The OF Blog: September 3-18 Reads

Friday, September 18, 2009

September 3-18 Reads

Twenty-eight books for the past fifteen days (with a few more likely for this weekend). Eight of these are re-reads from previous years. Interesting mix of non-fiction and fiction, speculative fiction and mimetic fiction and fictions between the two. Some of these books will be reviewed at length shortly; others have already been reviewed. Here's the list, with very brief thoughts:

323 Marvin Mann and A. David Lewis, Some New Kind of Slaughter - already reviewed.

324 Dave Eggers, Zeitoun - already reviewed.

325 Tamar Yellin, The Genizah at the House of Shepher - This was a very good read. Might say more on this later. Really enjoyed the mixture of the personal and the ethnic/national elements.

326 Jorge Luis Borges, El libro de arena (re-read) - already reviewed.

327 Steve Erickson, Zeroville - I mostly enjoyed this book set in So-Cal in the late 1960s, but for some reason, it didn't click with me as well as his Arc d'X did.

328 Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons - For some reason, the excellent elements within this novel did not gel together well, as my overall impression of the story was that it failed to live up to the promise of its beginning.

329 Sherri Tepper, Beauty - Very interesting take on updating the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale in order to have Beauty reflect changing attitudes toward women's roles in society. The story was written fairly well and while not outstanding in the prose department, it was strong enough to hold my interest throughout.

330 Kelley Eskridge, Solitaire - I enjoyed reading this novel. Nice mixture of good writing, good characterization, and a nice-moving plot.

331 Jorge Luis Borges, Biblioteca personal (re-read) - Collection of introductions that Borges had written to Spanish-language editions of several of his favorite authors from across the globe. Interesting insights to his views on literature and the writing process.

332 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go - This story was captivating. The prose was the best part, but the characterizations were also top-notch.

333 Jorge Luis Borges, El informe de Brodie (re-read) - This 1970 collection is relatively obscure and certainly underrated compared to Borges' earlier and more famous collections.

334 Jorge Luis Borges, Historia de la eternidad (re-read) - Interesting collection of Borges' thoughts on how eternity was reflected in legend, myth, and in fiction.

335 Jorge Luis Borges, Discusión (re-read) - Collection of literary criticism pieces from Borges. Learned how to apply certain approaches to writing reviews/critiques from this.

336 Lewis Grizzard, It Wasn't Always Easy, but I Sure Had Fun - One of the best humor columns/books I've ever read. As I said in a post over a week ago, I still miss Grizzard's wit, 15 years after his 1994 death following his fourth heart surgery.

337 Thea von Harbou, Metropolis - Novelization of the classic 1927 silent film of the same name. Interesting revelations about things only hinted at in the movie. Writing is more passionate than polished, however.

338 Pope Benedict XVI, Charity in Truth - Encyclical on social justice. If I have the time, might elaborate on the ideas expressed here, as several of them intrigue me quite a bit.

339 Teresa of Ávala, The Way of Perfection - 16th century work written by one of the foremost Spanish mystics for members of her convent. Gave me a lot of food for thought.

340 Caitlín R. Kiernan, The Red Tree - Already reviewed.

341 Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares, Dos fantasías memorables/Un modelo para la muerte (re-read) - Collaborative writing of policiales (police/mystery stories). Good, but not as good as the authors' individual works.

342 Gianpaolo Celli (ed.), Steampunk: Histórias de um Passado Extraordinário - Anthology of original Steampunk fictions written by Brazilian authors, released just over a month ago. Fairly good collection of stories overall.

343 Patrick Ness, The Ask and the Answer - Good followup to The Knife of Never Letting Go. Might review this in the near future.

344 Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl - review forthcoming.

345 Mark Bould and China Miéville (eds.), Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction - Review forthcoming.

346 Kenneth R. Overberg, S.J., Into the Abyss of Suffering: A Catholic View (re-read) - Sometimes, one just wants to read religious thoughts on a topic when one is worried and down about things. This was one of those times.

347 Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light - This heavily-edited collection of several of her letters were not as intriguing as I had hoped when I bought this. Guess this explains why it took two years for me to finish reading the book.

348 Margo Lanagan, Red Spikes (re-read) - I enjoyed this WFA-nominated collection when I first read it in 2007. My opinion of it only improved even more on a re-read.

349 David Anthony Durham, Acacia: The War with the Mein (re-read) - Good read; enjoyed it at least as much as when I read/reviewed it back in 2007.

350 David Anthony Durham, The Other Lands - Review forthcoming.

In Progress:

Lavie Tidhar (ed.), The Apex Book of World SF

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

Otsuichi, ZOO

Future Plans:

Caitlín R. Kiernan, A is for Alien

John Scalzi (ed.), Metatropolis

Housuke Nojiri, Usurper of the Sun

Monica Ali, In the Kitchen

Daniel Olson (ed.), Exotic Gothic 2: New Ideas of Taboo


Jacques Barcia said...

Hope you enjoyed the Brazilian steampunk antho, Larry. Really nice to know you read it.

Larry Nolen said...

I did, Jacques, even though there were times that I struggled with it (having to apply Spanish grammar rules to Portuguese is bound to lead to a few confusing spots!), but I'm going to re-read it sometime in the next couple of months and if I don't review it before then, I certainly shall have some things to say about it in late December, when I write a long article on non-English fictions read this year.

Unknown said...

What were you able to read 350 books in one year? oO

Larry Nolen said...

Well, I'm on #362 right now ;)

I've said it in passing before, but I have the ability to read with full comprehension at close to 400 pages/hour. I read for 1-3 hours a day most days and since several of the books I own are under 300 pages, that's what has led to me being able to read so many so far.

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