Wrapping up Epitaph and Moving on to Big Green Tent

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too-many-booksBetween reading and writing, I am falling behind, so let’s get to it….

First of all, a note on the reading list: I’ve switched around the order of the books again and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is locked in as April’s read. Whitehead is my new professional crush, so I don’t think I can wait for midsummer to read his latest book, which won the National Book Award, by the way. If you’re wondering why you should read the book, or if you need some motivation, read this excellent interview with Whitehead on LitHub.com. Can you tell I’m excited about this one?

Second order of business, I never posted on Epitaph last week, and technically yesterday was the last Monday in February, so I guess I still owe my faithful readers at least one (or two) thoughts on Ambler’s spy novel. Here’s my final word on the book: it was not what I expected. I enjoyed it, and I appreciated that it didn’t have the Hollywood ending that I associate with the genre. Without giving up any spoilers, I felt like the character who turned out to be the antagonist was the perfect villain in the end, and the book reaffirmed that a slow-burn mystery can be a fun read. Please feel free to offer your thoughts in the comments.

Now I will move on to The Big Green Tent. In full disclosure, I’m not anywhere near finishing, but I’m pushing ahead with it this month because I’m refusing to fall behind!

But why did I choose this book for my reading list? Probably most of you already know that I love Russian lit. A Hero of Our Time, is in my top ten. Crime and Punishment and Gogol’s The Overcoat and Other Stories are also favorites. I even spent some time this fall reading The Possessed. But maybe I’m just a fan of OLD Russian lit? I realized I haven’t read anything newer than Chekhov. So when I saw that The Big Green Tent had landed on some lists of 2015’s best and I read a few reviews, I thought maybe it was time to modernize my knowledge.

I will say that not much has changed about Russian novels in the past 100-150 years. If I closed my eyes and had someone read this to me, I might have thought Dostoevsky had lived through the middle of the 20th century (at one point in one of the early chapters, I think she even references the death of the historical figures The Possessed was based upon). Perhaps when I’ve had time to really ponder through some of the themes, I will see more distinction between Ulitskaya and her progenitors. But don’t mistake this for a criticism. It’s more a curious observation.

Anyway, enough for tonight. If you are tackling The Big Green Tent, let me know how it’s coming and what you think of it so far.

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