?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Books read, early May. - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Books read, early May. [May. 16th, 2011|09:01 am]
Marissa Lingen
[Tags|]

Ben Aaronovitch, Moon over Soho. Sequel to Midnight Riot. I still liked this one, and I will be continuing with the series, but it leaned harder on Peter (Our Hero) having to be kind of dumb from time to time, so...I mean, on the one hand, I buy that he's kind of dumb from time to time, but on the other hand that doesn't mean I enjoy it. I am also interested to see the bits that look like series set-up more in the second book than in the first. I'm not surprised that it happened that way, it's just interesting to think back to other early books in series and figure out where the series set-up stuff started. Oh, and also: Aaronovitch clearly did not pick jazz out of a hat as a musical reference theme. He nails jazz and various types of jazz musician pretty perfectly, so that was fun, and yet magically avoided earworming me. Good deal.

China Mieville, The City and the City. I am approximately the last person in the world to read this book, but here we are. Police procedural fantasy...ish thing. This is without a doubt my favorite Mieville to date, but as with previous works of his, the characters didn't really do much for me.

A. Lloyd Moote, Louis XIII The Just. Ohhhhh boy. This biographer was an absolutely terrible example of "the evidence you present does not actually support the conclusions you have drawn." He seemed to be committed to proving that Louis XIII was not the weak monarch people think. Except...the only thing he disproved was that Louis XIII was probably able to tie his own shoes. Really not much further than that. Oh, and that Richelieu managed him well. Which...was not really the point he hoped to make. He also fell prey to false cognates in several of his translations--I could look at the translated sentences and think, "I know how this French sentence goes, and that's not what it means." The other thing that was fascinating is that he bent way over backwards not to say that anybody had a sexually intimate homosexual relationship unless they were witnessed by a dozen impartial onlookers in the very act. I know that things like holding hands and kissing do not have the same meaning in all cultures, but if he'd used the same standards to determine who was engaging in heterosexual behavior, we might expect the human race to die out soon. What a difference twenty years makes.

Housuke Nojiri, Rocket Girls: The Last Planet. Second in the series, and still good fun. This one introduces Akane, who is a great big--okay, little tiny--nerd. I like Akane. Akane is my favorite now. This one also felt very much like it was setting up series stuff, so I'm hoping that that's true and we get more of these translated into English. Not earth-shaking stuff, but fun stuff, and that's not to be underrated.

Arturo Perez-Reverte, Captain Alatriste. Speaking of fun! The swashing! The buckling! The anger at the reign of Philip IV! This was so short that I was through half of it before I was done with my very efficient allergist appointment. I'll be looking to read more in this series.

Massimo Pigliucci, Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk. So on the up side, everyone can use a good, "Gahhhhh, look at the stupid!" rant from time to time. And there was a lot of really weapons-grade stupid going on in this book (not on the author's part, thankfully). On the down side...okay, all right already! Lots of stupid! Can we get into why people are buying this? Because how not to didn't take very long.

Hannu Rajaniemi, The Quantum Thief. Discussed elsewhere.

Ekaterina Sedia, ed., Bewere the Night. I make a policy of not reviewing things I'm in, so I'll just say: book! With me in it! Also other people!
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: sartorias
2011-05-16 02:08 pm (UTC)
Moote was a wonderful lecturer, but I have to say, his work on Louis XIV was better than that one.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: clarentine
2011-05-16 03:11 pm (UTC)
I really wish there were more Captain Alatriste books. The author really sets a terrific historical stage.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: diatryma
2011-05-17 03:41 am (UTC)
I wish I could track down* the first book in Spanish. I want fun Spanish literature!

*I have looked in two or three places, but I am lazy.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: clarentine
2011-05-17 10:52 am (UTC)
Heh. My Spanish is not good enough for that. I really enjoy the flavor the translator for the Alatriste books brings to the work, however; one of the things I enjoy the most about Spanish literature is the distinctive way the sentences go together.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zunger
2011-05-16 05:53 pm (UTC)
Speaking of Nojiri, have you read Sakurazaka's All You Need is Kill? It's a lovely little book, Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. Haikasoru has been bringing out some fascinating stuff lately...
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-05-16 07:27 pm (UTC)
I haven't gotten that one yet. Glad to hear it's good, although the description is a bit alarming....
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zunger
2011-05-16 07:28 pm (UTC)
And the title isn't? :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-05-16 10:12 pm (UTC)
Not in at all the same way.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zunger
2011-05-16 10:15 pm (UTC)
You're right. The title is more The Beatles meet Marilyn Manson, which is quite different.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: alecaustin
2011-05-16 07:44 pm (UTC)
I think All You Need is Kill was the first Haikusoru book I ever saw on shelves. Possibly I'm misremembering, though.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: intrepida
2011-05-16 06:41 pm (UTC)
That Alatriste books are some of Bill's favorites.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: swan_tower
2011-05-16 07:48 pm (UTC)
I know that things like holding hands and kissing do not have the same meaning in all cultures, but if he'd used the same standards to determine who was engaging in heterosexual behavior, we might expect the human race to die out soon.

That reminds me of a book I read about James I/VI, which pointed out that we don't have direct evidence he slept with men . . . but that, aside from the children, we have even less evidence that he slept with his wife. Certainly James showed more public physical affection toward men than he ever did toward her!

The only Moote I've read was his joint book with his wife on the plague of 1665. I remember thinking that one was very good, though admittedly I didn't have any other in-depth books on the topic to compare it to. Maybe because he was talking about disease? Or because he didn't have a pre-existing point he was determined to make, against the evidence?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-05-16 10:11 pm (UTC)
Yah, I don't know. When was the plague one done? Perhaps he learned better later?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-05-17 03:48 am (UTC)
That was certainly an integral part of the dumb.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sam_t
2011-05-17 12:03 pm (UTC)
You are not the last person to have read The City and the City, as I finished it last night. I enjoyed it a lot, particularly the incluing, but I did feel it hovered slightly uneasily on the boundary between impossible-thing-as-metaphor and impossible-thing-as-Fantasy. Then again, hovering uneasily on the boundaries is a bit of a thing, there.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: columbina
2011-05-17 03:42 pm (UTC)
I have not yet read The City and The City. My lovely wife has been trying to sell me on Mieville for a while but for some reason I have this idea that I will find his books offputting. (I haven't actually read any, so it's possible I got the idea from a review I read or something someone said at a convention or some such.)

I am interested in your positions on other Mieville works, should you have read any. The Kraken was recently read and appreciated by the other occupant of this house, but she did say it might not want to be the FIRST Mieville book I try.

I'm queueing up book recommendations, as in July I go to Europe and there will be a lot of enforced book time - which these days is pretty much my only book time. I think I've done 75% of all my SF reading in the last ten years in 1) hotel rooms 2) planes 3) trains.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-05-17 08:27 pm (UTC)
Well, what I've read of Mieville is largely early stuff--King Rat, Perdido Street Station, and The Scar, according to my records, although I thought I'd read Iron Council also. And I found it gross (sea of pus is the infamous bit around here, although King Rat might work beautifully as a diet book) and also I found the political alternatives he set up...very much stacking the deck.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ashnistrike
2011-05-17 10:31 pm (UTC)
Ah - does The City and The City do less of the gross thing? I keep getting Mieville recomended fairly strongly, but I got half a chapter into Perdido Street Station, and got thoroughly put off by all the pustulence.

-Nameseeker
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-05-18 02:12 am (UTC)
I did not find The City and the City nearly so gross as Perdido Street Station.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)