July 1st, 2010


Books read, late June

Shorter list than usual for some reason.

Marcia Bartusiak, The Day We Found the Universe. It turns out I want to kick Edwin Hubble repeatedly if I read about him at any length. It turns out Shapley isn't any better. Wheeee. This was not a bad book, and it's an interesting part of early 20th century astrophysics to refamiliarize myself with. It's just that Hubble was pretty obnoxious in spots.

Diane Duane, A Wizard of Mars. I hope this isn't the last Young Wizards book, but it's a good one anyway. Diane Duane indulges her love affair with Mars, but not to the point of being self-indulgent about it. The characters and type of story are allowed to grow up but not forced into unnatural bits of it. It's a fine line she's walking, and she's doing it very well. If you've fallen behind on the Young Wizards books, I think they are very much worth catching up on.

Reginald Hill, Deadheads. I love Felony and Mayhem. Specifically, I love that Felony and Mayhem Press is putting out the older Dalziel and Pascoe books so I can fill in the gaps. This is the period of the series where he's starting to have real fun with the characters, though it's not into the full on extended romps of the late period, which I have to say are my favorite. Still much recommended as a series, and though I would probably not start with Deadheads it is not as bad a place to start as the very very beginning.

Alaya Dawn Johnson, Racing the Dark. I have a rose-colored girlish dream that one day a book about brown people who do magic and live on islands will not be reflexively compared to Earthsea when they really aren't very similar. I think the thing that struck me most about this book was that the world felt bigger than most. There were more cultures on it, more different types of person who didn't really know anything about each other, and some of them had higher tech levels and would do ethnographic studies of each other, and I really liked the level of texture involved that way.

Andrew Levy, A Brain Wider than the Sky: A Migraine Diary. I am a bad person for wanting Levy's auras to be more interesting than they were. I also rolled my eyes a bit at the variety of things he declared "migrainous art" by fiat. He's like many modern writers who have been diagnosed with something or had a close relative diagnosed with something: he wants everyone in history to have had it. (He does acknowledge this a bit more than most, thankfully.) The other problem here is that the last book I read on migraine was by Oliver Sacks, and most people's nonfiction prose is not really as much fun as Oliver Sacks's. It's just how the world works, unfortunately for most people.

Nevil Shute, The Breaking Wave. What I like about Shute is that I don't always have any idea what kind of story he's going to tell when he starts out. It is occasionally very nice indeed to be a completely naive reader in some ways. This is mostly the story of how a young woman's war experiences change her and how her life goes after and how it affects those around her, including the narrator. He does seem fond of the slightly distanced narrator, but he does it well. I like Shute.

You don't even want to know the line about L-space.

timprov: "It's all about orangutans! Ook!"
Me: There needs to be a line about the Bursar somewhere, but I don't quite know what.
Me: You know, before there was such a thing as the internets, I think people like us thought we stuck around each other because only we could stand each other. And now when we put stuff like this on lj, people show up and tell us it's awesome.
Me: So only we understand how truly shameful it really is to sit here and make up Terry Pratchett filks of Weird Al parodies of rap songs.
timprov: That probably needs to go on livejournal.
Me: Sigh.