iridium: (books)
85. - 87. The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road, the Fionavar trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay. yet more good fluff courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] vyrin, this time in the form of densely-packed fantasy motifs...of DOOOOOM! also, naming your characters "Aileron" and "Tandem" does not help me to take things seriously. but that's ok, i don't have to.

88. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay. same author, still fantasy kinda-fluff, but more nicely crafted and an interesting thought-experiment about memory and identity. [livejournal.com profile] ravenslost says i should read some of his other books, too.

today, the only book i have read is Developmental Biology. the Barthes is still waiting, in part because i've put my brain on the shelf for awhile. also i think i'm about due to get some books back to their respective libraries.
iridium: (books)
76. 1602, Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert, Richard Isanove. Beautiful, and a good story indeed. I picked up [livejournal.com profile] dragonvpm's copy in El Paso and read half of it there, but didn't manage to finish it until borrowing [livejournal.com profile] asarwate's the other week. I might have to read it again before I give it back.

77. - 81. Dragon, Five Hundred Years After, The Paths of the Dead, The Lord of Castle Black, and Sethra Lavode, all by Steven Brust. Like I said, opiate candy for my brain. So far as I can tell, there are maybe four books of his that I haven't read yet, but I'm tempted to just pick up the Taltos series and start over again. Dangerous.

and from a few weeks ago:
82. - 84. Mort, The Colour of Magic, and The Light Fantastic, Terry Pratchett. All re-reads, but I needed something light and fluffy.

I've also read half of Collapse and half of Fragile Things, but those don't count yet, and I have The Baron in the Trees and Barthes' A Lover's Discourse to look forward to. (Thank you, again, Rax.)
iridium: (books)
just a roll-call for my own records, this time, going short on the commentary.

65. Phantoms in the Brain, V.S. Ramachandran. a re-read, still good.

66. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Patricia McKillip. fairy tales, fluff.

67. The Book of Jhereg (containing Jhereg, Yendi, and Teckla),
68. The Book of Taltos (containing Taltos and Phoenix),
69. The Book of Athyra (containing Athyra and Orca),
70. Issola, and
71. Dzur
all by Stephen Brust. it is like opiate candy for the weasels, and fun to read, too. i'm missing one book out of this series (Dragon), and then i'll have to go hunting down the few others of his that i haven't read yet. and then i'll start all over again.

72. Nextwave: agents of H.A.T.E., vol. 1, Warren Ellis & Stuart Immonen. full of violence and superheroes and Ellis-style ridiculousness. good stuff. (thank you, [livejournal.com profile] violin!)

73. The Five Fists of Science, Matt Fraction. yet more silliness, but this time with Nicola Tesla and Mark Twain! made me giggle. "So what do you do, just sit in your special science chair?" "...Well, yes."
*grin* (thank you again, [livejournal.com profile] violin!)

74. The Best American Comics 2006, ed Harvey Pekar and Anne Elizabeth Moore. an excellent collection, and i want to go back and re-read each little bit again sometime soon. and because [livejournal.com profile] pumapreysize rocks, it's signed by both the editors and has little drawings from three of the artists; my favorite signature-sketch is a grumpy-looking little bird by a fellow named Hob, pointing a wing at one of the other artists' sketches, saying "Don't listen to that boy."

75. To the Hilt, Dick Francis. standard suspense-and-whodunnit with a dash of racehorses and antique bejeweled things, but good enough to make it an effective distraction.

and still in the pile are Calvino, Frank O'Hara, Asimov, a few others. and more Brust if i can get my hands on it. any suggestions, since i have a library card now and all?

from Ellis, on Nextwave: "It’s an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It’s people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode."
iridium: (books)
I know I've lost track of some of the books lately, but here's a few from the stack of recently-read.

59. & 60. Brokedown Palace & The Phoenix Guards, Stephen Brust. Mmmtasty fluff. I could use some more of this...

61. Bloodchild and Other Stories, Octavia E. Butler. I've read one other of her books, and liked it despite the tendency to preachiness. This collection had more good writing and less preaching.

62. & 63. Cavedweller & Trash, Dorothy Allison. Both of these are re-reads, and still very, very good. She's one of the best storytellers I've run across so far.

64. Maus, Book 1, Art Spiegelman. Somehow I hadn't gotten around to reading this, but now I've at least started, and it's good so far. ([livejournal.com profile] asarwate, this is one I borrowed from your bookshelf.)
iridium: (books)
56. Sir Apropos of Nothing, Peter David. it'd be silly fantasy fluff, except for a bit of meta-storytelling on the genre and an interesting exploration of exactly how far you can go with the idea of an anti-hero. it's still mostly fluff, but that's ok.

57. Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation, Olivia Judson. a dense but entertaining reel through the sexual behavior of, well, everything. there were bits that made me twitch (the same sorts of bias that shaped conclusions drawn by scientists in the 1950s also applies here; only the exact angle and details of the biases are different) but the wealth of information is impressive, and i quite enjoyed the read.

58. My Invented Country, Isabel Allende. a memoir, mostly centered on Chile and how it shaped her, and where it fits in her heart. she's been an exile (during the time of Pinochet -- her uncle was Salvador Allende) and an emigrant and a traveller for most of her life, and as always she writes well. i've read another of her memoirs, Paula, about her daughter; that one was beautiful in ways of grief and mourning and memory, and this one is not as tightly-written, still lyrical and poignant but lighter and more full of laughter.

one excerpt from the last pages, where she writes about immigrating to the US and settling in San Francisco:

"The entire world passes through San Francisco, each person carrying his or her cargo of memories and hopes. This city is filled with foreigners; I am not an exception. In the streets you will hear a thousand tongues, temples are raised for all denominations, and the scent of food from the most remote points of the world fills the air. Few people are born here, most are strangers in paradise, as I am. It doesn't matter to anyone who I am or what I do; no one watches me or judges me, they leave me in peace. The negative side of that is that if I drop dead on the street, no one will notice but, in the end, that is a cheap price to pay for liberty."
iridium: (books)
50. Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi. very, very good. makes me want to go catch up on my classic-literature reading, and learn a whole lot more history.

51. & 52. Numbers in the Dark and If on a winter's night a traveler, Italo Calvino. both excellent. his stories are well-crafted and intricate and fun to read; traveler is a less-easy read, but definitely worthwhile.

53. A Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger. it hooked me fast and didn't let go 'til the very end. sweet and lovely, mostly without being saccharine about it.

54. Mixed Reviews, Aaron Cometbus. a tiny grey book with a blurry photo of birds on the cover, mostly about travelling and the pauses when he comes to rest in any given city. i think i enjoyed these pieces more than most of the other writing of his that i've read. (Double Duce and chicago stories, though at the moment i don't remember much of the latter.)

55. Something Rotten, Jasper Fforde. read it a few weeks ago, and already it has disappeared from my brain, except for the bit where i've been having a number of book- and time-travel-related dreams lately.

picked up Isabelle Allende's memoir, a compilation of Mark Twain's travel-writing, and Transmetropolitan: Lonely City, which includes the issue called "Monstering." the world would be a better place with someone like Spider Jerusalem in it, especially if that would make some kind of real difference. (and for that matter, R.I.P. Hunter S. Thompson. bah.) but instead of reading any of these, i've snagged McSweeney's #20 (which is just gorgeous, a bookbinding that makes me grin), Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation, and Sir Apropos of Nothing from [livejournal.com profile] l_stboy, and am reading that last one for pure fluff & escapism. (and also because i think i saw Peter David speak once alongside Neil Gaiman & Harlan Ellison, and he was sweet and funny and seemed entirely unbothered by the fact that most of the people there had come to see one or both of the other authors, but hadn't heard of him.)
iridium: (books)
50. Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi. not a light read, and one that i want to go back soon and page through, soak in more thoroughly, go look up references and history. i'm more than a little ashamed that i've never read most of the books that the narrative revolves around...clearly those should go on the list, especially with Nafisi's descriptions and teaching-notes close by them in my mind. in any case, an excellent book in many dimensions.

51. Numbers in the Dark, italo calvino. his writing makes me smile, makes me laugh sometimes at the way he picks random or little things -- black holes, water-transportation systems, pumping gas -- and weaves such delicate filigreed stories around them. and then there are the mock-interviews, with Montezuma, the Neanderthal Man, and Henry Ford, illuminating always in at least two directions, contrast and juxtaposition of imperfections. and "The Memoirs of Casanova" reminds me of Invisible Cities; in Cities, the names of the cities all sounded like women's name, each passage felt like a description of particular details of particular relationships. "Casanova" is a similar series of passages, this time obstensibly about different women, Cate and Ilda, Irma, Dirce, and Tullia...but much more about the narrator himself, and about the limitations of perception and connection.

i've run into Calvino a few times over the years, and each time i loved becoming enmeshed in his writing, but didn't follow up and read more. now i finally have three of his books for myself, and i suspect he's well up into my list of favorite authors by now.

and a small side-note:
an envelope arrived today, set on M's new batiked tablecloth on our dining-room table while i was out seeing the doctor -- a card and a mix-cd from [livejournal.com profile] tyratae! my day is made better. *grin* i owe you a good letter soon, and i should have time this weekend to sit down and give it proper thought...and in the meantime i'm delaying going to [livejournal.com profile] simplykimberly's craft-night long enough to pull the new music down through the laptop to electric-mayhem (the ipod) so as to listen to it on the drive up to El Sobrante. thank you!
iridium: (books)
45. The Years of Rice and Salt, Kim Stanley Robinson. epic alternate history, definitely an interesting read, but the quality of writing is inconsistent, and it's a bit much taken all at once. still definitely worth reading, and there are some neat thought-experiments there.

