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

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Books read, early July [Jul. 16th, 2010|08:34 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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I don't talk about stuff I read in manuscript, and I don't talk about stuff I quit before I finish reading it, and I've already talked about a few of these, so this is looking like a lighter fortnight than usual.

Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker. Vivid YA SF. Worldbuilding and characters both very easy for me to get swept along with, and I don't recall anything quite like this future Louisiana reaching me before. It's not a nice future, not by any stretch, and we don't get any time in this book with the posh end of the future. This is not by any means a flaw.

Gretel Ehrlich, In the Empire of Ice: Encounters in a Changing Landscape. I never consciously try to read Gretel Ehrlich in July and August, but according to my booklog I gravitate towards her this time of year subconsciously, for relief I suppose. Ice, ice, and more ice. Greenland, northern Canada, northern Russia. Lifestyles of nomadic peoples on the ice. Narwhals. Walruses. Mmmm, ice.

Elizabeth Ann Hull, ed. Gateways. Discussed elsewhere.

Ursula LeGuin, The Word for World is Forest. Discussed elsewhere.

David Liss, The Whiskey Rebels. I really, really hope David Liss has smartass friends like mine. Because structurally it is as though one of his smartass friends shouted, "Do a flip!" in the middle of this book. And he then did. And while it is pretty good when, like, thousands of readers or the New York Times or whoever go, "that was wicked awesome!!!", it's even better when the person saying it is the person to whom you said, "Hold my hat/coat/drink and watch this." So I hope he has smartass friends like mine. Oh, the book? I loved the book. It's about the Whiskey Rebellion and the early US and early banking therein and a whole bunch of other stuff I was not at all sure I cared about. Loved it. Going to go get more of his stuff when I can.

David MacAuley, The New Way Things Work, a.k.a. "the Mammoth Book." This is the book wherein mammoths are used to explain it all to you. It all = cam shafts, nuclear power, hot air balloons, whatever. This is a very useful book. We have already gotten it for several small persons of our acquaintance and will get it for more as they grow into it. It is not a "sit down and read cover to cover" book, mostly, but one to dip into for amusing thumbnail sketches here and there.

John Elder Robison, Look Me in the Eye. This was described as a memoir of Asperger's, but I found other aspects of his life just as interesting. For example, I am not at all interested in very stagey hair bands of the 1970s and 1980s. But the people who design their stage effects are a great deal more interesting, having to have certain aspects of the geek nature and yet interact with rock at some of its most excessive. And Robison was apparently one of those people. Interesting stuff, not easily categorizable--I can see how it got put into being "an Aspie thing" simply because that is both true and the most obvious way they can label it.

Jack Weatherford, The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire. I had been looking forward to this, and it didn't disappoint. I didn't realize how much "daughters" was going to be metaphorical, as in "female descendants and their heirs," but it worked much better than trying to focus on a single generation of Mongol women for the amount of documentation and information we seem to have. I think, though I can't swear to it, that Central Asian history buffs will still find things of interest in this volume; certainly the majority of us who don't know very much about Central Asian history will.
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Comments:
From: kchew
2010-07-17 02:26 am (UTC)
The John Elder Robinson book was fascinating.
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2010-07-17 02:45 am (UTC)
Oh, boy! I really loved The Windup Girl and can't wait to see how
Bacigalupi does YA, except I might have to wait until I read that Mongol Queens book. Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: matociquala
2010-07-17 03:23 am (UTC)
I loved the Mongol Queens book THIS MUCH.

Also, SHIP BREAKER.
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[User Picture]From: arkessian
2010-07-17 09:01 am (UTC)
The Mongol Queens book *is* excellent, isn't it?
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[User Picture]From: auriaephiala
2010-07-17 08:52 pm (UTC)
I read the Mongol Queens book a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Just as an exercise in twisting one's brain around different cultural assumptions it was interesting. I would have like a few more references to the sources, though.
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[User Picture]From: auriaephiala
2010-07-17 08:57 pm (UTC)
I can highly recommend David Liss' earlier novels, _The Coffee Trader_ and _A Spectacle of Corruption_. Fast-moving and excellent historical detail.
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[User Picture]From: alecaustin
2010-07-19 05:45 am (UTC)
I had a copy of the Mammoth Book as a kid (though it was the original, not the new one with all the computer bits), and I loved it to death, except... it had a flaw. One of the signatures was a duplicate, so there were about 32 pages of it which just weren't there at all.

So not only was I very happy to see it at your place while I was visiting before Fourth Street, but I checked for the signature error. Which was not there, so no one in your household will have to suffer my pain in that regard.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-19 11:15 am (UTC)
I'm not saying we wouldn't have invited you in the first place if you hadn't been the sort of person who checked for the signature error. But y'know. It's so our sort of monkey sort of thing. I am amused.
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