I only got as far as The Gambler and Bobok. Ironic, because I was initially interested in the title A Nasty Story, but felt I ought to read everything in order. The Gambler, I loved. Took me for a wild ride. Dostoyevsky is one of those writers who makes me gasp audibly or even exclaim things out loud while reading.

This is the copy of Dracula I grew up with, always floating around somewhere in my parent’s house. I tried to read it once or twice. Only this year, in my mid-thirties, do I actually manage to sit down and read it. And into my heart it sinks immediately like a stone, taking root there.

I went on a binge of reading about eels. I’m writhing with glee. Eel imagery has haunted me for some time and finally I’m learning something about them. There was James Prosek’s Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World’s Most Mysterious Fish, and Patrik Svensson’s The Book of Eels, which is actually in translation. I liked them both, immensely. I hope to find another book about eels in the future.


i was born under the sign of the rabbit, so i was glad this was what i found in my “blind date with a book.” but in the end, i gotta say this book is overrated. is it supposed to be a straight-up parody of the dark academia genre? is this satire? – if not, you could describe it as a ripoff of THE SECRET HISTORY, with some pretty weird stuff thrown in. we’re talking off-the-wall weird. (totally my bag, too.)

let’s start with contras: there was no point at which i thought to myself, wow, what great prose. wow, what a great character. it was just okay. but the worst part: the solution to all the mystery at the end got me allll frustrated. ugh. seriously? that’s all it was? THAT’S ALL IT WAS?? there was potential for so much more. i wanted to hurl the book across the room, but it was a gift, so i didn’t.

pros: there was lots of mystery and surreality there. and it was a fast read. you get the satisfaction of being part of this dumb tiktok/instagram book moment. yes, my mind was… let’s just say… blown. and yes, certain images are now seared into my head forever. in making over-the-top cute = creepy & crazy, awad was onto something. i suppose.


i’ve been saving this book for a little bit… ever since i spotted it at the library. it’s full of magic. it transported me instantly. it takes place at a siberian prison camp, loosely based on dostoevsky’s own experience. surprisingly, there is no bitterness, only love. no plot to speak of – just a simple memoir, character sketches, psychological insights. the generosity of it, though…! of course we have child murder – this is dostoevsky, after all – but we also have this supreme tenderness. i can’t put it down. i’m carrying it with me everywhere. a masterpiece.

xxx bookworm


in preparation for a yosemite valley adventure weekend after next, i am reading (around in) john muir’s book. his language is immense. you feel the soaring rocks and sparkling waterfalls and so forth. i’d forgot the power & poetry of the sublime. it’s been a while since i’d read the romantics. it’s like he walked hand in hand with robert burns.


i cannot believe how spectacular this book is. this is my first time reading it. if i had found it as a child…! but i am glad adulthood contains such surprises for the persistent reader. there is no end to it.

so i am reeling, positively gob-smacked, in such ecstatic bliss – especially after the enormous disappointment of MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW. which i finished, but only in a seething rage, and resisted flinging across the room on a number of occasions. i have serious complaints. particularly about the use of native american characters for seemingly no other reason than to cast them as the town drunk and pregnant teenage high school dropout. there was no true solution to the mystery; it was absurd, random and stupid. i will not be bothering the rest of the trilogy.

xxx bookworm