Monday, September 8, 2008

Bookish adventures

For some reason, most of my reading this year has been sci fi/fantasy. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I've flown the nerd flag proudly for years now*. Most recent first.

Christopher Moore, You Suck: A Love Story. This is the perfect book for a busy, tiring week--it's morbidly entertaining, light, and quick to read. I could knock out a couple chapters before bed, get a few chuckles, and nod off. Actually first picked it up while waiting for a friend in a bookstore; read about 50 pages in one go, which says something about its ease of reading. The characters are, for lack of a better word, immature. The two main vampires were about 19 before they were turned, and their "minion" is a 16-year-old who alternates between valley girl and tragic goth caricature. I've complained about books with potty humor in them before, but I don't hold it against Moore, and indeed, a snickered quite openly at protagonist Tommy's response to the changes brought about by his transformation. Overall, a fun romp.

David Almond, Skellig. Re-read. Juvenile fiction. What I love about David Almond is the poetry in his language and deft handling of complicated issues. In this book, for example, he toys with the ideas of William Blake, death, and miracles, and he does this subtly--even though he writes "kids' books," I can re-read his books repeatedly, enjoying the room for interpretation he leaves.

Neil Gaiman, Stardust. Also re-read. Fantasy. Dry humor and an original take on old fairy tales. The recent movie was not entirely faithful, but also fun, for the record.

Patricia Gaffney, Wild at Heart. I asked my romance-reading aunt for a recommendation of a good romance novel, maybe one of her favorites. This was her rec. I will admit, it had a couple twists I didn't anticipate, but other than that, it's prety solid stock characterization and predictably outcome. Bonus points for a historical setting that didn't quite seem convincing.

Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time. Fantasy. Ah, this was golden. Religion and philosophy and death, delivered with irreverence and humor. I really do need to read more Pratchett. Up my nerd cred, so to speak.

Currently by the bedside: Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy. As far as anthologies go, this one's solid. I haven't skipped a story yet (halfway through), and it has enough variety to keep things interesting without seeming too far-flung and incoherent as a whole.

Sergei Lukyanenko, The Night Watch. This wasn't quite what I was expecting--for all the supernatural elements at work in this book, the emphasis is more on the suspense/mystery/political side of things. Some of the twists and turns had me struggling to keep up, which is probably why it's stagnated 2/3 of the way through. It's interesting, but not good bedtime reading after long days...

Currently in the car: Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses. I've decided to give audio books another try, now that I've got a long commute again. We'll see how it goes, but I tend to set them aside after the first CD or so. It's just not nearly as satisfying as actually reading the book myself. What might give this an advantage is McCarthy's amazing prose.

Next on the to-go-by-the-bedside stack: A recent XKCD comic strip reminded me that Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves was just sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. So it's getting shoved to the top of Mount TBR. Also, I plan to read Ian McEwan's Atonement soon. Might as well put in a plug here: both these books made their ways into my hands courtesy of the good folks at Bookcrossing.

* - Because, you know, sci fi is more nerd cred than, say, a master's degree in Romantic-era literature...

Now playing: Straylight Run - The Perfect Ending
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

SmallWorld at Home said...

In regards to A Million Little Pieces you wrote: "The impulse to self-aggrandize, whether conscious or not, will be difficult to quell when writing about one's own self" You are so right about that. Thank you for verbalizing that. One of the criticisms I read about his book is that he wasn't this tough guy that he portrayed himself as--that he was a wimpy little whiner. But this actually added to the book for me: that he *saw* himself as this tough guy when he really wasn't says so much about his character.