Victoria’s Challenge: Steampunk

coverI’ve decided to “throw my fishing net over the huge amount of a variety of New Titles we are receiving daily.” I’ve ventured into the unknown genre of Steampunk with Dexter Palmer’s The Dream of Perpetual Motion.

This is a bright example of Steampunk genre in modern literature. It’s inheriting steam power elements in the form of a zeppelin that floats high above a fantastic metropolis and fictional technological inventions, such as the cryogenically frozen body of Prospero, the genius and industrial magnate. This is Dexter Palmer’s  debut novel, that combines the best traditions of H. G. Wells, Jules Verne and William Shakespeare.

Victoria’s Challenge: Vampires

coverI’ve decided to “throw my fishing net over the huge amount of a variety of New Titles we are receiving daily.” My next choice was:

Seth Grahame-Smith Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

After I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula  at the age of 15 I never thought I would be so scared by another vampire novel in my life, but here it comes again in the form of Lincoln’s secret diaries detailing his life as a stalker of vampires.

As a boy, Abraham Lincoln loses his mother to the undead (actually he is witnessing the whole thing!) and swears lifelong vengeance, so he adopts the axe that he hides inside his signature long black coat to use it for vampire hunting. The thrilling part of this newly emerged vampire novel is that the fictitious elements are  intricately interwoven into real life history of American Civil War period and while reading, most times, it’s hard to separate the fiction world from reality.

Victoria’s Challenge: Saga

coverI’ve bravely decided to ” throw my fishing net over the huge amount of various New Titles we are receiving daily.” My next pick was a Saga –  The Affair by Santa Montefiore.

The story asks you straight if you would risk everything for love: your exciting career of children’s book writer, stable and even successful marriage and your children’s happiness. Angelica has to deal with all of these nasty questions when she meets Jack – a romantic womanizer and the owner of a vineyard in South Africa. Will Angelica follow the footsteps of her sadly known literature predecessors: Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary? Being a huge fan of Leo Tolstoy and Gustave Flaubert myself, I savoured this highly emotional and sensual modern British novel with a very curious twist at the end.

Victoria’s Challenge: Memoir

coverI’ve decided to throw my fishing net over the huge amount of a variety of New Titles we are receiving daily. My next pick was the memoir The Dancer from Khiva by Bibish.

I’m not a particular fan of Memoir genre, but a challenge is a challenge, so I followed Clare’s kind reference and read this one practically overnight.

Being familiar with Uzbekistan’s culture from my friends’ travelling experience and newspapers and magazines articles, I wasn’t really surprised to learn the real life story of the brave Uzbek woman who found enough courage to let the whole world know how cruel life was – and still is for a Muslim girl, born in a poor Uzbek family.

This book will be very helpful for someone studying a cultural differences topic.

My Very Versatile 5 Book Challenge Experience

I guess it’s time to share my 5 Book Challenge experience.cover

Firstly, I’d like to list down the books I selected for the challenge:

  • Bibish The Dancer from Khiva (Memoir) (just in case Bibish’s Memoir genre wouldn’t count towards the Popular Team choice)

Secondly, I’d like to contemplate on the mode I was reading these 5 (6) challenging books. Instead of picking up the one genre I’ve never read before or liked to read the least, I’ve decided to throw my fishing net over the huge amount of a variety of New Titles we are receiving daily. My efforts were not in vain and I’ve pulled out quite an impressive amount of new titles (The Affair, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), or even new authors (!), like Dexter Palmer, or Bibish.

My choice of: “Let it be one book from each particular genre” was really paying off during my reading hours and this is why: if I found some authors to be extremely challenging, like Dexter Palmer, for instance, to the point when I wanted to return the book back unfinished (sounds like a real blasphemy for the librarian!), I would simply switch onto reading a book from a more pleasant genre to me, like Adriana Trigiani’s Brava Valentine, which is considered by many literary critics, including me:), “the tiramisu for the soul”. After  having a slice of a “tiramisu for soul”, I’d return back to the least favourite author. This method worked very well for me, saving me from committing a real crime of throwing the least favourite reading back into Returns boxes before actually finishing with them!

Brava Valentine is the second in the series of  Valentine  books. What I really enjoyed about this book is that one can find everything (or almost everything) in it: family, drama, love story, adventure, contemporary American fiction in its best embodiment! If you are a big fan of Jane Austen translated into today’s environment plus  a bit of  You’ve Got Mail  movie type of person, then, Valentine is your next stop.

All in all, I’ve greatly enjoyed myself during the 5 Book challenge, practically, because you turn your attention to the writers, titles or genres you’ll never think of reading first place and, when you are finished with these readings, you cannot help the feeling of complete satisfaction with yourself, similar to the Olympic champion’s feeling when he finishes his marathon. Bouquet to Bronwyn – now I am not feeling uncomfortable when I hear the mysterious word Steampunk any more!   I would gladly take part in the next 5 Book Challenge. Would you?

Read more of Victoria’s Challenges.