Book reviews, reading projects and general reflections: a blog devoted to my love of all things literary.

I’ll be trying to be varied in terms of topics, genres and periods, with a determined focus on staying (somewhat) up to date with recent publications.  Overall, however these are probably going to be a highly subjective selection of the best of what I’m reading.  I’m a big fan of Jane Austen and am following her lead:

‘Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can’

This is my way of saying that I’m only really interested in reviewing books I enjoyed.  This blog is for recommendations rather than reviews; it’s where I’ll be writing about the books that I want to remember!

I’m also using this site to keep a record of more specific reading projects I’ve set myself.  You can see my reading hints for anyone wishing to tackle Zola’s fantastic 2o novel Rougon Macquart cycle,  I’ve also recorded my conclusions after years of loving Gothic literature.  In 2015, I saw what I’d learn through reading the Russian classics in chronological order.  It’s all been hugely enjoyable and I’m open to suggestions for future reading projects.

Recommendations of other books I might like are very welcome!  You can contact me at shoshibookblog@gmail.com or through the blog comment feed.

13 Responses to About

  1. mouse says:

    Mysterious! 😉

  2. drlee says:

    Your book blog is very interesting. I have similar interests. I have recently completed 19 of the 20 Rougon-Marquart novels. The only remaining is Dr. Pascal. My advise with this and with Russian literature is to seek out and read the best translations possible. I have been very careful about this and have read many of the books more than once as I discover better translations. I have noticed you have many of the older translations on tour reading list.

    In general, for Zola, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy the Victorian or early 20th century era renditions are inferior to those made after Mid-century. For Russian literature Pevear and Volokonsky avoid the heavy British idiom that mars so many translations.

    I could go on at length about translations, suggestions, and the substance of these great books, thank you for presenting this blog.

    • shoshi1 says:

      Thank you for your comment. I remember putting off reading Dr. Pascal for ages because I didn’t want to find myself with no new R-M novels to read! Like you, I also enjoyed the opportunity to re-read as I discovered new translations. I now have two copies of ‘Pot Bouille’, one for the cover and because it was such an unexpected find in a 2nd hand book shop, and one for the translation.

      I think my naivety with the Russian translations is because the only golden-age Russian classics I’d read before starting this project were Gogol, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. They’re such fantastic writers, even the dated translations I’ve always read have been great – but after your tip I’ll know which translators to look out for.

      Please let me know which other writers you’d include in a list of Russian greats. The next three on my list are Chernyshevsky (for political rather than literary reasons), Tolstoy (obviously) and Nicolai Leskov (trans. Ian Dreiblatt), but of course this is subject to change due to my ever-increasing knowledge of the Russian literary canon.

  3. cocoaugustina says:

    Well, I think I might just need some help on how to finish (or you know… even really BEGIN) the Rougon-Marquart series. There’s something intimidating about it. Maybe because there’s so many of them. I look forward to reading more!

  4. It took me several books before I realised what I’d got myself into, but by then I was hooked. I’d recommend starting with topics that take your fancy (trains, capitalism, shopping…) before moving on to the others. On my page about Les Rougon Macquart: The Novels I’ve given the main themes/ideas in each book which may be helpful as a place to start.
    I think I stopped being intimidated when I saw some of the fantastic pulpy covers from the 1960s, all heaving bodices and garish colours, they reminded me how much of Zola’s work was considered trashy sensationalism at the time. Which novels have you read so far?

  5. Hurrah! Another Russian lover. Glad i found you, I shall come back and peruse some more

  6. Please do! I’ve recently updated my Russian reading page at https://shoshibookblog.wordpress.com/russian-literature/ with a rather intimidating itinerary, but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking out for more recommendations!

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂 I’ve only read a couple of your reviews and they are great. Looking forward to more!

  8. Pingback: The Infinity Dreams Award | Poppy's Best of Books

  9. The Disobedient Author says:

    Hi there, I recently published a new novel in Tajikistan. I know this is not Russia per se, but as it is the former USSR and a section of the book is set in Moscow, I still thought it might be of interest. Here is an interview that I did with the RFERL last week: http://rus.ozodi.org/content/article/27675288.html#hash=relatedInfoContainer (in Russian). Please contact me or check out my blog for more info on the book. I am happy to ask the publisher to send you an ARC. Thanks, Annika

  10. The Disobedient Author says:

    Sorry, I forgot to say, the book is called ‘The Disobedient Wife’!!!

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