading! 🙂