Thursday, November 02, 2006


It's been a while since I mentioned books around here, so I thought I'd give an update. I have managed to get myself back on pace to read 40 books this year; the pace is actually a fast one since I still have 8 books left to go. The good news is that I hit September with 16 books left to go, so I know I can read 4 in a month. And it won't be the end of the world if I don't make it; I read 38 last year, so if I at least get to 39 I'll be happy. Anyway, here's what I've been reading the last two months...

25. Infoquake/David Louis Edelman - A different sort of SF novel, with an economy set up around Bio/logics (upgrades for the body, such as NiteFocus 49) and a possible revolutionary change in that business. The main character, Natch, is an ass but an interesting ass. I really liked the book and eagerly await the two sequels that are forthcoming.

26. The Book of Fate/Brad Meltzer - I picked this up because I read the first chapter in an issue of Justice League of America, the comic Meltzer is currently writing, and was intrigued. The book falls more in that John Grisham vein, though it's more concerned with power and the Presidency than the law. It was a page-turner but nothing that blew me away. Let's put it this way, I won't be picking up any of his other books (and his JLA is losing steam too but that's another post).

27. The Washington Story/Adam Langer - This contiunes the stories of many characters from Langer's debut, Crossing California. I really liked that book and this is more of the same. It is set in Chicago, so I recognize events from my childhood, and it deals with the college adventures of several characters. Art, sex, relationships, radicalism, loss, longing, and hope. And more, of course.

28. Fragile Things/Neil Gaiman - The new story and poetry collection from Gaiman, one of my favorite writers. As is the case with all collections, I liked some stories better than others but the overall quality is very high. I particularly enjoyed "A Study in Emerald," which involves both Lovecraft and Doyle, and "Sunbird," a story about an eating club with mythical aspects.

29. The World to Come/Dara Horn - This novel falls in the category of an "everything" novel for me, a book that concerns itself with multiple ideas and characters. It deals with Vietnam, the Soviet Union, art, stories, twins, relationships (both romantic and familial), theft, Jewish life, and more. It's very well-written and very very good.

30. Third Class Superhero/Charles Yu - This is a small story collection, the debut by Yu. The title story appealed to me the most, a look at a super-hero longing to join the big leagues. The stories are not the norm and have some math apsects to them as well. Yu reminds me of George Saunders in tone if not it content (though sometimes in content too). Solid.

31. The Ladies of Grace Adieu/Susanna Clarke - I loved Clarke's debut, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. This is a set of stories set in the same milieu with some of the same characters popping up. Most of them deal with the intersection of Faerie and "the real world" or with magic or sometimes both. Written in unusual dialects or structures, the stories are very rewarding. I'd still start with the novel but this is well worth your time.

32. Stardust/Neil Gaiman - Yeah, I'd never read this before. But one of the stories in the Clarke collection shares a setting with this book (Wall, where you step through a gap in a stone wall and into Faerie) so I thought I'd finally read it. Now I can't believe I put it off. It's full of whimsy and wonder, action and humor, wonderful ideas. I highly recommend it and can't wait to see how the movie turns out (coming out in early 2007, I believe).

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