The ‘Stans

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Banine: Days in the Caucasus

Well, looks like I was tempting fate after all.  As it turns out, not every memoir set in the former USSR in the years before and during the Russian Revolution was really shouting out to be written.  This is definitely one such — which is particularly disappointing as the writer’s father was a leading Azerbaijani […]

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Renée Ahdieh: The Wrath and the Dawn

DNF @ 146 out of 432 pages …. and I’m out. This is insufferable. Granted, I’m not the target audience to begin with.  But it’s not even the concept of “1001 Nights as a YA love story” that is putting me off the most, even though that does have at least something to do with […]

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M.M. Kaye: Death in Kashmir

Well, that was somewhat more of a slog than I had expected — and only in a minor part owing to M.M. Kaye herself; even though she does rely more on “dark and stormy night” scenarios than I would have liked to see, as well as on characters, including protagonists, behaving TSTL to such an […]

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Literature Reviews

Chris Bohjalian: The Sandcastle Girls

Not an entirely bad book, but boy, this could have been so much more. Ostensibly, it deals with the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turkey in the middle of WWI.  What we really get is — at least chiefly — the love story of an American volunteer nurse trainee who has accompanied her father on a […]

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Iliya Troyanov: The Collector of Worlds

The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season — Bonus Entry Task the Fifth: The Kwanzaa: – Read a book written by an African-American author or set in an African country. I blacked out my card on Dec. 19 using the “activity” entry for the Kwanzaa square, but since thereafter I did read a book set […]

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Literature Reviews

Vladislav Tamarov: Afghanistan – A Russian Soldier’s Story

Boy soldiers in a war that turned out to be a “mistake” Growing up in Germany and learning about World War II in school and from my parents and grandparents, among the things that impressed me most – that I just couldn’t get out of my mind – were the pictures of those boys drafted […]

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