Zachary Mason’s Void Star turned out to be really good, by the way. Now, off to Michael Crichton’s Dragon Teeth…
Bought that for my dad for Father’s Day. He’s a Milton fan, and has lent me some of his - really enjoyed Nathanial’s Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth and White Gold.
Currently one-third of the way into Mo Yan’s Big Breasts and Wide Hips, which follows four generations of a Chinese family from a small village. While it takes place during a tumultuous time in Chinese history (Japanese invasion, the rise of Communism, the Cultural Revolution), those events only serve as a backdrop to the interaction of family members and villagers. My mother-in-law had to flee mainland China during those years, and it is spooky how much the mother in this book reminds me of her.
In real life, the Chinese government has tried to censor Mo’s books worldwide and throughout China, without much success. His writing style is engaging, and his story is humorous, frightening and emotionally moving all at once.
I read, and loved, Yan’s Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out a few years back.
Going through my annual re-read of Will Self’s Dorian.
I think I’ve reread it every summer since I was, around, 12 or so. It is a nice summer read all in all, somewhat clever and awarely vapid in equal amounts.
I’ve made a note of this - always good to find more high quality Asian literary voices!
A Grammar of Chalcatongo Mixtec
Reading Robert Graysmith’s Zodiac out of a sense of nostalgia.
My neighbor had a great big library and I first encountered the book in 2005, and it’s been an engaging read ever since.
I’ve just finished the Audible version of Farenheit 451 (another classic that had bypassed me somehow). I’m not great with stream-of-consciousness narration - mostly because I don’t think like most people - but once I got into the mode, it’s a great examination of how society could drift into full-on anti-intellectual. Think Trump’s deplorables running the show. Once the action started, the story really flew with tension and emotion.
So, while the story was 4.5/5, Tim Robbins’ narration was diabolical. I wonder if he thought he was appearing in a one-man drama about alcoholic firemen. Anyway, I loved the original movie adaptation too, so I wonder if the new version will make it 3 for 3?
I liked Farenheit 451 a lot (and there are some very prescient details in there about how our relationship with politics has evolved), but it does feel like several different story ideas bolted together, and not always particularly smoothly. The final act, in particular, almost feels like a different book entirely.
Yes, it was more action, less thinking later on. Definitely a different feel. The 1966 movie is such a great screen adaptation though, I was a little tentative about finally getting around to the novel.
Just finished Richard Kadrey’s newest Sandman Slim novel, The Kill Society. The last book ended on a pretty strong cliffhanger with Stark murdered and in the Afterlife as a spirit rather than human trapped like previous. Unforuntately, that means this story is set entirely in the Afterlife, specifically Tenebrae, the limbo for souls unwilling to enter hell. I found this a bit worrying as Kadrey’s depiction of the Afterlife, particularly Hell, has always been the weakest part of the series. The book set entirely in Hell is definitely the lowest point of the series. So I was relived to find this worked much better. It’s advantage is by setting it in Tenebrae, it avoids the less satisfying elements inherent in the Hell setting. Instead the story reads like more like a post-apocolyptic road trip, which works much better. Stark finds himself roped into a caravan of killers dragging something through the Tenebrae. There are some familiar faces among the caravan, which is led by the charismatic and mysterious Magistrate, so Stark can’t just abandon the caravan and strike out on his own. The Magistrate is searching for something and is willing to murder anyone necessary to find it, which obviously puts him at odds with Stark. As expected there are a couple twists along the way and it all ties back into the ongoing subplot about the war taking place in Heaven.
Kadrey has a tendency to introduce story elements and characters from previous books with much explanation or reminder of who they are, which can be a bit bothersome when you haven’t refreshed yourself on all the entries of the long running series. This book is particularly egregious about it since it involves an element from a short story that I doubt many people have read. The section feels like set up for a later story so its a bit disappointing to discover its actually just a reference to a previous story. But even with that issue this is one of the better recent books in the series. It’s simplicity works to its advantage and the idea that Stark is really and truly dead and can’t return to the living world, while obviously not going to stick, is a good one for the character to struggle with. As usually the book ends on an interesting set up for the next one and even if this one feels a bit familiar I’m curious to see where Kadrey goes with it.
Let’s put it this way: I’m not keen on anyone giving me a Voight-Kampff test.
Thai Reference Grammar
[quote=“Rory, post:1575, topic:28”]
Just finished Richard Kadrey’s newest Sandman Slim novel, The Kill Society.
[/quote]In a pseudo-coincidence, I just started reading the first novel, Sandman Slim.
The first two books are definitely the best of the series, with the second being the best, so if you’re into hard edged urban fantasy then you’re in for a treat.
My brother keeps up with the series. I’ve ready the first three (I think). I lost track of how many there are now or where exactly I am. I think Aloha from Hell was the last one I read. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read though.
I believe that’s the third or fourth? As I said above, it’s definitely the weakest of the series in my opinion, just because I wasn’t impressed with his take on hell.
I actually liked his take on Hell as a reflection of his previous life. I am up to book 7 in this series. i am looking forward to it. He is asked to solve a mystery involving Death.