I know, I know, I’m a bit late this month with my reading round-up. So, let’s agree on these posts being a first-Sunday-of-the-month feature and pretend that nothing happened. Now, onto brighter things, I set out to read at least twelve books this year and I’m happy to say that I have already achieved that humble milestone in May. Twelve books a year is not much, it is only a book a month after all, but with a toddler running around all day long and a newborn baby it seemed like quite a challenge back in January. And only five months later it is done. Maybe I underestimated myself or maybe I have been blessed with another sleepyhead in the family. More probably the latter.
Anyway, back to books, here’s what I read last month.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling. Oh, what an ending to then series. HP might not be the most literary books but they’re still grand. And addictive. Even if I knew what the end would be, as I have watched the films many times, I simply couldn’t put the book down. Harry is still a bit of a selfish, arrogant teenager who thinks that the world revolves solely around him (okay, it actually does in a way) but he’s a bit more likeable here than in the previous three books. Though this might be only because Hermione and Ron share his burden and play a bigger role in this final adventure. Snape’s redemption is simply brilliant and I cannot get over the fact that Harry doesn’t acknowledge Snape’s sacrifice and help with a single word. Thank you, J. K. Rowling, for putting things back to right in the eight movie and that Cursed Child play.
- The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. This has been long touted as the next best thing in science fiction. And granted, it is good and imaginative and different but it is not that good. At least not from a literary point of view. It is a bit of a mishmash of styles and there are a few loose ends, particularly regarding the family relations of the characters, but nothing too important. Anyway, I liked the story and I think it is a great thing that a Chinese novel has made it so far in the usually knit-tight bookshelves for English speakers, who are not too accustomed to translations.
I read a bunch of flash stories while I was on holidays two weeks ago but none of them really stood out. So my only recommendation from last month is Carnival 9, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #225, May 11 2017). I am quite a fan of her writing and whenever I see that she has a new story out I go and read it. And this one didn’t disappoint at all; it’s both beautiful and meaningful. You can read it here or listen to the podcast.
Finally, here are a few links to bits and pieces which you might find interesting. This month is all about flash fiction. First of all, a brief guide for writing flash fiction stories which includes a short list of e-zines that publish flash fiction. If you want to dig deeper into what flash fiction is, here’s an article that goes straight to its core and introduces all the necessary elements to a great flash story. And finally, if you’re still not sure whether writing flash fiction is a good idea or not, here’s an article giving you three reasons to do it.
And a little extra this month. After reading Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows, I became aware that there was much more to the story than a simple fantasy world populated by witches and wizards and els and goblins and giants and and and. I realised that this fantastic world was somehow a metaphor for some historical past that resembled greatly the Third Reich. I had never found such similarities in the films, and indeed, this might be clear only in the books because when I discussed this theory with some other HP fans they thought I was flipping. Nevertheless, a quick search on the internet proved I was not alone and many studies had already been done on the subject of politics in Harry Potter. So here’s a very insightful article into Harry Potter and its relation to Nazi Germany.
Now, that’s really all for now. Hope you enjoy these links and stories. And let me know what you’re up to bookwise in the comments.
Have a sunny June!