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    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2011
    i read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, but wasn't that impressed, so the second half was mostly skimmed. i'm still looking for an account of bereavement that resonates with my own experience.

    so, back to the Agatha Christies. i'm in both Cat Among The Pigeons and Murder At The Vicarage; i can't see the cover of the latter without intoning the title in my best film-noir-voiceover.
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2011
    Finished Philip Roth's THE ANATOMY LESSON. Thinking of re-reading Kim Stanley Robinson's MARS novels.
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2011
    As I'm in possession of the first 10 volumes of Library Quarterly, I figured it's time to start reading them.
    Volume 1 has a bit of Dewey fanboy love, but it's easily ignored in the face of all of the writing about the nascent library graduate degrees and college libraries building and how 'textbook' centered college courses are the new thing.

    Also on the library front: Philobiblon by Richard de Bury (A Treatise on the Love of Books) clumsily translated but enjoyable.

    Mapmakers by John Noble Wilford. For being the daughter of a geographer, I was/am woefully uneducated about the history of cartography and just exactly how much it matters. I learn quickly.
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2011
    Capsule review of Dan Simmons' Drood: "mumbgh, wha? Oh, sorry, I just wasted several days of reading time."

    I read this so you don't have to. Seriously.

    Dan Simmons is the most wildly irregular author alive. Sometimes he is brilliant, like you can't believe anyone could think such thoughts, much less commit them in English. Other times he writes Drood.

    It felt like he wanted to get every last detail of his background research into Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins into the book. Like he thought "I looked it up, so now you are going to read it!"

    Plus, dullest, most inane use of the Egyptian Pantheon for horror since Young Sherlock Holmes.

    Such a dissapointment.
    • CommentAuthorltwill
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    just finidhed Kill the Dead- R. Kadrey- good but seemed like it fell apart at the end a little. Either starting "outsourced" by Dave Zeltserman or Winters Bone.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    A third of the way through the Silmarillion. Think I'll make it this time.
  1.  (9362.147)
    Counting Heads - David Marusek
    Debut novel from a guy to watch. A SF future world with virtual immortality, mucho AI, clones, crazy nano, and fabbing, all really well integrated into a fairly dizzying experiential ride of what living in that would be like, while dealing satisfactorily with humans and emotions. Impressive. Biggest gripe: it feels like an episode of something larger, rather than a really complete entity in itself. (Which, to be fair, it is.) But all in all something quite a few of y'all would likely dig.
  2.  (9362.148)
    reading MONSTERS OF MEN by Patrick Ness =D =D =D =D =D =D
    don't want to get to the end :( It's sad when things end, and I'll be more sad if there isn't a happy ending.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011
    I am tackling the leviathan. I will slay Ahab's white whale.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011
    Currently reading LOOPS, which is a journal done in collaboration between Faber and Faber & Domino records. it's purpose - "a haven for adventurous long-form music writing of every sort". So what we get are some very interesting musings on all aspects of music and Musicians. Highlights so far include...

    - Simon Reynolds on the history of music in SF films and the surprising lack of futurism in their compositions. Cites Forbidden planet's score, Ligeti's work for "2001" and John Carpenters "Escape From new York"

    - An extract from Nick Cave's "The death of Bunny Munro"

    - Ten Storey Love Song author Richard Milward's appraisal of taking drugs and listening to Spacemen 3.... a lot!

    - Hari Kunzru using the life and times of Moondog to detail and map out the musical terrain on the street of New York city. Provides the best, concise description of the Hipster i´ve seen so far.

    - Excerpts from Maggoty Lambs music blog for the observer, detailing the death throes of the UK music press and why it just can´t seem to get itself in order....
    • CommentAuthorMercer Finn
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011 edited
    Have to get thru Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise today. An atheist using theology to convince people that God = Nature and the only way we can know His mind is thru science. Great stuff, tho the idea is mostly cribbed from Aristotle. The latter half of the book goes into political theory, with heavy overtones of Machiavelli and Hobbes. Looking fwd to it.

    The prose is a bit turgid, unfortunately.

    ETA: OK, now that I've actually read the second half of the book, turns out the above is a misreading. Apparently, we cannot be moral without a belief in God. Damn Spinoza repeats himself constantly, but moves thru his argument SO VERY SLOWLY.

    Also slowly going thru Alasdair MacIntire's After Virtue, which is slowly chipping away at my Nietzschean Existentialism. The argument unfolds beautifully -- the analysis of the present state of morality is particularly interesting. Plenty to disagree with, but it makes you think about yr own moral stance and how consistent it is. Which is valuable, I think.

