shiny things in messy little piles

Category: books (Page 10 of 10)

#fridayreads 19.oct.2012

I’ve missed a lot of read­ing time this week. We saw some awe­some music.… Knopfler and Dylan on Sat­ur­day, Andras Schiff played all of Book 2 of the Well-Tempered Clavier on Mon­day and last night Mozart, Beethoven, Hay­den and a world pre­miere — Dai Fujikura’s
Mina, Con­cer­to for 5 Soloists and Orches­tra. That last piece was, erm, challenging.

Speak­ing of chal­leng­ing. I gave my best shot but I could­n’t get it down, Mieville’s Per­di­do Street Sta­tion. Clum­sy is the only word I can think to use for his prose. Sor­ry fans.

Foren­sics for Dum­mies — D. Lyle. Fin­ished ear­ly this week. It’s a place to start. But if this is as far as you go, your edi­tor is going to charge back all of the time she has to spend fact check­ing your crime nov­el. Also suf­fers from falls flat attempts at humor. I“ll let you know when I find the “cool” books.

The Frac­tal Prince — Rajanie­mi. Just start­ed this. So far I’m hav­ing a good time with it. 

Also picked up Lau­ren Beukes’ Zoo City. Post-something, maybe apoc­a­lypse — maybe just a real­ly bad elec­tion year. South African. She’s got a wicked voice and a bitchin’ smirk. It’s my ice cream reward for get­ting a cou­ple of not so fun tasks tak­en care of next week.

What have you been reading?

#FridayReads — 5.Oct.2012

Things I’m in the middle of:

Foren­sics for Dum­mies, Dou­glas P. Lyle — What it says on the tin. Sim­plis­tic but it does the trick as all I’m look­ing for a smat­ter­ing of back­ground and some vocab­u­lary lessons. The inter­est­ing stuff will come later. 

29th Years Best Sci­ence Fic­tion, Dozios — Dip­ping in and out. This will take weeks.

For the Love of a Dog
, Patri­cia B. McConnell — Do dogs have emo­tion­al lives? 

Poems (pub­lished in 1820), John Keats — because I’m lis­ten­ing to Dan Sim­mons’ Hype­r­i­on. Mak­ing my brain mushy. 

Catch­ing up on some old issues of Clarkesworld, Azi­mov’s, Ana­log, etc. I’ll owe you all a post on a cou­ple of short sto­ries that you should look up.

Things I finished:

Mechanique: A Tale of the Cir­cus Tre­saulti, Genevieve Valen­tine — A rust, and brown, and dark­ly stained cir­cus of half humans and half mon­sters (or are they?) trav­el­ing through an equal­ly stained world. There are love sto­ries, and war sto­ries, and a bit of a caper. But most­ly there is an odd, eerie, strange­ly hope­ful mag­ic. It’s creepy; I loved it. 

Dev­il Said Bang (Sand­man Slim), Richard Kadrey — Fourth in the series that shows clear signs of hav­ing orig­i­nal­ly been intend­ed to be a tril­o­gy but now extend­ed to at least six. Stark, who is now Lucifer, escapes too eas­i­ly from Hell to L.A. Too eas­i­ly con­sid­er­ing the so much was made of the impos­si­bly of said return in the pre­vi­ous book. Also a lot of jokes about Hel­l’s bureau­cra­cy. Rote appear­ances by cast mem­bers from the pre­vi­ous books — just so you remem­ber them and the oblig­a­tory roman­tic com­pli­ca­tion that has all the heat of my break­fast. Weak enough that I may not both­er with the remain­der of the series. Not weak enough that I’ll pass on any­thing else Mr. Kadrey writes out of hand. Butch­er Bird which was, by his own admis­sion, con­sid­er­ably less com­mer­cial, remains one my favorites. BTW — there are some excerpts from a Locus inter­view with Kardey posted. 

Up next:

I also spent a lot of time sam­pling mate­r­i­al and adding to the “Read Next” pile. Most of the sam­ple are of books about foren­sics, some pop­u­lar some tech­ni­cal, that I’m look­ing over while I con­tem­plate how to divvy up foren­sics capa­bil­i­ties in a mixed tech world. I’ve also come to the con­clu­sion that one of my dream library jobs exists, that it’s local, and that I’d have to com­mit mur­der to get it. (There’s an incum­bent and mur­der­ing a ref­er­ence librar­i­an who man­ages a foren­sics library has got to be one of the stu­pid­est ideas ever. But it might make a good sto­ry plot. Hmmmm…)

Going onto the Read Next — Fic­tion pile are the newest from C. Valente The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairy­land and Led the Rev­els There. Also Han­nu Rajanie­mi brings back Jean de Flam­beur (Quan­tum Thief) in The Frac­tal Prince.

