So many pages

Posted by on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

I keep neglecting to review the books I’ve been reading. I have been reading, picking books over knitting needles more often than not, and a lot of what I’ve been reading has either come directly from Mike’s shelves or from recommendations he made over the years. My attempts to burn through our unread books and stop filling shelves so quickly fell apart this spring when everything got really hard. I take a lot of comfort in reading and in knowing I have good things to read once my current story dries up. Too much comfort–hence that year without book purchases. But these days, I’m letting such things slide and wallowing in books.

Time to play catch up–I’ll poke around my goodreads list and tell you what I think about what I’ve been reading. And you’ll forgive me for having little or nothing astute to say. This will take a few posts, but I hope to have caught up by the end of the month.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Wooohoooo! I love Stephenson!
Ok, I have more to say than that. More specifically, I love Stephenson when he reigns it in a bit. Anathem disappointed me a bit. Here, though, he kept things relatively tight. He looks at mythology a lot in this book, and that always makes me smile. As I’ve come to expect, Stephenson wrote a great female lead, a great male lead, some truly perplexing characters and plots. I wish I could read it again for the first time.

The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes and The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman. I cannot count the number of times the phrase “what do you mean, you haven’t read Sandman” has come up. I know I know, I’m way behind the times. Yes, I was born and bred a geek. But I also devoted my geeky energy to things over on crazy moon language land (i.e. Celtic linguistics) for quite some time. I like these, but honestly I think Gaiman does a much better job with just plain old writing. He’s a word guy, and graphic novels are about visual images, and these didn’t allow Gaiman to shine. Pity, that.

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. This is a book I have tried to press on many people. I’m a huge fan of Chabon, and I am particularly intrigued by his continued forays into genre fiction. Go man, go! This novel is set in an alternate universe, wherein the US handed over a big chunk of Alaska to serve as a temporary Jewish homeland, post WWII. And in that alternate universe, there is a mystery, and our hero Meyer Landsman sets out to solve a murder mystery and accidentally discovers a terrible conspiracy. I love it. It’s a great book, and a great audiobook, and Chabon is wonderful.

Morality Play by Barry Unsworth
I’m normally a big fan of Unsworth. This one fell flat for me. It’s a well-researched historical mystery novel, which follows a disgraced monk as he joins a traveling group of players who witness a murder. I was reading this when a lot of sad things were happening, so it may be that my brain just turned against it. But, my head doesn’t like the book that much, whatever the reason.

Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die by Michael Largo
Great googly-moogly, this is a terrible book. I wish it had been good. No. It was painfully bad. Poorly researched and written. Sloppy. So sloppy, in fact, it’s a wonder I didn’t use it as kindling. In one sentence, the author uses “virus” and “bacteria” interchangeably. As if they’re the same things. Note to author: THEY’RE NOT THE SAME DAMN THING!

Filed in Books,Music | 3 responses so far

3 Responses to “So many pages”

  1. kon 18 Aug 2009 at 8:22 pm 1

    Michael Chabon’s name rings a bell, but I can’t see anything of his that I’ve read. I’m guessing it must have been a short story somewhere. I’ll go track that down; alt.history is one of my favorite cheats.

  2. gayleon 19 Aug 2009 at 6:31 am 2

    Okay, I’ve added Chabon and Unsworth to my reading list.
    Snow Crash is one of my absolute favorite books! Have you read The Diamond Age?

  3. Aeson 21 Aug 2009 at 7:44 am 3

    Never read the book, but saw the movie of Morality Play. Grim, but made me want to see everything else Paul Bettany has ever been in. Except DaVinci Code, of course.

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