Dec. 30th, 2014

roadrunnertwice: Rodney the Second Grade T-Ball Jockey displays helpful infographics. (T-ball / Your Ass (Buttercup Festival))

I wonder if I can finish these 2013/2014 book posts by the new year? PROBABLY NOT, but let's keep it rolling, and I'll do another one tonight.

Bryan Lee O'Malley — Seconds

Comics. Jul 19, 2014

This was really good. I don't have much more to say about it, it just pretty much nailed everything it was trying to do. It was cute and creepy and moody and funny. Do the thing, read the comic.

O'Malley's cartooning ability has continued to mature, to a point where I have a hard time even describing some of the stuff he's doing with time and space and perceptual shifts. He is working on a very advanced level and making it look easy. Also, his assistants and colorist have done a lot to boost the page-for-page budget for beauty and detail; this book looks phenomenal.

Lloyd Alexander — The Book of Three

Apr ???, 2014

I somehow missed reading the Chronicles of Prydain when I was a sprout; I know I picked up The Black Cauldron at some point (it was the paperback with art from the Disney movie on it) and I know I bounced off it, but I don't... fully... remember why. I think not having read the first book made the beginning of the second too much to catch up with, and I think I probably wasn't in tune with the sense of situational humor, especially the whole thing with the pig. I don't remember how old I was.

ANYWAY THOUGH, this was GREAT. Pretty much the ideal blend of straightforwardness and sophistication for kid lit, and enough distinctive detail in the world and characters to stand far out from the pack.

Lloyd Alexander — The Black Cauldron

May 7, 2014


William Gibson — Zero History

Apr 14, 2014

I liked this even better than Spook Country. A techno-thriller about pants was a strong contender for my favorite book of the year.

UGH, now I want to re-read this whole trilogy again. Yeah, I'm doing it. Getting out Pattern Recognition right now.

Robin Hobb — Assassin's Apprentice

Summer??, 2014

At Isaac's recommendation.

I eventually liked this! At first I was turned off by the dolorous tone of the narration, but after a while that faded into the background. The events of the story were super engaging, and I kind of liked the young version of Fitz.

I've heard mixed opinions on whether I'll enjoy the other two books in this trilogy as much, but I'm totally willing to give 'em a shot and am interested in what happens next.

roadrunnertwice: Sigourney Weaver with a trucker 'stache. (Sigourney Weaver with a trucker 'stache)

There's at least one more post to write to catch the last of the 2013ers, and I might finish a comic tomorrow, but other than that I think we're set.

William Gibson — The Peripheral

Nov 1, 2014

OH MAN. NEW FUCKIN' BILL GIBSON. And it's a good one. I went and saw duder at Powell's a day or two after this came out, and burned through the book in a few days.

This was a big shift after the Blue Ant trilogy. In fact, it's far more science fictional than I think he's ever been. But he's using what he learned from the Blue Ant books to really good effect. I kind of don't want to say any more than that, because this is that rare book where it actually improves the experience tremendously to go in with no spoilers or expectations.

William Gibson — Idoru

Nov 30, 2014

I'd never read the Bridge trilogy, but I think Nigel was telling me they hold up really well, so I gave this a shot. I liked it, but not nearly as well as the Blue Ant books. But you know, it's Gibson, so I was reading it more or less compulsively until it was done.

Melina Marschetta — Finnikin of the Rock

Sept. 1, 2014

YA fantasy about a kingdom in exile, after a cataclysmic assassination / coup / invasion / genocide / curse quintuple-feature. (It was not a good month for the kingdom of Lumatere.) I found this via somebody's review, probably [personal profile] coffeeandink or [personal profile] rushthatspeaks.

This was very good! An angry and needle-sharp book, which moves quickly and makes old maneuvers seem unexpected and dangerous.

Books I Stopped Reading: Melina Marschetta — Froi of the Exiles

Oct 2014

This, on the other hand, I was just not feeling, and I eventually put it down. It's a well-written book trying to do some interesting things, telling a difficult story about what happens after the restoration, and I'll probably come back to it some day. But I really wasn't in the right headspace for it.

Kip Manley — The City of Roses vol. 2: The Dazzle of Day

Apr 29, 2014

Okay look. I've been reading this story since, uh... literally 2004 (because I know I printed out the first three chapters on University College Cork's library laser printer and, after reading them twice, abandoned them on a shelf for someone else to find). I'm extremely fond of the author and his whole family. I might not be the one to go to for a clear-eyed assessment of this long-running serial's final chapters.

So I'll keep this short:

  • I think he stuck the landing. This was good, damn good.
  • If you're curious, you can start reading the series on the web. Actually the whole thing's online.
  • After reading it this long, the central constellation of characters is practically iconic or mythic to me now. (I think the cyclic repetitions of an episodic format lend themselves to a mythic or epic quality, actually, but I don't want to guess too much at how deliberate that is. Insert something here about television being a new semi-oral epic tradition; insert other thing about literary formats self-consciously descended from post-90s long-form television.)
  • The prose, as I think I've mentioned before, is probably not for everyone, but I love it.
  • I think it manages to do something new and interesting with the most classic of urban fantasy setups. "Elves in the city" is a tough row to hoe these days, but by going back to first principles yet staying in dialogue with what came before, Kip made something actually pretty fresh.

Tobias Buckell — Arctic Rising

Nov. 21, 2014

I started reading this in tandem with Crystal Rain, the first book in Buckell's earlier series. Vive la difference, though — these books almost seem to be written by completely different authors. Arctic Rising was a pop action thriller, running on fairly standard pop action thriller prose/structure/POV/rhythm; real unassuming pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain kind of stuff. No shyness about telling the reader exactly what people are thinking and exactly what the implications were of whatever just happened. Crystal Rain took more time to set a mood, messed around with POV a lot more, left more to be decoded.

And Crystal Rain seemed more like my kind of book, TBH, but I got sidetracked and this ended up being the one I actually finished this year.

It was all right! The writing may have adhered to thriller standards, but the freed-up cognitive effort all got funneled into social and geopolitical extrapolation. It was intriguing, and it was what I was in the mood for.


roadrunnertwice: Yrs truly surrounded by trees. (Default)
Nick Eff

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