Saturday, January 26, 2013

Books Post

I'd been pretty good before about writing entries on books I'd recently read, but that sort of fell behind. Thus, a huge backlog entry of books I've read since my last book post!

War and Peace
I thought I'd give this a go after Anna Karenina, since it was big and meaty and kept my brain occupied for a long span of time. His books are very strange in their plot arcs. It's just one thing happening after another and after another. I believe I enjoyed it in an idle way of sitting back and watching people go about their lives.

Red Dragon
This was a bit of a whim and I can't remember what inspired me to read it. It gave me weird psychological nightmares, which has never really happened to me with a thriller or horror book before. Anthony Hopkins of course obeys the mental image of Hannibal Lector now and forever. I wonder how authors feel when that happens to their books?

Far from the Madding Crowd
Like Snow Fox before, this was a "randomly plucked from the shelves" title, and a pretty interesting read. At first it started out as a love story, then I realized it was turning into a love triangle, then it surprised me by taking it even further and turning into some manner of love quadrangle. The setting imagery was pretty nice. I approve.

Joust Series
I started reading Mercedes Lackey stuff only recently, which surprised me because I would have loved this stuff in high school. The Joust series is about dragon riders, and much of the books are occupied in the care and feeding of jousting dragons. These books are delightful, but kind of mild in conflict. There were always cases where I'd get nervous because they were perfect for the author to pull some cruel reversal, but she never did. That's okay, really, it made for a stress-free read.

The Lady in the Tower
A historical fiction book on Anne Boleyn, which I picked up because I think I reached her in some wikipedia link-clicking vortex I was engaged in one evening. Man, Henry VIII was a jerkface.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
For a long time my only frame of reference for this book was when it appeared as a gag in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, getting a pack of dogs excitedly rushing off to Brooklyn to find the tree. This book is AMAZING and I recommend it for anyone. Because of the time frame and the setting, there were a lot of parallels to what I'd read of the childhood of Harpo Marx in his autobiography (one of my favorite books), so a lot of the customs and scenes seemed familiar to me.

A Paradise Built in Hell
My brother recommended this to me, and I went in expecting a big downer, as it is a study in the behavior of groups after large scale disasters. Much to my surprise, however, a lot of it debunks the common perception that normal people turn into savage looting mobs. Normal people actually tend to behave quite altruistically, and can even experience a sense of joy in spite of being in the midst of a disaster due to the communities that and sense of belonging that form up around them. The trending behavior of power holders in these situations, however...

A Song of Ice and Fire
Yeah, I'm deep in the midst of this series. I never realized that I could be so entranced by the vivid details of political intrigue, yet here I am!

Man in the Iron Mask
I was really surprised at how good The Three Musketeers was the first time I read it. But man, this one is just a huge downer. Also it has no resemblance to the movie whatsoever, in case you were wondering.

I read this because the other Neal Stephenson book that someone recommended to me wasn't at the library. Reading this book sometimes felt like taking a college course, due to all the specialized fictional vernacular, but I loved it. I loved the idea of a monastic society based on math, and the story unfolded into something bigger and more spectacular than I'd been expecting. It kept me hooked the whole way through

Snow Crash
Since I enjoyed Anathem so much, Nick lent me this (I never did get around to reading the original Neal Stephenson recommendation that got me to the library, and I don't remember which book it was at this point). I loved the context and the conflict in this book, and it was fun to see how the future evolved from the time this was written. Some of it was in the right direction, other aspects were a bit of a miss (no one expected smart phones in the 90s!)

So there you go! I hope to do these a little more frequently in the future, to avoid huge backlog posts like this one.

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