Summer reading

The fact of the matter is that I have too many books I haven’t either read or never finished. I love to buy books and I cannot keep up with the pace I buy them. I do have the intention of finishing them off as soon as I’ve bought them, but then some other book grabs my attention and I move on.

So, to actually get myself around to actually reading what I’ve got here, I decided to make a list. One summer won’t certainly be enough to finish it off, seeing as I’ve got some other stuff beside reading to do as well.

Fiction:

Fantasy/Sci-fi:

  • Shadowmarch -quartet, Tad Williams
    • I’ve read the first three years ago, but it took me so long getting my hands on 4, that I’ve forgotten too much to keep reading.
  • Gormenghast trilogy, Mervyn Peake
    • Started a couple summers ago, got sidetracked and never finished.
  • Dune, Frank Herbert
    • And one sequel, though I seem to have misplaced it. Started over a year ago, but was in a mood for a bit easier reading at the time so didn’t finish then. 

Classics:

  • 1984,George Orwell
    • Shame on me, but at least I’ve got it.
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
    • Bought for a bargain price. Part of the “read more classics”-initiative.
  • Alastalon salissa, Volter Kilpi
    • A Finnish literary classic. 800 pages or so spent to describe one day – about 70 pages are spent on a man trying to choose a pipe. Notorious for being difficult to finish.
  • The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • Haven’t much delved into Russian literature past Anna Karenina and Master and Margarita, but let’s fix that?
  • Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • Seen a play of this once, but I guess I was too young then for anything past the stealing and guilty conscience to leave a trace in my memory.  
  • Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
    • I’ve got a lovely edition with both the Old English and Modern versions. Read parts one Christmas. Should really get back to it.

Other:

  • 1Q84 The complete collection, Haruki Murakami
    • Impulse buy from when I got my tattoo. Started it on the way home, but haven’t finished.
  • Dangerous Women 1-3, G.R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, ed.
    • Almost done with 1, took only one sunny day at the summer cottage pier. Easy reading thus far, although not every story’s been to my personal taste thus far.
  • The Hand of Fatima, Idelfonso Falcones
    • I love history fiction, but somehow this book failed to grasp me. Maybe it might have, but I gave up twice under 100 pages in. Third time’s the charm, I hope.
  • Museum of Innocence, Orhan Pamuk
    • I have absolutely no preconceptions of this book. None. Maybe only one thus far listed I have never ever even opened, though it’s been on the shelf for some six months. Very odd, but somehow very refreshing.

I’ll add to this after I give my bookshelf a more thorough comb. For now rather manageable…

Non-fiction:

History:

  • Catherine the Great and Potemkin, Simon Sebag Montefiore
    • I started this one on the train and it starts great, but as usual I haven’t read further. One I’ll certainly like as Romanovs have been a favorite history subject since my early teens.
  • The Romanov Sisters – The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, Helen Rappaport
    • What’s with the names, seriously? In “Romanov”-category.
  • Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari
    • I’ve loved this sort of books since I was a kid. High expectations.
  • The Popes – A History, John Julius Norwich
    • Yet another interest I’ve had for years. For the history aspect, mostly; religion isn’t my thing.
  • My Heart is My Own, John Guy
    • History of Mary Queen of Scots. I bought this from London 2006 and to my immense shame have never gotten past the halfway point.
  • The Good Wife’s Guide – Le Ménagier de Paris, trans. Greco & Rose
    • General interest in medieval life. I’ve read parts of it and it’s very interesting, but to my taste excessive mentions of God and lecturing on the virtues a wife should have while being reminded that men can do whatever. As one should expect, but it gets old after a while.
  • Victoria, A.N.Wilson
    • Of the life and times of Queen Victoria. Read first ten pages or so in the train, should get back to it, seems well researched and thorough yet easy to read.
  • The Inheritance of Rome, Chris Wickham
    • About how Rome had an effect on its former territories even after collapsing. I got around to the collapse of Byzantium the first time around but had to take a break at that point for some reason and never got back to it.
  • Malleus Maleficarum, Heinrich Kramer
  • Geoponika, trans. Andrew Dalby
    • An ancient Greek essay on agriculture, I believe. 

Humanist Sciences:

  • Kuoleman voimat, Kaarina Koski
    • A Master’s thesis (or even a doctorate? I forget). It’s about pre-christian beliefs on spirit-creatures that lasted through to the early years of the 20th century. Finnish mythology is a very interesting field. Should write a post about this.
  • Suomen kansan muinaisia loitsurunoja, Elias Lönnrot
    • Ancient Spell-Poems of the Finnish People would be the title in English. Unfortunately, many of the spell-poems in this book have been christianized – Virgin Mary or Jesus is mentioned in several in place of relevant Finnish deities. I’ve read some poems but haven’t touched some segments at all. Still very interesting.
  • On the Map, Simon Garfield
    • Started, haven’t finished. I love old maps and Garfield writes well, but somehow just got sidetracked.
  • Worse than War, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
    • I have started this I know I have, but I can’t recall anything about it right now. I remember I thought it very interesting but for some reasons abandoned.
  • Poetics and Rhetorics, Aristotle
    • Took this for reading while in Greece. Didn’t read past the first chapter because was too busy doing other stuff while there.
  • Merchant, Soldier, Sage, David Priestland
    • Might be more a history book. On the universal roles of Warrior, Trader and Shaman throughout history in different cultures. Tried to use this as bed reading, was too effective at that time.

This will be a very long list. So I will probably edit more in as I comb through the shelves. Let’s start with these, OK? Great.

I will be taking a veritable library with me to Northern Karelia when we finally get to go there in a few weeks. Nothing else to do but read if the weather is bad and some reading by the lake if the weather is good, so win/win.

I’ll go rearrange the shelves. I think read/not-read this time. Updates incoming eventually.

Update #1:

I added about a dozen entries to the list and divided it in sections. There are still some books I need to add (!?! I know), but at the moment I need sleep more. I’ll get back to you on that later.

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