Mini reviews of short books

So, with Ola out on an extended Christmas break it falls to me to make sure there’s something going on on the blog 😉 There will be a “Re-Enchanted 2021” post soon, prepared by both of us some time before, but today I want to talk about two short pieces I read recently, a novella and a small short stories collection. I acquired a nice Christmas tree yesterday, packaged all the presents already, so I’m getting into the seasonal mood – I’ve chosen stuff I really like for today, I don’t want to spoil it 😉

I tried to catch the size of the thing… it’s huge, taking up a third of our living room. Wife wanted a large one, so I hope she’ll be happy when she sees it tomorrow. Although, perhaps, I overdid it a bit… anyway, I tried to carry it home on my shoulders, from a place that’s normally just a 15-minute walk away, but I had to call for help. A friend came and we tried to fit it into his car, we were not able to close the trunk 😉

Anyway, the books…

Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone This Is How You Lose the Time War

209-page 2019 novella, read on Kindle

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Karel Čapek, War with the Newts (1936)

Sometimes I buy a book just because it’s pretty. It can be something I already read and might never re-read, sometimes it’s a new one for me, often it waits years for its turn. Karel Čapek’s War with the Newts I read almost immediately, and I’m quite certain I’ll be revisiting. If not for a full re-read, then at least to browse the illustrations, as this is one of the best-illustrated books I own, not only because the pictures look pretty, but also because they are fully integrated within the story.

I was additionally motivated when I noticed Jeroen from A Sky of Books and Movies started reviewing Čapek, first R.U.R. and then War with the Newts itself. His review is highly recommended as it puts the book in the context of its times and similar genre fiction. I’ll try to add a bit to that, but I’ll concentrate on my edition, one that is sadly only available to Polish and German-reading audiences.


Author: Karel Čapek

Illustrator: Hans Ticha

Title: War with the Newts / Válka s Mloky in the original Czech, also translated as Salamander Wars, but the Polish title of this edition is Inwazja jaszczurów which literally means Invasion of the Lizards

Format: hardcover

Pages: 368

Series: Świeżym okiem (With a fresh eye…) – yay, there will be more of these beautiful editions, next one – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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Just some personal stuff…

Ok, Ola has spilled the beans, so l decided to write a few words about a big event that is taking place this very Saturday. Friends of the blog should not be surprised, I did start referring to my muggle girlfriend as fiancée last year, and I’m a serious guy – I proposed with every intention of actually getting married 😉 Now, and it’s still a bit difficult to believe in, it’s going to happen and so very soon!

The pandemic situation in Poland isn’t bad right now, with less than a hundred new cases daily and most restrictions lifted. Everyone who wanted to get vaccinated – had a chance to do so. There are troubles ahead, as we have a lot of anti-vaxxers and Delta variant is already here. Still, we have time enough for our wedding and a short honeymoon on Santorini 🙂

We had our stag/hen nights, and both were glorious, big thanks once again to all the people involved – and some of them are actually reading Re-E occasionally… I got a genuine sword (made recently, but to medieval specs, a heavy, 1.5 hand piece). Perfect gift, something I craved but would never buy myself!

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Two months with Kindle

Kindle broke me! Or, to be precise, it broke my reading habits…

Not my finances, I’ve spent roughly the same amount of money I would spend on books anyway, only I got (YTD) 124 ebooks and 8 paper books… ebooks were, on average, under 1 Euro apiece, thanks to Humble Bundles (and their Polish equivalent, ArtRage). So, I got 15.5 ebooks for each regular book.

This is not as wonderful as it looks, because I’ll never read all the books from the bundles I got… and I sometimes buy ebooks from the peripheries of my TBR only because there is a nice deal on Amazon… I need to devise some new metric measuring book cost. And stop automatically buying all the bundles. Perhaps also unsubscribe from Amazon alerts, I literally just bought Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, while writing this ($3.14 for the whole thing, how could I not?).

But how is my reading broken? Well, the book I read in paper is “Deadhouse Gates”, second volume of Erikson’s Malazan Books of the Fallen. It’s great, but heavy. And requires high concentration, to follow all the names and plot-lines. It’s almost a ritual, to sit down and open it to read a chapter or two.

Kindle is light, and all sort of books are waiting there that I can easily read whenever I have a spare moment. I’ve read 17 titles since Feb 19 that way. During that time I’ve only read one full book on paper and listened to two audiobooks. The ebooks are mostly non genre, and many of them only available in Polish. Or public domain classics.

What I mean to say is, this post is going to be a series of mini-reviews 😉

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