Saturday, August 04, 2007

Absent a Rearguard

Twisting an adage, I have been throttled by the weather as of late. Decomissioned is too neat a fit for my collapse. I am improving and i have enjoyed reading all of Edward Crankshaw's book on the preconditions of the Russian revolution. It was both popular and snide, reflecting its mid-1970s hawkish pose. I did enjoy it, especially comparing several historical episodes from Crankshaw's perspective as well as contemporary historians Niall Ferguson and Orlando Figes.

That said I have been errant especially as of late. Over the last three weeks, the Grass memoir is the only book which has both captivated me and kept me for its duration. Perhaps declining health and spiking stress led me to abandon Angus Wilson, John Cowper Powys and Mervyn Peake before completion, I can't say for sure.

Some minor research aroused an interest in genre writing in translation. The poster child remains Boris Akunin, whom I discovered is actually a pseudonym, B -- Akunin: interesting, no? Also, the author is a professor of Japanese studies in Russia and that Akunin means bad guy in Nipponese. I looked at numerous folks including Fred Vargas, a female medievalist from France -- I can't do it: not now.


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