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Books read, late June - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Books read, late June [Jul. 1st, 2010|10:21 am]
Marissa Lingen
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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.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: rysmiel
2010-07-01 03:50 pm (UTC)
My understanding is that there is a plan for something like seven "new" Young Wizards books, so there are a couple more due yet. Mind you, it has been years since I heard this, so settling may have occurred in transit.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-01 04:56 pm (UTC)
New as of when? When did newness start, do you recall?
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[User Picture]From: txanne
2010-07-01 04:04 pm (UTC)
I looked at the Johnson, but got the Duane instead. (Gee, I wonder why I'm going for known quantities these days.) But our tastes coincide kind of a lot, so I think I'll ask for the Johnson for my birthday. Thanks for doing all my thinking for me! :-)
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From: arkessian
2010-07-01 04:04 pm (UTC)
Rats! I thought you'd found a Shute I hadn't read, then realised I recognized your description. It's also called Requiem for a Wren and is one of my favourites.
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[User Picture]From: fidelioscabinet
2010-07-01 04:15 pm (UTC)
Tangentially to your comment on Hubble, let me just type in the words "Henrietta Swan Leavitt". Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-01 04:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, I just read a much shorter book on her, and I didn't want to kick her at all. Sigh.
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[User Picture]From: fidelioscabinet
2010-07-01 04:15 pm (UTC)
Also, have you read Shute's Pastorale?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-01 04:55 pm (UTC)
Not yet. I am a very new Shute fan.
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[User Picture]From: alecaustin
2010-07-01 04:16 pm (UTC)
I love Felony and Mayhem.

This is not news, dear.

*blinks* Oh, you mean the press? Well, okay then.

All joking aside, the ethnographic studies thing is rather a nice touch (and you will recall my rather indelicate comments about issues of skin color in Earthsea). I can feel something brewing in the back of my head where that idea butts up against the whole "geographically distributed past vs. temporally distributed past" thing, but it hasn't cohered yet.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-01 04:55 pm (UTC)
"Mommy, is chaos my friend?"--Robin, age 2

Cohere! Cohere! Because I want to hear it.
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[User Picture]From: ashnistrike
2010-07-01 05:36 pm (UTC)
I liked the new Duane, and particularly liked that it had a different ending than most of her books. I enjoy her work, but there's only so many times you can have a final eucatastrophic confrontation with the anthropomorphic personification of entropy.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-01 09:42 pm (UTC)
I have not yet hit my hard limit on that, but I'm glad she did that before I had hit my hard limit rather than after, if that makes sense.

(Ack! Which of you has the extra name and which not? Tall or short will do, since I can easily see reasons why you might not want to attach your first names to your lj or you would have done so already. I was all right when I had no idea who I was talking to, but having a binary split of who I might be talking to is a great deal more troubling.)
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-07-01 05:43 pm (UTC)
There is no way I could read a book about migraines. There have only been two or three things that the reading of them still gives me the internal screaming horrors just by thinking about it, and a tiny, TINY piece on what it was like to have a migraine, maybe 200 words in the Utne Reader in 2003, is one of them. I don't know why. I can read about ER stories, amputated limbs, all manner of illness and pain and catastrophe. But not migraines. (note: I don't get them myself)
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2010-07-01 09:26 pm (UTC)
Deadheads was the first crime novel I read that did [that spoiler thing]. I love it for doing that.
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[User Picture]From: dancing_crow
2010-07-02 01:12 am (UTC)
I am so pleased yo got a shot at Deadheads, and did the ending creep you out to the same extend it did me? As in, extremely?

I don't usually feel as though the author forgot something at the end of a book, and Mr Hill has done it to me two or three times with Mssrs Dalziel and Pascoe.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-02 03:32 am (UTC)
I found it creepy, but I didn't feel he'd forgotten, I felt it was pretty deliberate.
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[User Picture]From: eileenlufkin
2010-07-03 04:20 am (UTC)

Dalziel and Pascoe

Where is a good place to start with these?
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[User Picture]From: alecaustin
2010-07-03 05:24 am (UTC)

Re: Dalziel and Pascoe

I gather that the answer is not the first book, and may vary depending on what sorts of things you are interested in. Perhaps a friendly neighborhood Mrissa could ask probing questions...?
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