curgoth: (Default)
( Oct. 11th, 2012 09:26 pm)
Waargh, let this go too long without posting it again.
26. The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross
More Laundry! Not nearly so bleak and depressing as the previous installment. I enjoyed it, but found the ending a tad abrupt. I was expecting more epilogue than there was. I am starting to get more of a feeling that there's a larger story with an actual ending going on behind the books here. So, I think it's possible that we may eventually get a book title CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN that ends the series.
27. John Dies At The End by David Wong
This is not the right book to read while camping. There is a lot of bug-related body horror going on. That said, it was a nice, solid creepy horror novel that play with Lovecraft's toys in a manner quite different than Stross.
28. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This was a decent book, and I get why it's gotten so much attention. It was, very obviously, written to be turned into a movie.

Not that there's anything wrong with the story, but it's got all the biases of a Hollywood movie. A straight white teen-aged male who's smarter than everyone else overcomes adversity by being smart and brave, with the help of his friends who aren't white, straight or male enough to be heroes. The significant female character is the love interest, who has a relatively minor flaw that the protag can overlook, showing how deep and pure his love is when he gets the girl as part of his reward. Which makes it sound like I didn't like it. I have just come to expect a bit more of my literature in terms of trope awareness. I'm sure the movie will do well. Michael Bay could direct!

The other aspect of the book that's interesting is the 80s nerd culture fixation. Again, it's pretty specifically the nerd culture of the straight white kid who grew up middle classed in the 80s. It's extremely detailed, and makes it pretty clear that the book is not only fantasy for a certain kind of dudenerd, but a dudenerd of a certain age. I'm pretty close to the target demographic myself. It's this element that has gotten the book so much attention, I think. It aims itself directly at the classic SF audience. I assume the details will be sanded off for the movie version to make it more accessible to today's teens.
29. Colder War by Ian Tregillis
I confess, when I read book one of the Milkweed Triptych, I didn't realise that it was part of a trilogy. Which made the state of the end of book one rather bleak and miserable. Book two is, well, overall pretty bleak and miserable, but there are shards of hope glimmering here and there. Set 20 years after book one, Colder War does marvelous things with the terrible remains of book one. There's not too much I can say without spoiling one of the two books, but I was very happy with the way the character development was handled. I want book 3 now.
30. Distrust That Particular Flavour by William Gibson
A collection of William Gibson's non-fiction essays spanning the length of his career. It's interesting seeing the various ways he, as an author who hasn't done all that much non-fiction, has influenced the memetic atmosphere. It's more interesting when he analyzes that impact and mentions that he didn't really know what he was talking about at the time.

Which is of course, the other reason to read the book - Gibson is a fantastic writer, whose style makes everything interesting, even when it wouldn't otherwise be.
31. vN by Madeleine Ashby
Living, self-reproducing robots created as helpmeets for those left behind after the Rapture (which didn't occur).

These are the vN (von Neumann machines), a human created rival sapient species on Earth. Ashby does a fantastic job extrapolating from her premise, and builds out from Asimov's three laws, Blade Runner's Replicants and the various androids of SF's past.

There's a lot of pondering on the nature of Free Will, Humanity, etc. Also, killer androids on the loose! I loved the heck out of this book, and really hope there's more forthcoming.
32. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
The elevator pitch: standard D&D party fantasy novel, but! it's all set in a fantasy version of the Baghdad of 1001 Arabian Knights. Smart, rich fantasy that doesn't need a white dude to hang the reader's viewpoint off of.

Ahmed passed my most important test for good characterization - those moments where I say to myself, "Oh, Doctor Adoulla!" because the character has done something endearing or touching that is so very consistent with the traits that character has shown so far.

[ profile] mycrazyhair, you can read this one; the characters suffer, but none are actually broken.
33. Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
And, without planning it, here's another non-white, non-Eurocentric fantasy where I can almost hear the dice rolling in the background.

The setting really knocked me for a loop at first - the trick with the skies took some time to wrap my head around. And I still have questions about how the moons work.

Because this is Bear, though, it wasn't overly distracting, because Bear's strength is her amazing characters and their living dialogue. I fell for Timur (our !Mongol warrior prince) and Samarkand (Our !Tibetan(I think) wizard and former princess), and Dumpling the horse, and the refreshingly titless tiger woman Hrahima. As always with Bear, the characters felt like real people, and people I'd like were I to meet them.

Plot-wise, there's some standard questiness and a sinister evil in the form of someone whose the head of a cult that borrows a lot from the story of Hassan-i Sabbah and Alamut. There's some interesting plot nuggets of various amounts of obviousness placed throughout - enough for me to enjoy playing my game of trying to figure out if X is foreshadowing what I think it's foreshadowing.

I'm looking forward to the next book.
34. The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturlusson (translated by Jean I. Young)
I had never actually read this before. The translation I was reading was from the 50s, and the translator made some weird choices - in some places the beverage of the gods is translated to mead, in others, wine. The Jotnar are referred to as "frost ogres" instead of "frost giants". There are a lot of lists of names of things and places, and the translator frequently uses footnotes to explain the literal translation of about half of them, with no explanation of why those are translated and others aren't. So, not the best translation.

As far as the content goes, I was somewhat surprised by the amount of work Sturluson had to do to place the Norse myths into a contemporary (for him) context - I'd never run into the bit about placing the Aesir as wayward Trojans from an era when, after the Flood, man had somehow forgotten the Christian God (except for a desert tribe in the Middle East, naturally). The amount of mental gymnastics going on is impressive, but given that he was writing only a couple hundred years after Iceland converted to Christianity, he had to walk on fairly thin ice to get away with writing it at all.

The stories themselves I had already read elsewhere, in more coherent and internally consistent adaptations, and I'm left with an urge to do more research - it seems to me that we've got at least a little more references for Norse myth than I ran into here.

Which is not to say I didn't enjoy it, or get anything out of it.
35. Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher
I went into this book braced for the sort of clever, winking, self-aware sort of superhero deconstruction of Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible or Minister Faust's From The Notebooks of Dr. Brain. What I actually found was a fairly decent first novel that took a straight shot at the superhero genre. No smirking deconstruction required.

The basic setup is that Tony (whose name was derived from the Pixies song), finds himself with superpowers one day, in a fictional not-LA where the last superhero team battle frequently and inconclusively with the last supervillain. There's a couple deleted scenes at the end that I think really shouldn't have been deleted - certain bits of skulduggery fall through the cracks without one of them, and an important character change doesn't make any sense without another.

On the whole, I think the character development is on the weak side - I didn't see enough to understand why people were doing things, so a lot of character action seemed random. Things seemed pretty clearly set up for sequels, and I did enjoy it enough to read the next book at least.
36. The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
A British secret society tasked with recruiting super-powered people, and using them to combat supernatural threats to the nation! Our protagonist, one Mwfanwy Thomas, comes to covered in bruises, surrounded by dead people in latex gloves, with no memory of who she is or how she got there.

So, superpowers, White-Wolfian secret societies, and Identity Horror?


O'Malley did not disappoint me. This book was fantastic and wonderful, and hit so many of my literary kinks that I am still sad that it ended. On his blog, O'Malley states his intention to write more books, some in this world, some not.
Which saddens me only in the implication that there aren't more waiting in the publication queue already.
curgoth: (Default)
( Apr. 29th, 2010 10:07 am)

8. Chill by Elizabeth Bear

Probably my favourite Bear setting. Nanotech! A decadent aristocracy fighting back form the brink of annihilation! In spaaaaace! I had forgotten how much influence this had on the Nano-Victorian Future setting. I want a basilisk.

9. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Steampunk! Zombies! Airships! Believable characters! Boneshaker's up for a Hugo, and it deserves to be.

10. The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios

*This* is the book on science and superheroes I wanted. Kakalios clearly loves comics in a way that Gresh and Weinberg (of "Science Of Superheroes") do not. His basic approach is to grant each superhero a single "miracle exception" - say, the Flash's ability to run really fast - and see how much of the portrayal of the character otherwise obeys the laws of physics. I have a better understanding of relativity and quantum mechanics after having read this book. AND it's an enjoyable read! I highly recommend this book to foolks with an interest in any of a) phsyics, b) superheroes, or c) education - the book comes from open lectures Kakalios gave at the university he teaches at.

11. Jhereg by Steven Brust

(reread) After the latest Vlad Taltos book came out, I realised that, since I'd read a number of them from the library and hadn't been logging them at the time, I had no idea which ones I had and had not read. So I'm starting over and re-reading all of the Draegara novels. I think, in total, there are something like 20 of them. Reviews will probably be brief and as spoiler-free as can be. For Jhereg; meet Vlad. Charming Vlad is charming.

12. Yendi by Steven Brust

Clever Vlad is clever.

13. Teckla by Steven Brust

Conflicted Vlad is conflicted!

14. Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow

Definitely the weirdest Cory book I've ever read. I found the politics felt a bit pasted on to what was an otherwise interesting novel. Not that there was anything deeply wrong with the poltical unwiring and dumpster diving parts, they just didn't really fit in with the rest of the stuff.

15. The Supergirls by Mike Madrid

One of those non-fiction books with a really long subtitle that I am not typing out. Madrid attempts to cover the history of women in superhero comics with a feminist viewpoint. He certainly covers the range of women in comics, and clearly knows his underwear perverts, but I think the feminist angle could use more work, and the book as a whole could use a more vigorous editorial staff. To be fair, it is put out by a small press with a bit of an agenda, so I'm inclined to forgive a certain lack of polish. I found Madrid's language was quite casual - at times, I think, a little too casual for a feminist reader. I cautiously suggest that the book could use a little more jargon. There were places where the male gaze was sort of talked around, for example. I'm also a bit annoyed that Madrid used the old saw about a woman's sexuality being a sort of power over men without pausing to deconstruct it.

I'd say The Supergirls is a book about comics with some feminism in it, instead of a feminist book about comics. It's not awful, and I'm glad I read it, but I think it needed to be about twice as long with more editing to really give the subject matter a solid exploration.

16. Taltos by Steven Brust

Novice Vlad is a novice!

17. Phoenix by Steven Brust

Frustrated Vlad is frustrated.

Now I just need to get the next Vlad books back from [ profile] mycrazyhair, and wait for my Chapters order with the five after that to show up.
curgoth: (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2009 06:12 pm)

24. All The Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear

This book starts with the end of the world, and goes from there. The thing I love most about Bear's writing is, I think, that all her characters seem like people I know - or people I would know, if my friends and I were post-human vikings. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.

25. The Drowning City by Amanda Downum

Pirates! Ghosts! Zombies! Wizards! My only regret is that Adam didn't get more time. I enjoyed the heck out of this book, and want to give Isyllt a big hug.

26. Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Fehhhh. My review: The Law of Uppercase, The Rule of Myopia, and Stickiness. Gladwell Uppercases a lot of Words. I found it Annoying after a while. His section on crime in New York (praising the Broken Window theory) is trumped by Freakonomics' coverage of the same topic, which presents data indicating that crime dropped off throughout America, even in places that weren't using the Broken Window method. OTOH, I found Gladwell's section on how fashion trends spread nicely complimented the material in The Rebel Sell - one covered how, the other why. I think I will wait before trying another one of Gladwell's books. Combined with the storm of negative press I'm hearing about SuperFreakonomics, I'm thinking a vaction from... whatever the genre of books is that includes Gladwell and the Steves is in order. Time to go gtet sick of Atheists instead!

27. Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Scalzi's homage to Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Scalzi avoids getting mired in the political lecturing that ST is famous for. My main complaint was that the protagonist never seems to really make any choices, as such - the story sort of happens around him, with the situation and his moral character dictating the action. Still worth a read, and I will bet that [ profile] the_nita would like it.

28. bonus: Shadow Unit Season 1 by a lot of people(ebook)

!!!! Squee! An FBI procedural about scary mutants (sort of). It captures the magic of the early NCIS cast or Fringe. I am glad this isn't a real show, because if it were, it would be amazing, and then get cancelled by Fox halfway through seaosn 2.

curgoth: (Default)
( Jan. 5th, 2009 10:48 am)
To round of 2008...

29. New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear

Magic, vampires and zeppelins! Bear's alternate universe paints an America still under British rule, and where magic is as much a part of every day life as the technology the Industrial Revolution has brought. I especially loved the character of Abby Irene. But then, I would. It's been a while since anyone got me to enjoy a vampire book.

30. The Merchant's War by Charles Stross

Book four in Stross' Family Trade books. It feels a bit like a middle book, which it is - a lot of stuff happens, and nothing gets resolved. I'm glad, though, that the series has a defined end - there are supposed to be two more books until things get tied up. I'm still enjoying the books, but I am glad there's an end in sight.

I have a stack waiting for me, and I'm slogging my way through Neal Stephenson's Anathem right now.
curgoth: (Default)
( Aug. 25th, 2008 09:57 am)

16.Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear

Shakespeare and Marlowe vs. Elizabethan society and the Faeries. Sort of. Awesome. Bear continues to win at dialog. I am impatient for the second half of this one (Hell and Earth) to show up in stores.

curgoth: (Default)
( Jul. 16th, 2008 09:50 am)
I gave up on Feminisms after about 70 pages. I'll come back to it (or possibly another feminist text) later, and be more selective about the articles I pick - Feminisms had a lot of articles that were far, far too academic for someone of my limited background - I haven't the grounding in academic film criticism, literary criticism or other spheres in the Humanities, so I kept getting frustrated.

9.Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

[ profile] mycrazyhair was right - I liked this one. Quick read. I should go get more Ruff.

10.Whiskey and Water by Elizabeth Bear

Faeries! Magic! Doom! I liked this one better the Blood and Iron, possibly because the characters felt that much more like people I'd know. Also, Bear writes killer dialogue.

11.Shadowplay by Tad Williams

Faeries! Magic! Doom! I found it somewhat jarring to go from Bear to Williams. Williams doesn't have Bear's knack with amazing dialogue, so his charcters seemed somewhat wooden after Bear's. Williams does to a wonderful job at painting a vivid image of a complex and compelling world and plot, though, and I eventually got wrapped up in it. There's also an interesting comparison to be done on the two books based on how they handle feminist/gender issues, but I'll leave a deepr exploration of that to someone's Women's Studies paper.

12.Renfield by Barbara Hambly

Dracula retold from the point of view of Ryland Renfield, mad slave of Dracula. Hambly mimic's Stoker's writing style, with much of the book in the form of letters. She also includes a few direct excerpts from Stoker's work, which are identified for the obessive reader.

I'm past due for something serious, so next up will be Michael Pollen's In Defense of Food
curgoth: (Default)
( May. 20th, 2008 10:53 am)

6.The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross

More Bob Howard; take one part British superspy, one part BOFH, and one part H.P. Lovecraft, serve chaken, not stirred. While the first Howard book, The Atrocity Archives, was patterned after Len Deighton's Harry Palmer books, The Jennifer Morgue is a take on Ian Fleming's James Bond works. I didn't enjoy The Jennifer Morgue as much as I did The Atrocity Archives, but it was still a lot of fun. I missed the "Dilbert Factor" that was present in The Atrocity Archives, though the bit about PowerPoint was a nice touch.

7.Dust by Elizabeth Bear

One part nano-victorian future, one part Amber, one part Gormenghast/Upstairs-downstairs, one part "in spaaaaace!". I loved this book. I wish it had been longer, actually - I wanted more time to get to know the characters and the world before the plot swept them along. I eagerly await the next book. I also loved catching the little tips of the hat to various Amber characters. It's obvious if you're paying attention, but not a big enough deal that it distracts form the story Bear's telling. It seems that a lot of my reading lately comes down to Stross vs. Bear; both are prolific, and stand high in my esteem. I have to say that this round goes to Bear.

8.The Clan Corporate by Charles Stross

The third family trade book. Another series with obvious Amber influence, in a comepltely different way. I missed the economic theory play from the last book, but the attention to plot and character development made up for it. I look forward to being able to re-read the series when it's done to get a wider picture of the series as a whole. Not that I can wait that long to read the next one.

Even though it seems like too brief a break, it's time to get my brain back to harder material. Next up is Feminisms, edited by Kemp and Squires - basically it's a first year Women's Studies survery text. It's broken into six sections, totally almost six hundred pages. I am not sure I'll be able to get through the entire book in one shot without breaking my head, so I may stop after 2 or 3 sections, and come back to it in another cycle.
curgoth: (Default)
( Nov. 29th, 2007 11:19 am)

Everything You Know is Wrong from Disinformation Press

I couldn't finish this - it was pissing me off too much. The book purports to be a collection of news stories that haven't recieved much coverage by the mainstream media. Most of the articles are badly researched, badly annotated, and come across as crazy conspiracy theories. Even when I read an article where I agreed with the thesis beforehand, I found myself wondering if I should re-think my stance after the article. I got really sick of seeing the word "facts" presented in scare quotes. Also, while it is convenient to dismiss all information that disagrees with your thesis as the result of a global conspiracy, it doesn't help me consider your argument as well-reasoned and thought out.

The article that convinced me to stop reading the book was Mickey Z's "Fear of a Vegan Planet." I agree with the basic thesis, that a vegan diet is a more ethical and healthy choice. The article reads like it was written for a high school assignment.

Nearly all of his references are to video tapes, pamphlets or web sites from a partiuclar set of vegan activists. He dismisses nutritionists who disagree with his claimed protein requirements as being puppets of the meat industry, and the number he claims as accurate is supposed to be from the WHO. When I checked the end notes, his sources for the WHO data is... a pamphlet from a vegan activist group. He couldn't actually get the data directly from the WHO? It's not clear from the context of the quote whether or not the number provided is the amount of protein needed to not die, or an ideal healthy amount, but the context seems to be data on starvation in third world countries, so I am dubious about using that as a lifestyle choice.

My end conclusion, when I finally gave up on the book, is that these stories are not being presented by the mainstream media because thier authors are very poor journalists. some of the short editorials read fairly well, but it wasn't worth the pain of slogging through the longer articles.

The Chains You Refuse by Elizabeth Bear

A collection of short stories. I liked some of the stories better than others, but overall, I enjoyed the book. I liked the stories from the Edda of Burdens world particularly.

Undertow by Elizabeth Bear

An SF novel from Bear. I think this book might have benefitted from being longer - the characters seemed to have a lot more individual background and story than there was room for. I still enjoyed it - I just found myself wanting more time to explore each of the characters. My inner eye seems to be losing some of its anglocentrism - I had a hard time in Carnival not assuming everyone was white until given specific descriptions to the contrary. With Undertow, I found I was no longer assuming that the future would be filled with white people and special guest stereotypes .

Glasshouse by Charles Stross

Handmaid's Tale meets the Stepford Wives at a bathhouse, they do a lot of drugs and wake up in bed three days later with some software engineers they met on the way. Stross explores modern concepts of gender, identity, society and... stuff. Much goodness. Reading Stross' work always leaves my head buzzing for days afterwards.

I've started reading Disinformation Press' Book of Lies, which, unlike Everything You Know is Wrong is primarily essays from various occultists, and thus neatly avoids the problems I had with EYKIW - there's no expectation of journalisitic integrity here, andI enjoyed the hell out of the first essay by Grant Morrisson.

So much so, in fact, that I decided I needed to go buy and finish the Invisibles before I read anything else.
curgoth: (Imperial)
( Apr. 17th, 2007 02:59 pm)

Carnival by Elizabeth Bear

Science Fiction with a decent premise. I found myself having to
go back and revise assumptions I had made about the characters and
setting several times - I might re-read it later and see how my mental
image of the book changes knowing the later bits beforehand. I want
a utility fog outfit!

Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear

Bear at her most cruel, to her characters at least. An urban
fantasy full of fae folk and wizards. Bear does something clever with
POV in this book that I think works very well. I'd recommend this
book to anyone who isn't looking for something cheerful.

From the Notebooks of Dr Brain by Minister Faust

ZOMG funny. A self-help book for superheroes. At the same time,
an intelligent, aware deconstruction of superheroes, and a good
story. Did I mention it is funny? It is.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Informative. The first of McClouds three examinations of
comics. I didn't get as much out of it as I did from the
third book, Making Comics, but I'm not surprised - this one is older,
and has a different focus. I'd still recommend this one for anyone
with a serious interest in the art form.

Soul Kitchen by Poppy Z Brite

The third novel in Brite's chef books. I love these. If you've
read Brite's horror fiction, and didn't like it, you should read
these. If you *did* like her horror, you should read these, too.
Especially if you like food. Brite's writing has always been focussed
on her characters, with the plot mostly serving as something to show
of the characters. The difference with her chef books is that her
characters are now *likeable* instead of being psychopaths and
self-absorbed teenagers. On another note, I keep imaging Ricky as
looking like Rob Feenie, though as Liz notes, his personality is more like Anthony Bourdain.

curgoth: (Default)
( Jan. 26th, 2006 11:45 am)
Update on books read since November

Iron Council by China Mieville

Another fabulous New Crobuzon book from Mieville. It touches on a lot of the same themes as his previous books. If you found those too depressing, you'll find the same from this one - if, like me, you loved Perdido Street Station and Scar, you'll love Iron Council, too. One of the things I like about the New Crobuzon books is how Mieville deals with a fantastic world full of magic. When power first arises, it's a source of mystery and social change. Before that change can make a real differene, though, it's co-opted by the social power structure, and incorporated into the subjugation of the populace. The lesson? Magic, like technology, is not power, and it is not morality. I like Mieville because his writing reflects the world the way I see it, and nothing is so reassuring as being told that we're right.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

This took me a lot longer to read than I thought it would (I finished it yesterday). Thanks to the timely birthday intervention of the fabulous [ profile] corbet, I had my own copy to work through, though, and finally made it. This was a great book, but very informationally dense. Aside from the definite real life applications of the books's material, it's also a great resource for anyone who wants to write complex politcal scheming (or run an Amber game). It's also full of interesting historical bits - I'll wait until [ profile] neeuqdrazil reads it to find out how accurate thie history is. This was my "serious" book for this cycle.

WorldWired by Elizabeth Bear

The third and final in Bear's genre-straddling series. I was very happy with this book. I find Bear's writing flows just right for my head - I found myself getting irritated with other authors for not being as smooth. WorldWired deals with a lot of characters, as does the Martin book below. I think both do a good job of keeping many balls in the air at once, but of the two, I think I may have been more satisfied with WorldWired. Bear would be my favourite author of 2005, except that I reserved that space for Charlie Stross after Iron Sunrise's description of a supernova.

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

The very long awaited next book in Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice. Apparently, the book grew too large to publish in one volume, so Martin pulled out half the chapters, and this is the result. The next volume should be out shortly. The books in this series change POV character from chapter to chapter, so A Feast for Crows only covers half of the characters - the other half will be their story for the same time period in the next volume. While I liked the book, I think Martin is overdoing it. He's spending a lot of paper on characters who aren't directly important - while thier actions are significant, I think it would be better if, rather than 5 or 6 chapters, they got a paragraph or two explaining thier actions. The series doesn't need more emotional involvement with more characters - the focus is starting to get blurry. The fact that the book was pulled in half shows in spots - there are bits that come across as a little awkward, or where the character's personality doesn't quite seem right. While still better than all the other Massive Unending Fantasy series, I think A Feast for Crows may be the weakest of the lot. Which isn't to say that I didn't like it, or that I'm not eagerly awaiting the next volume so that I can FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

curgoth: (Hero)
( Aug. 14th, 2005 09:35 pm)
Recent books

  • The Family Trade by Charlie Stross. A lot of parallels have been drawn between this book and the Amber books. It's a fair comparison, and a pretty good book. I didn't really think the romance bits of it made sense in view of everything else that was going on, but it's the start of a series, and I'm hoping that the succeeding books will smooth that out.

  • Scardown by Elizabeth Bear. I liked this a lot. I'm eagerly awaiting WorldWired. It's cyberpunk, but not. Most importantly, for me, the characters are really solid and human. A lot of the standard cyberpunk tropes are present, but where classic cyberpunk tends to let the tech and the setting frame characters who are cold, alienated and distant, Bear's characters act like people.

  • The Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee. My "serious" book for this cycle. I'm not finished this yet - still fighting through the last 20 pages. Every serious martial artist should read this. Part of my problem is that most serious martial artists have read it - it's clear that my teachers read it, and took what they wanted from it - so some of the big changes Lee was hoping to make with the book have been worked into the instruction I've received. The book was collected from 7 volumes of notes Lee had put together with the intention of polishing into a book before he died. This shows - the book has a lot of interesting things to say, but it's very much a lot of stuff just tossed down onto paper. I haven't gotten as much out of the book as I could have, if I were actually training right now. A lot of the specific techniques aren't that useful to read about without a place to practice them. More importantly, though, it's got me thinking again, and is motivating me to go train again - I'm hoping to go back to OCMA (my old club in Oakville) when the office moves in September. I'll be working most of the way to Oakville already, so it just makes more sense to go back there than try to find a club in TO, and then try to fight my way through traffic every night to get there.

I've already got my next four books from the library sitting waiting for me. I need to rush through the end of JKD so I can get going on the new ones - they're going to need to get back before too much longer.
curgoth: (Default)
( Feb. 7th, 2005 10:26 pm)
I have decided to join the other sheep and log my books this year.

I ended 2004 reading Carol Queen's "Real Live Nude Girl". 2005 thus far:

  • Neal Stephenson's "The Confusion"

  • Neal Stephenson's "System of the World"

  • Tad Williams' "ShadowMarch"

  • Elizabeth Bear's "Hammered"

I normally read a book a week, but both Stephenson and Williams write what [ profile] neeuqdrazil calls "wristbreakers"; big heavy books that take a long time for slow pokes like me to get through.

My goal this year is to read one "serious" book for each three "fun" books; the Carol Queen counts as serious - I made a special exemption for Hammered, in part because I needed some SF badly, as I was getting over historied.

I'm currently working on a biography of Aliester Crowley called "Do What Thou Wilt" as my serious book. I have the new Anne Bishop waiting for me on the other side, as well as a Terry Pratchett on loan from [ profile] night__watch, not to mention the Castenada. I spent a few days struggling with Sarah Ash's first book, but I couldn't get past the romance-novelly-ness of the plot.


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