46. Invisible Cities, italo calvino. elegant, gorgeous writing, in such tiny packages.

47. The Essential Bordertown, an anthology of stories set in, & 'guidebook' entries for, the town that exists on the border between the human world & the realm of Faerie. the stories were of varying quality, but the good ones were lovely, and the idea of such a place is an interesting one to play with. the best went beyond the given tensions between 'human' and 'elvin/faerie' and looked more at what it means to live in the in-between places.

48. & 49. Lost in a Good Book and The Well of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde. more tasty not-entirely-fluffy escapist fun. i went through these in less than a day each, i think.

currently in the stack: another two Calvino books (a novel & a collection of short stories), the next Fforde novel, Reading Lolita in Tehran, which is textured and rich and makes me slow down and read it at least a little carefully, the little Cometbus i picked up the other day, and A Time Traveler's Wife, which i borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] l_stboy and haven't looked at yet.
iridium: (books)
40. The Cost of Living, Arundhati Roy. two political essays. "The Greater Common Good" attacks the propaganda of Big Dams in India, and particularly the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada River, a detailing of the ignored or unexamined costs of the dams, and also of the promises the dams fail to live up to. "The End of Imagination" is on India's nuclear tests, and again on the ways in which nationalism and patriotism are tied to such destruction. not an easy read, but she's a powerful writer, and these are things worth knowing and thinking about.

41. Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It, Geoff Dyer. "a collection of 11 personal essays covering his travels around the globe." he's a good storyteller, and occasionally his style caught me, but too often he just seemed callous, caught up in his own navel-gazing. but, at the least, it's another reminder that i want to get out and be travelling again before long, one way or another.

42. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde. hee! very tasty. i'm impressed -- a book that's full of lit references that i don't get, but which i still entirely enjoy.

43. War for the Oaks, Emma Bull. yet another re-read, but it's still a good book. and besides, i bought this copy in Minneapolis, at DreamHaven Books, to read after seeing a little of that city. it seemed appropriate.

44. Stardust, Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess. also a re-read. i'm sick and running out of books! might have to venture out and use some of the Borders/B&N giftcards i found in my piles of papers.
iridium: (butterflies)
39. small.spiral.notebook, volume 3, issue 1. some of the writing is good, some is rough but still interesting, and some of it was mostly just rough, or didn't get to me much. i picked it up in Portland, at the tail end of wandering through Powell's, from a rack of other literary magazines, because i liked the title and because of the photograph of a wrought-iron gate on the cover. i flipped it open and started reading in the middle of one story. the first paragraph i read...resonated hard, i guess, with wherever my mind was at just that moment. it reached out and caught me, more strongly than any little scrap of writing i've come across in awhile. [livejournal.com profile] l_stboy looked at it and mentioned that the author (Aimee Pokwatka) is in the same program as [livejournal.com profile] tyratae at Syracuse, so i picked up the glossy little thing and took it home.
so, then, here's that bit. )
iridium: (books)
i didn't keep up any records of what i read while travelling, so this is hugely incomplete. but then again, i didn't read quite as much as i usually do. so, in only the order in which they are piled on my bookshelf and appear in my memory:
#15-38. )

...and that's all i can think of for now. time for sleeping, very soon.
iridium: (books)
1. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Gregory Maguire. excellent.

2. Trash, Dorothy Allison. a re-read, but still excellent. ([livejournal.com profile] jencallisto, did i lend you a copy of this already? i thought i had one, but then i didn't seem to, so i bought another...) the story with all the southern/soul-food in it is called "A Lesbian Appetite".

3. The Wind's Twelve Quarters, Ursula K. Le Guin. i've read this one before, a long time ago, but long enough that i didn't remember some of the stories until i'd almost finished them. ones i especially like: "April in Paris", "Darkness Box", "Things", "The Day Before The Revolution".

4. The Museum at Purgatory, Nick Bantock. more gorgeous strange storytelling and art. banzai for gift certificates to bookstores -- i've been wanting to have this book for years, but never quite got around to it.

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