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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Reading

My "new" job keeps me pretty busy during the school year.  (I've held my current position for nearly 2 years now, but it still feels pretty new to me!)

As a result of all this busy-ness, I tend to keep recreational reading to a minimum during the school year and make up for it by nearly blinding myself with reading during the summer.  -sigh- so happy.....

This summer, I have been reading these books:

The Little Stranger
 This was, by far, the best gothic novel I have read in a long, long time. It was superb. And British!  :)

Captains Courageous
I couldn't stop thinking about the Discovery Channel's show, The Most Dangerous Catch. I liked this book very much, but Kipling is rather long-winded for my taste, I think.  I was ready for the book to be done about 3 chapters from the end.

On the Origin of Species (yes, STILL --- It's pretty dense)
I started reading this forever ago, and it's interesting, but very heavy on the scientific terminology. I was going to finish it this summer, but I left it at work.  Oh, well. I am about a third of the way through.

 This has lived up to, and perhaps exceeded, its reputation and my expectations.  I cannot wait for the 2nd book.  It was not at the library today, so I have requested it.

 The Killer Inside Me
I picked this up from a feature stand at the library.  It looked creepy and was billed as a "cult classic". I am a sucker for anything that falls into that category.  It was riveting.  Disturbing.  A little gross at times. I loved it.
 Infected: A Novel
 I will never look at anyone with Morgellon's disease the same way ever again. Or triangles. Or the woods in Michigan. Ever.  Very good SF book.

(Note: This cover is icky and tacky.  I like my book much better.) 
This book was nothing that I expected, and while the title may throw people off of reading it, it really shouldn't. It's a great book about parallel universes and specialized powers without being all magik-y. It was a very quick read, but enjoyable.

I know there was another one that I bought with a gift card at the end of the year, 
but now I cannot find it!  Hmmm.  
I bought it with The Little Stranger.  Hmmmm.
I'll let you know when I figure it out. 

UPDATED: I remembered!  I woke up with the book in mind this morning.  It was...
The Windup Girl
A really really good dystopian novel. I couldn't find it because I had given it away to a friend of mine who also loves dystopian novels because Bacigalupi had decided to include two very explicit scenes (the windup girl is working as a prostitute for part of the book) that made me not want to re-read the novel. I liked this book so much in spite of those two scenes, however, because the society portrayed is a plausible one. One that I hope never, ever arrives, but plausible nonetheless.
I also checked out an SF collection of award winning short stories, but I just wasn't in the mood, and I ended up returning it, unread.

Coming up: the books I checked out from the library today:

The Indifferent Stars Above
A novel crafted from a survivor's account of the horrific winter. This was on a featured display.

Cemetery Dance
I don't usually like series, especially long ones.  I cannot stop reading the Preston and Child books. Cannot.  They are so awesome!  A little graphic at times, due to the fact that they usually follow the investigations of Special Agent Pendergast of the FBI's serial killer division. They do write other storylines together at times, and they also each write separately.  Any author who makes me look up words to know what's going on makes me happy. I can't wait to read this one.

I really needed this one to be about dragons, but when I read the flap, it said, "The countdown to the millennium has begun and apocalypse is as close as your computer terminal" and "every hacker should read this book."  I had to pick it up!

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Chinese historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I decided to read this one even though the author looked white. I have to admit that I almost put it back when I saw her picture....but never judge a book by its cover, right?  I looked her up when I got home, and it seems I have picked up (at random, nearly) her masterpiece. Lisa See is Chinese-American, born in Paris and raised in California. Many of my favorite Chinese authors speak highly of her, and she lived in China to research the history and story of this novel. I can't wait to read this now.  I kept it because it reminds me of another favorite of mine: The Secrets of Jin-Shei. I'm very glad now that I did.

This was published posthumously and is billed as "not just the great Spanish-language novel of this decade, but one of the cornerstones that define and entire literature." I wish I could read it in Spanish, but I will have to settle for a translation of Bolano. Again, I picked this up off of the featured display. I really like our librarians, and I've liked almost everything I've picked up from these displays.

Well, that was a long post, but I hope you've made it this far.  If you're reading this, won't you add a comment telling me what you've been reading lately?  I'm always looking for ideas....


vanilla said...

Nice reviews, succinctly done. Hmm. I've not read any of your selections. A little Twain, a bit of RLS, some Scott Turow; the Book of Genesis (can't get enough of that.)

Happy reading! (I assume you still have two or three weeks before back-to-work.)

Secondary Roads said...

I struggled through the first three volumes of Dune. In retrospect, I had too much on my mind from work. Now I consider this series to be one of the finest works of Sci-Fi. Ever. You'll want to read the entire series (6 titles by Frank Herbert). I've not read any of the follow on work done by his son. I have all six as audio books and like to listen to them again each year.

Mark said...

You know, I try not to read too much, it interferes with my not writing, but I did just stumble upon Doctorow's Billy Bathgate, which intrigued me from page one, and not just because he likes full page sentences, and makes them work, but because, well I'm not sure yet, since I've only started, and I'm afraid his love of the rambling sentence and the elusive period seems to have rubbed off on me.

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