WWW Wednesday 2-27-13

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?

I’m slowly making my way through the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Pevear and Volokhonsky do stunning translations of Russian classics. I stumbled onto their translation of Anna Karinina — a book I never thought I’d want to read — in a guest house a few years back and now am chasing down their other work.

• What did you recently finish reading?

I recently read Tana French’s series of police procedurals set in modern Ireland: In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, and Broken Harbor. While these books are related, she changes the point of view character each time. The principal character in each book is a police detective who is significantly affected by the particular crime. These books also give an excellent overview of modern Ireland, with both the prosperity of the Celtic Tiger years and the problems of the Great Recession playing significant roles along with Irish history.
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday. Guns, Germs, and Steel was a great starting point for a theory of why civilizations developed the way they did — and didn’t — so I’m interested in his latest thinking.

What about you? What have you been reading lately? Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell us!



WWW Wednesday 2-27-13 — 14 Comments

  1. I’m 61% of the way through Les Miserables, which I started reading so that I’d know what everyone who’d seen the movies was talking about. (So far my plans to see that movie have been derailed by a snowstorm, sickness and a super-blizzard. I think that I’d better just buy the DVD.)

    I remember loving most of The Brothers Karamazov when I was in college–enough to make me go on a Dostoyevsky binge, despite being irritated, from cover to cover, with Alyosha. But I’ve never managed to get through Anna Karenina. I think that it boils down to an unromantic nature. I don’t see the point of throwing yourself under a train for a guy, especially one who’s leaving, anyway…and knowing that she does that at the end makes me unwilling to invest in the beginning and middle.

    The Tana French books sound pretty good. I might look them up at the library.

    • Gehayi, I felt the same way about Anna Karenina, but the Pevear/Volonkhonsky translation really made a difference. The writing is so much livelier than earlier translations. This is similar to a discovery I made about Greek plays when I was in college. I read dull older translations in Freshman English, but then discovered the modern translations by William Arrowsmith and Douglass Parker (because I had the good fortune to take classics in translation from Arrowsmith and Parker). They brought the bawdy jokes in Aristophanes to life.

  2. The Tana French books sound pretty good. I might look them up at the library.

    Thank you! I think I need to investigate those myself. Is this post tagged review? Because I have so many books piled around here that will get read this year or leave unread!

    Finished a fluffy paranormal chick lit called A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft — I liked the familiar, who is a shape shifter and loving modern Boston. Reading Corporate Confidential, as I expect to enter corporate America this year and forewarned is forearmed. Also still reading Japanese Tales, edited and translated by Royall Tyler — great stuff, trying not to rush. They are mostly short tales and full of nuance, I’m barely halfway through the book, but my subconscious wants this for the next series, and keeps nudging steadily.

    Next? The Religion of the Samurai, which appears to tell more history about Buddhism and the detour into Zen than I expected, but it’s grist for the mill. Also Girl of Fire and Thorns, which I need to read before the library demands it back!

    • Cat, you can reserve the Tana French novels in order on the Austin Library website. And the first three are available as ebooks as well as in print. (I’ve taken to checking both ebook and print catalogs and reserving the one with shortest wait time.)

      I’ll have to look at The Religion of the Samurai.

      • Good to know, thanks.

        Samurai was written by Kaiten Nukariya, a professor at two Japanese universities. It has to do with Buddhism coming from China to Japan and how it was then adapted by the Samurai into the Zen tradition. Since my 500+ year old character had to abandon his own people’s traditions, his being trained as a Samurai is important to who he has become.

        It’s dryer than I might have wanted, but he’s writing in English, so all things considered, it’s proving interesting. Do you know anything about Dojo Wisdom? I spotted it at Half Price and picked it up because I needed a way for him to train a magic apprentice in some of his core beliefs simply, because the student is mentally ill from a magic outbreak. I’m wondering if this is going to be useful — Jennifer Lawler is a black belt and wrote Martial Arts for Dummies, among other nonfiction books.

        • Don’t know the book Dojo Wisdom, but I think looking at martial arts training would be constructive. I’ll try looking through some of my martial arts books. It seems to me that Richard Heckler has written a couple of things you might find useful.

  3. Cat,

    The author of Dojo Wisdom, Jennifer Lawler, is a good friend of mine if you need a contact. Besides the black belt, she also edited the martial arts magazine ATA World for years. Alas, I have not read Dojo Wisdom.


  4. I listened to the first Tana French book when it first came out but haven’t heard the others. I need to look them up, either ebook or audio.

    I also need to take notes on these good translators y’all are listing so if I ever decide to get more culchered I’ll know where to begin!

  5. Read: Velveteen Vs. The Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire
    Reading: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century by Tom Shippey
    To Read: Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson