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2024 Reading Goal

34% complete! taxonick has read 9 of 26 books.

Hernan Diaz: Trust (2022, Penguin Publishing Group) 3 stars

Review of 'Trust' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

3.5*, mostly for the third section, and for the potential that the first and second sections didn't quite reach.
Throughout the second section, and to an extent the third, I felt there were intended connections that I should have been making that I was failing to see. By the 4th section though, particularly with its disappointing, featuring out nothing of an end, I concluded that those connections weren't there at all. I was very much hoping that the fourth section would link us back to the first, and that (without spoilers) we would learn something about the author of the first section, but that didn't happen, Which feels like a missed opportunity.
Looking back on the whole thing now, I feel that this is a book that it's author wanted to be his version of AS Byatt's Possession, but it didn't make it.

J. M Hawes: The Shortest History of Germany (Hardcover, 2017, Old Street Publishing) 4 stars

Review of 'The Shortest History of Germany' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

2.5* rounded up
There.much of interest here, but a presented in a very confused/confusing way - that may be a product if trying to fit 1800 years into a slim book.
The maps are awful.
The focus on Prussia/"East Elbia"/GDR as the root of all evil in Germany feels simplistic, but I don't have enough knowledge of German history to counter it.

I need to read a proper history.

Cixin Liu, Ken Liu, Joel Martinsen: Three-Body Problem Series (2017, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

Review of 'Three-Body Problem Series' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars


Meh. I very much wanted to enjoy this, but was disappointed. The concept is interesting, and the science is fun (and good), but there is something clunky about the style. Maybe that's the translation, or me not being familiar with the writing culture this is from, or maybe it's this book itself - I don't know.
The reason I rounded down to 3 rather than up to 4 is that it just stopped, with no resolution, part way through the story. Yeah, I get that it's the first of three volumes, but I expected a bit of natural closure at the end of this volume.
I doubt I will be continuing with the series.

Review of 'Toy Makers' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

2⅓: 4 for the first third, 1½* for the remainder.

I loved the atmospheric, magical realism, Christmassy start, but the story decayed into incoherence, and was about 50% too long. It's one thing for a story to be deliberately ambiguous in theme and message, but quite another for the author themself to not know what they want to say.

Review of 'Every City Is Every Other City' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

A good 3.5*, rounded up.
I really enjoyed this - much more than I expected to. However, sometimes the three threads it comprises flap around too freely, and get reattached to each other a bit clunkily. Maybe that's the point though, fitting in with the "live is.nit a movie, there is no closure, sometimes coincidences are just that" theme.

Matt Haig: The Midnight Library (Paperback) 4 stars

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go …

Review of 'The Midnight Library' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I choose the life in which I read this 3 years ago, rather than this week.

I loved this as I was reading it, and at first rated it as 4.5, rounded up to 5.
On reflection, though, enjoyable as it was, it was a bit predictable after a while, and it didn't have the merit of being very "actionable" having read it, so I'm dropping it to 4*.

It's probably still my most enjoyable read of 2023, though.

Maggie Shipstead: Great Circle (Paperback, 2021, Doubleday) 3 stars

From her days as a wild child in prohibition America to the blitz and glitz …

Review of 'Great Circle' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I liked this, and there were many times I thought it edged to 4
, but it had too much of a tendency to ramble off into side alleys.
The flying content was good, the teen sex and irritating Hollywood star sections less so.