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Reading report for July 2014

I read 12 books in July, most of them fairly quick reads due to either being short or having a lot of pictorial content. None were rereads and 10 were TBR, meaning I am now several books ahead in the TBR challenge, with only 18 books to go. However, I don't plan to go slacking off, and neither am I going to push the number of challenge books up - I am simply going to finish the challenge and by then I will hopefully be in the habit of choosing more of my owned books to read and fewer loan books. If all goes well, I might push the limit higher next year.



If you wonder at seeing the same title twice, it‘s because I read two different editions of the same book. I jump at the chance to buy second-hand guide books of places I have visited or plan to visit one day, figuring that although they may be old, the important information, that about the old buildings, monuments, state museums and works of art, remains mostly valid, even if the information about hotels, restaurants, opening times, currency exchange, etc. has expired. This is because I prefer to read the guides at home while preparing to travel and then rely on locally available information when I get to where I am going. Also, if the books are old and cheaply bought, I don‘t need to hesitate to clip information, photos, maps and illustrations out of them to take with me and even paste into my journals. It saves considerable weight, I can tell you, if the guidebook is big (e.g. Lonely Planet's India guide), to simply cut it up and only bring the parts you need.

So, when I came across an All Venice guide book second hand, I bought it, not remembering that I already had a newer edition of it at home. When I realised this I compared the two and saw there were two different authors, so I figured there might be some differences between the two, and there were. Some of the images had been reused in the newer book and so had bits of the text, but the focus had changed slightly and there was more information in the new book, including a map of Venice. I think I will keep both, as the photographs in the older edition are quite charmingly quaint, what with the sixties fashions worn by the people in them and the sometimes strange colours in the prints.

I enjoyed all the books I read in July, but the standouts were Skuggasund and the two Far Side collections, The Far Side Gallery 4 and Cows of Our Planet. I already reviewed the former, and I don’t think the genius of Gary Larson needs any additional praise, but if you aren’t familiar with the Far Side, go find one of the books and read it.

 I also want to mention Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, which I think was recommended to me by George, who occasionally drops by the blog to comment and recommend books. I finally read it after buying it soon after it was first published. It marks a return for me to reading about my field of work and I found a number of the things Bellos discusses in it interesting and thought-provoking. This especially applies to the two chapters on my twin areas of professional expertise: legal translation and EU translations.

One book was somewhat disappointing: The Widow Clicquot. So little seems to be known about the famous widow that her life could have been fitted into a couple of chapters, and the author has the annoying habit of stating on every other page that the widow “must have” done or thought this or that (the wording differs, but it still gets annoying after a while). However, her story is filled out with the history of champagne-making and events in French history, which makes the book worth reading.

The Books:
  • Arnaldur Indriðason: Skuggasund . Murder mystery, detective story.
  • David Bellos: Is That a Fish in Your Ear?. Translation theory.
  • John Burke: Life in the Castle in Medieval Times. History.
  • Jayne Castle: Bridal Jitters. Romantic suspense, urban fantasy.
  • Emi Kazuko (text); Yasuko Fukuoa (recipes) : Japanese Cooking: The traditions, techniques, ingredients and recipes. Cookery book.
  • Gary Larson: The Far Side Gallery 4 and Cows of Our Planet. Humour, cartoons.
  • Tilar J. Mazzeo: The Widow Clicquot. Biography, history.
  • Eugenio Pucci: All Venice. Guide book.
  • Philip Pullman: Lyra's Oxford. Novella.
  • Vittorio Serra: All Venice. Guide book.
  • Joe Simpson: Touching the Void. Memoir, survival tale.



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