    I'm gonna have a second go at Final Crisis. Read the first issue yesterday and am loving it a whole lot more. You need to be in a particular mood for Morrison, I think...
  3.  (9362.152)
    I need help! (and then reviews)
    What should I read next? There's a few books that I keep on seeing mentioned on here as really good but with little description as to what it's actually about. Who can give me a very basic idea of what these are about? (I'd look around on the 'net but that tends to really spoil things. I don't want spoilers, they're really annoying for books.) The ones that I'm curious about are:
    The City & The City (China Mieville), The Windup Girl (Paolo Bacigalupi), and Sleepless (Charlie Huston)

    Have been reading a lot but not updating on here as much as I've been meaning to.
    So here we go:
    -Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club -- Really interesting read. The movie was very true to the novel but with a different ending. I prefer how the book ended over the movie.

    -Guy Gavriel Kay, The Darkest Road (Finoavar Tapestry book 3) -- Holy damn! This story was pretty damn amazing. The scale that Kay uses is huge. So many unexpected things happen, even at the end I was surprised. When I go in reading a fantasy book where you have a group of good guys going off to stop the big bad guy I tend to expect them to do what they're supposed to do and everyone lives happily ever after. I was impressed with how much this book surprised me. It was refreshing.

    -Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would be King -- Really quick read, really interesting idea, well written. There's enough other things out there said about it that I'll just leave it at that.

    -Philip K. Dick, Minority Report -- Another book with a movie based off of it. Much preferred the book. It's a different story, it makes a different point. Still has the psychic trio, still has the main character being accused of a murder that he hasn't committed yet. That's where the similarities end.
  4.  (9362.153)
    The City & The City (China Mieville) - I don't wanna spoil this. Think of it as Weird Crime, about how the barriers of language -- even body language -- can split a place and a people apart, and how any authoritarianism, sufficiently advanced and aged, is indivisible from magic...

    Sleepless (Charlie Huston): in a collapsing Los Angeles rife with weird disease, the parallel stories of the last good cop with everything to lose and the last great assassin with nothing to gain from discovering what's really happening to LA and the world. It's quite brilliant.
  5.  (9362.154)
    Warren -- Thank you. That's the kind of descriptions that I was looking for.
    Which would you suggest first? (Or would you suggest I read something else from either author first?)
  6.  (9362.155)
    The Mieville first.
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011
    All three are spectacular. Along with ZERO HISTORY my favourite novels from last year.
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011
    The Windup Girl - populist politics, exploitative ex-pats and persecuted refugees maneuver through a post-disaster world where gene-patent holding seed conglomerates seek a way into Thailand, one of the last nations on Earth to jealously guard a partially functional non-patented ecology.

    This was one of my favorites from last year.
  7.  (9362.158)
    I finished Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk a few days ago. Not one of his best, but better than some of his others too. Extremely well constructed considering most of the book takes place in a single room over the space of a few hours. I didn't think much of the ending - the big gross out thing that Chuck just had to throw in there seemed ridiculous (though because of the amount of research that Chuck does it could very well be possible) and took away from what was otherwise a well-told, character-driven story.

    I'm a bit over half-way through Fahrenheit 451 and quite enjoying it. I'd found the prose style hard to get into at first, but it turns out I just had to sit down and devour the thing to get my head into the right space.
    I read an interesting article about how everyone thinks the book is about censorship, but Bradbury himself has said that it most definitely isn't... Now, I have to wonder if the people on the '451 is about censorship' side of the argument have even read the book, or if they've just read a synopsis. One of the characters actually says that it isn't about censorship. It's obviously about the death (suicide? homicide?) of culture, and one only needs to look at the books and TV shows that are the most popular to see that Bradbury knew what he was talking about.

    I've also been picking through the Disinfo Book of Lies, their 'guide to magick and the occult.' Great collection of essays, most of which I still haven't gotten around to reading, but I'll get there this time.
  8.  (9362.159)
    Michael Moorcock - The Warhound and the World's Pain
    Years back I bought a bunch of Moorcock omnibus editions and never read them. Read this novel after snooping around the web and it coming up heavily recommended a lot. It was fun, diverting, and there was a lot I enjoyed in it, particularly its fluidity and narrative sweep, yet even with the philosophical resonance, it felt sort of... empty afterwards. Like the depth of imagination that goes into creating a world is somehow lacking when you churn out books at 15000 words a day, maybe. (Any other strong Moorcock recommendations? I think I read the first Elric novel and didn't think much of it, and one of the Jerry Cornelius novels, which was totally demented.)
  9.  (9362.160)
    I read the entire Cornelius Quartet recently and whilst there were bits of brilliance I didn't think they were worthwhile overall. Could just be me, but they didn't seem to have aged very well - namely because of constant name dropping of brands, bands and people who have completely disappeared from the cultural radar since the book was first published.

    If you read them way back in the day, or were at least alive and cognisant during that time period then I'm sure your opinion would be different.