We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

To be honest, I had never heard of We by Yevgany Zamyatin, but I was looking for a classic in translation and Sci Fi June was on my mind, which led me to We. I found it on a list of 23 Best Non-English Science Fiction Books at Best Sci Fi Books.com. We was first published in 1921 and is one of the grandfathers of the satirical futuristic dystopia genre. Zamyatin, born in 1884, was heavily influenced by the turn-of-the-century Russian revolutions and push for industrialization. His is a history of controversial and critical writings, leading to a series of arrests and exiles: first by the Tsarists in 1905, 1911, and 1914; then by the Soviets in 1919 and 1922; and ultimately in 1931 through a self-imposed retreat from Bolshevik censorship. While We does not directly criticize the Soviets, it was unsurprisingly denied publication in Russia and received the dubious honor of being the first book to be banned by...
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The Overnight Kidnapper by Andrea Camilleri

The Overnight Kidnapper by Andrea Camilleri

The Montalbano series is not one I read/listen to in order. When I'm between books and one is available at the library I pick it up, which is how I ended up listening to The Overnight Kidnapper. It's pretty typical for the series. We have some random, brief kidnappings that Montalbano is looking into, along with an arson, but, in true mystery book style, it's all connected and much more serious than it seems at first, when it turns into a murder investigation. Montalbano is his usual self, amusing and charming in his own way. I think the narrator does a good job with him. We've got the usual sidekicks and I love the way his housekeeper/cook, Adelina, deals with a break-in without losing track of her pasta. I guess I just like the feel of these books, the characters, the setting, the food. The actual mystery in this one was fine, if a little odd. Who kidnaps a woman for just an...
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The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

In 1866, Mark Twain was a travelling correspondent for the San Francisco Daily Alta California and he convince them in early 1967, to provide $1250 to pay his fare on the Quaker City tour of Europe and the Middle East. Throughout the five-month trip, Twain sent 51 letters to the Alta for which he was paid an addiationa $1200. The paper published between August 2, 1867 and January 8, 1868 under the running heading: "The Holy Land Excursion. Letter from 'Mark Twain.' Special Travelling Correspondent of the Alta." These letters, together with seven printed in two New York papers, became the basis for Innocents Abroad, written during the first half of 1868. First, you have to see the route this trip took. It looks like such an amazing trip and hits most of the spots I would love to see one day. I don't think I would want to visit with Twain though. While he is funny in a snarky way and full of historical tidbits, he's...
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The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri

I'm not sure how many Montalbano mysteries I've listened to/read now. They start to run together a little. This one opens with a seagull dying on a beach. This scene comes back later as a kind of vision that helps Montalbano solve the case - which is odd and doesn't feel like it fits with the series. Also out of character is that Montalbano refers  to "that television series" and later the comment "Little surprise that Montalbano couldn't tell Camilleri how the story would end." I don't want my mysteries to be that aware of themselves as fiction, but maybe that's just me. Aside from that, the book was fine. It's been a little while since I finished listening to it and that part that I remember the best is how concerned Montalbano was with finding Fazio, how important it was. And once Fazio's found, keeping him safe becomes important. Montalbano forgets all about Livia, his long-time lover, coming in for a...
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A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri

I've read/listened to several Montalbano mysteries. In A Voice in the Night we've got several of the series standards - corrupt politicians, police who are being pressured for certain results,  good food. Montalbano is a good cop, in that he's not in the mafia's pocket and is not afraid to go against the politicians. He doesn't always stick to the law, though. Both of the mysteries have their twists and turns. I especially liked how the young woman's murder was plotted, even though I felt bad for the boyfriend. As always, I find Salvo amusing and interesting. The title is perfect, it pulls from a pivotal part of the story, one that may not actually put Montalbano in the best light, but does highlight his need to find the real culprit, not just accept what "they" want. I'll definitely read more in the series, but they're not gripping enough to buy; I always borrow them from the library. They are consistent though -...
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The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri

This is the second Montalbano mystery I've listened to in a row. To some extent, I could just copy the review from the last, Game of Mirrors; Montalbano and his circle just don't change that much from book to book. For the most part, it's only the plots that vary. But they're easy, enjoyable listens, and usually available from the library, so I keep coming back to them. This time, it's a kidnapping, but the family clearly does not have enough money to pay a ransom, so who could possibly have kidnapped Susanna? An outsider who doesn't know the family's financial standing, or was she kidnapped for some other reason? The girl has a worried boyfriend and a father who would do anything to have her back. Her mother is on her deathbed and her uncle is doing all he can to help the family. I guessed most of the answer early on, although one piece took me longer. Overall, it's a good story. Camilleri...
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