The OF Blog: March 22-29 Reads

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 22-29 Reads

Since I was busy all of yesterday evening with the editing and porting of interview/Q&A content from wotmania to here (I have 3 small Q&As left to do then I'll be done with the Interviews section, with the much easier porting of some of the Reviews to follow, although I think most of that will be done by Jake and not me), I didn't have the chance to write up a summary of my reading list for the past week, so this edition will be for 8 days rather than the usual 7.

Many more books covered this week and I suspect despite having only 6 days, the next one will contain even more, since I am about to start my week off from teaching. There will be several reviews to be written and posted this week and I'll note those as well. Now for the 11 books read over the past 8 days:

84 Mervyn Peake, Titus Alone (original edition; re-read) - Review forthcoming. Liked it, but it wasn't on par with the first two, which are masterpieces of atmosphere and prose.

85 M. John Harrison, Viriconium (omnibus edition; re-read) - Already reviewed the first two stories. Reviews of the latter two parts forthcoming. Mostly outstanding.

86 Irwin Shaw, Evening in Byzantium - Bought this book last year after seeing Jeff VanderMeer praise this 1970s book on his blog. Excellent prose and characterization of a tale of a womanizing American movie director now living in France. Might review it later, but I want to re-read it first to decide all the wonderful passages that could be cited.

87 Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (re-read) - Allegorical, quasi-religious text. Thought-provoking. Enjoyed it quite a bit.

88 Roberto Bolaño, Monsieur Pain - One of Bolaño's earliest stories and it shows. Good, but not outstanding, as many of his latter works were. Will re-read before commenting further on it.

89 David Shields and Bradford Morrow (eds.), Conjunctions 51: The Death Issue - Already reviewed.

90 Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy - Outstanding detective/metaphysical story. Will review in the near future. Deserving of all praise that it receives.

91 Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Worlds' End - Recasting of the frame story approach made popular by Boccaccio and Chaucer for the Sandman universe. Stories were excellent.

92 Michael Moorcock, Byzantium Endures - This opening volume in the Pyat Quartet will be reviewed in the near future. Perhaps one of Moorcock's best-written works.

93 Jack Vance, Tales of the Dying Earth (ominbus edition) - Review forthcoming. Good, but much of it was a bit too pulp fiction-like for my tastes at the moment.

94 Mark C. Newton, Nights of Villjamur - Review forthcoming. Above-average debut novel. A few glitches with the atmosphere, but these were minor in comparison to the adroitness in which Newton develops his characters. Opener to a new fantasy trilogy that combines elements of epic, New Weird, and Dying Earth subgenres.

In Progress:

Daniel Goldhagen, A Moral Reckoning

Nick Gevers and Jay Lake (eds.), Other Earths

Gene Wolfe, The Best of Gene Wolfe

Future Plans:

Brandon Sanderson, Warbreaker

Jo Graham, Black Ships (re-read); Hand of Isis

Bill Ectric, Tamper

A.S. Byatt, Possession

Hope Mirrlees, Lud-in-the-Mist (re-read)

Andrew Fox, The Good Humor Man

Steph Swainston, The Year of Our War


Si- said...

I just bought Byzantium Endures online. Its ridiculously hard to find in NZ. I canna wait for the review! You have done some interesting reading in the last few days, got through a lot of books I would love to read and are high on my reading list. Where do you find the time? I'm currently on the last few pages of Nabokov's Lolita which Im reading for an English paper. It is a challenging, distressing book, but also very powerful and seductive. You hate and love the narrator at the same time, and he is amazingly enrapturing in his prose... In the most intense moments you will suddenly laugh out loud at his hilarious, ironic depictions of different scenes. It somehow becomes a cliffhanger by the last few pages. Quite an amazing novel really, not a light read in any regard.

Martin said...

Opener to a new fantasy trilogy that combines elements of epic, New Weird, and Dying Earth subgenres.

I believe it is actually a quartet, although he currently only has a two book deal with Tor UK. I'll be interested to read your review because I found this quite disappointing.

Alan said...

Newton's book is certainly one with several layers, once you look beyond the gloss (which in itself impressed me). Certain words and names possessed extra meanings - and there were one or two references to other works. Not for everyone perhaps.

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