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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Bungalow Mystery
P.M. Carlson, Russell H. Tandy, Carolyn Keene
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Prebble
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo
Jeff Long
Progress: 11/431 pages
The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Carolyn Keene
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien, Rob Inglis
Progress: 13 %

The House by the Dvina ★★☆☆☆

The House by the Dvina: A Russian Childhood - Eugenie Fraser

This was a bit like listening to your old granny reminiscing about the old days. Actually, it was like listening for over 14 hours to someone else’s granny reminisce, because I couldn’t connect to it in any personal way, as I would with my own family history. It was vaguely interesting as a peek into how people lived about a hundred years ago in Northern Russia. I like reading about history, but this memoir spends as much time or more dwelling on the number and types of gifts given at various birthdays and weddings as it does on actual historical events. It is exactly what the blurb says it is: one woman’s childhood memories, taking place just before and during the Russian revolution, along with a recounting of all their historical family lore. She was very young and, as her family was quite wealthy, fairly sheltered, even during the war. They refugeed to Scotland at the end of the war, so it doesn’t cover the aftermath, other than to share what little she learned about family and friends who were left behind. It really doesn’t pretend to be anything else, so I can’t fault it for that, but I prefer some storytelling with my history.


Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Competently read by Diana Bishop. My attention wandered fairly frequently as her voice droned on, but I think that was the fault of the text rather than the narrator.