Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Getting through the backlog

Sara mentioned yesterday in the comments section of another post about "The Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis. I guess if you're in the mood for end of the world plague books, this really is one of the better ones. Willis apparently took five years to research and write the thing, and it shows as it is easily her best book. Time travel, an outbreak in a futuristic Oxford and a look at what happened when the Bubonic Plague hit England.

My favourite thing about the book, really, is the whole idea that the only people really interested in, or that find time travel even the slightest bit useful, are historians. There's a riff on that I'd like to explore one of these days in my own writing.

Anyway, this brought me to the notion that I really must reread "The Doomsday Book" again at some point. I do have a copy of it here and, for years, it was one of my favourite novels. That, Iain Banks "The Crow Road" and Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon". However, I'm in the middle of a small book reading project right now that I need to complete first.

I've gotten out of the habit of reading books lately. I blame this entirely on the Internet. For whatever reason, I've gotten more into the habit of reading articles or things of interest online as opposed to picking up a book. The result is that I have a bit of a backlog of books that I really need to start reading. And they're by authors I like as well.

So I've resolved no more Chapters orders until I read at least five of the unread books on our shelves. I recently finished the first of these books, "Fool" by Christopher Moore. The book is King Lear as told from the very skewered perspective of Lear's fool.

It's probably the best thing Moore has written since "Lamb". His last two books were "A Dirty Job" (mediocre) and "You Suck" (awful). So it's nice to see him get back into form. It's pretty damn funny, although you need a high tolerance for profanity. Some people who read this blog are not fans of random profanity, and Moore uses it with glee in this book. Don't worry about if you've never read Lear. I haven't and you can follow it just fine. And as Moore points out, there are lots on incongruities about Lear anyway.

Right now I'm reading "Let The Right One In" by John Lindqvist. It's part of my quest to find something scary about vampires again. So far, it's had a few moments, but Lindqvist is working on a broader scale here rather than trying to tell just a simple vampire story. There's drugs, bullying, pedophilia, commentary on suburban life, and other assorted things in the mix as well. It's good, but not blowing me away. Part of me wonders if it's because Lindqvist is trying to do a lot here and I'm still in the early stages, or if the translation if not quite right (the book was originally written in Swedish). Always hard to say with these things.

Next up after that is a pair of Peter David books - "Treason" and "Tigerheart". The first is a Star Trek novel, which might seem like a cheat, but David does really good Trek novels and it's been a few years since he's worked with the particular characters in this book. 'Tigerheart" is his riff on Peter Pan, which I'm curious about.

After that it is "In A Sunburned Country" by Bill Bryson. I really ought to finish that book before heading off to Australia. And then maybe "Bad Monkeys" by Matt Ruff, which I started and liked several months ago, but stopped for some reason.

If I were feeling really brave, I'd try to get through Stephenson's "Anathem", but that book is a monster and, a quick flip through the first dozen pages shows that it's going to be one of those novels that literally might take me months to get through.

I'm kind of hoping that by reading all of these books before I allow myself another Chapters order, it gets me back into the swing of reading books again. I kind of miss it.

Last Five
1. Sleeps with butterflies - Tori Amos
2. Early morning man - Andrew LeDrew*
3. Octopus's garden - The Beatles
4. Alex Chilton - The Replacements
5. Rena - Blue Rodeo

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