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The Lonely Sea: Collected Short Stories
Alistair MacLean
Her Benny
Silas K. Hocking
Vedere din Parfumerie
Silvia Kerim
Mysticism and Logic (Western Philosophy)
Bertrand Russell
The Analects of Confucious
Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking
William James
Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Unsettling, Witty Answers to Questions You Never Thought You Wanted to Ask
New Scientists Books Staff, New Scientist
Mutual Aid
Pyotr Kropotkin
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
Olivia Fraser, William Dalrymple
The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoyevsky


#LiveFromSofia - Александър Шпатов Since I've spent most of time in Sofia, I really liked the book blurb which promised to do for Sofia what Bulgaria's more famous short story writers have done for Bulgarian agricultural towns. And, strange to say, the translated version of this collection seems to be aimed squarely at passing tourists like me. The book even opens with a list of landmarks to experience.

However talented the author proved to be, the writing may in fact be limited by its subject. His Sofia seems nearly as mechanical and superficial as mine. I attributed the combination of light and intricate storytelling to 1)the author's youth 2)the likelihood that he himself isn't from Sofia, but I'm just not sure about number 2, and his style became conflated, but in a complimentary way, with some bad Vonnegut I'd been reading. Thankfully, his work doesn't come across as manufactured preciousness in the way his American educated contemporary sometimes writes.

Anyway, the stories are really a collection of fascinating mechanizations in daily life, quite a few near misses meeting women, a few conspiracies, a joke about passing tests to be a true citizen of self-reverential Sofia, one great twist about working as an extra in Sofia's film industry, and one blur of alternative endings, appropriately enough, as the final story at the end. Glad I even found this one...