Also seek­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from any­one who has read Stew­art O’Nan. Best book to start with? 

#fridayreads 1.jun.2012

Picked up The Jew­el Hinged Jaw, Samuel Delany. Because Delany came up in a con­ver­sa­tion recent­ly and then I came across this lit­tle screed on io9:overmind
Typ­i­cal­ly shal­low but hits a pain point of mine about how many authors have suc­cumbed to the pro­duc­tion line via ghost writ­ers and co-authors and how the prod­uct has suffered.

In the midst of Gods with­out Men, Hari Kun­zru. Mixed reviews on Ama­zon but rec­om­mend­ed by a cou­ple of peo­ple I trust. I’m glad I start­ed it. Yes, the nar­ra­tive struc­ture is a bit odd and there does­n’t seem to be a cap­i­tal ‘P’ plot, but not every­thing in the world has to fol­low the three act arc.

Sand­man Slim, Richard Kadrey. Read because I found the sin­gle phrase “like God’s tiny tyran­nosaurus rex” in an excerpt amus­ing. I’m not a hor­ror fan but it was fun­ny enough to send me look­ing for anoth­er Kadrey. (and it went well with migraine.)

Hebrew­Punk, Lavie Tid­har. One of my favorite writ­ers of the moment dis­ap­point­ed me. Admit­ted­ly one of his ear­ly efforts. Not worth the time even if you like Yid­dish myth and leg­end. Sigh.


Wind Through the Key­hole, Stephen King.  A fairy tale. I like fairy tales. This made up for the last 2 Dark Tow­er books.

A bunch of dog train­ing books. Because the world moves on and the pup­py rais­ing books that I leant some­one so long ago and nev­er got back are out­dat­ed any­way. The basics nev­er change. The tricks of the trade are refined. The research updates enough to make the sequence of assigned tasks a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. I have yet to find my replace­ment for the nice­ly bal­anced approach of “Moth­er Knows Best.”

PS When you bork the Kin­dle app on an iPad because you are switch­ing iTunes from one com­put­er to anoth­er you lose all of the sam­ples that you have down­loaded and thus lose all of the books queued for pos­si­ble inclu­sion in your read­ing list. Is that hell­ish­ly annoy­ing? Or a fresh start?

#FridayReads — 3.feb

This week was all about the short sto­ries. Many avail­able free on the ‘net

From the World SF blog. The City of Silence by Ma Boy­ong. A lit­tle too easy update of 1984 for the web ruled city. I sus­pect that there is bet­ter mate­r­i­al by the same writer.

The House of Aunts. Zen ChoTo at GigaN­oto­Saurus. I don’t usu­al­ly read hor­ror. I loved this one. A teenag­er hemmed in by a pas­sel of nosy, inter­fer­ing, undy­ing­ly loy­al aun­ties. A girl’s first crush and a lot of humor.

I read a cou­ple of sto­ries writ­ten by some­one I sort of know that dis­ap­point­ed me great­ly. There is zero chance that he’d find this lit­tle post and yet… I can’t bring myself to point you all to an instruc­tive exam­ple of flat writ­ing. Con­flict avoid­ed by writ­ing about the con­flict rather than the sto­ries — whew.

I’m read­ing a lot about the act (crime?) of writ­ing. Most­ly web stuff — most­ly lost in space.

On the longer form front.

An Ever­last­ing Meal — Tamar Adler. A cook­book worth read­ing for both the ideas and the prose. I’ve just start­ed. Pleased with it.

Tons of stuff land­ing on the Kin­dle and in the post office box. A Dorothy Park­er bio, Fran Lebowitz (smart ass girls — could it be a theme?) Osama — Lavie Tid­har (alter­nate present polit­i­cal), Palimpset — CV (how cities grow — folk­loric.)  Sam­ples of a hand­ful of things.

It was a week for hunt­ing and gath­er­ing and plun­der­ing oth­er peo­ples’ read­ing lists. Next week — cook­ing and eat­ing my haul.

Hap­py Fri­day my dears.

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