Genre: Adult Mystery Year Release in English: 2019 Source: Physical Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Content warnings: violence against animal, dead pets, hunting, misogyny, blood, bore, vomiting, blood in stool (mentioned), alcoholism
A woman with a deep love for animals is at the center of this mystery where men with violent tendencies towards the local wildlife start appearing dead in her vicinity. The source material for the movie, Spoor (2017), I definitely had to give this one a read, and it’s incredible how well both versions of the story work in their respective media.
Much smaller in scope than The Books of Jacob, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is a character study of a recluse who loves animals living among hunters and
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction Year Release: 2022 Source: Libro.fm
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: antisemitism, child death, rape, pogroms, prejudice, discrimination, vomiting, death of a parent
Ambitious is not a big enough word to describe the majesty of this novel. At a whooping 955 pages, this book is not just about Jacob Frank. Tokarczuk paints a mosaic of eighteenth century Europe centering the rise and fall of a messianic cult leader Jacob Frank. Starting in a village in what is now Ukraine and stretching across Poland and Lithuania, this story isn’t just about Frank, but about the people around him as well, from priests to rabbis to princes to village folks and so much more.
Vast in scope, yet this work is simultaneously personal and deeply human, showcasing every possible perspective of class and religion in one narrow slice of Europe.
Read an ARC from the publisher Content warning: child abuse, body horror, blood, gore
Three servants serve the three Jaga sisters. Marynka serves Red Jaga as Midday, Beata serves White Jaga as morning, and Zosia serves Black Jaga as Midnight. These girls are monsters in the name of magic, which is only powered by prince’s hearts. Karnawał presents the opportunity for trickery, and both girls seize the opportunity to go after Prince Józef, one with the purest heart yet discovered.
What unfolds is a wonderful, wintery tale of rivalry, devotion, monstrosity, and what it means to be free of one’s past.
May came at me like a freight train. Specifically, Kentaro Miura, creator of Berserk, passed and that has been a sledgehammer to my heart and creative spirit. To get completely too personal, I’ve had to do an inventory of all my things and file them under “survival” and “creativity.” The blog is here to stay, don’t worry about that.
For yet another month, the mind is still a mess, but the reads have been fantastic.
Sometimes you want to write an epic fantasy steeped in its own history. But you’re not interested in British history and nobility, and the only framing you have for the history of your own land is that “it is so boring.” So, you find the most thorough volume you can, and wow, does it deliver.
I got so much out of this volume. From the organization of the social classes (which have nothing to do with economics) and the structure of cities and villages (which also have nothing to do with economics), this book covers so much ground. There are maps, there are charts, and the anecdotes and famous-to-Poland historical figures help create a complete image of this land without national borders as it expands, contracts, and disappears off the map altogether.
What really drew me was the humility Davies shows from the very beginning. He admits that he cannot possibly know as much as someone whose lived experience is Poland. It’s an energy we can all stand to embrace a bit. As such, he also fully recognizes that the lens through which most of his readers will understand European history is through the crown, family lineages, and colonialism of western Europe. There are charts, there are some anti-parallels drawn, with enough repetition to make international relations salient and easy-(enough)-to-follow. What fascinated me the most was how much was considered international in terms of what’s encompassed by the shield-shaped borders seen on contemporary maps. I found it interesting, but that’s probably because I sought this information out myself as opposed to having to learn it for school exams.
Highly recommending this tome if you want a quick overview of the structure of Polish society and culture up through the 18th Century.
You know, I was going to open this with a quip about how there’s like two castles in North America. But turns out, there’s one in Mexico, a few in Canada (most are mansions, cheaters), and several in the U.S. But I’m going to share with you information about Wawel castle in Poland, which had been built in the 1300s.