Saturday, October 31, 2009

What I read: October, 2009

"The Drowning City" by Amanda Downum. The boy bought this book about the day after it came out at the Borders Express in North Conway, NH, I think because necromancers are cool. He read 65 pages and then abandoned it because there wasn't enough magic. The storyline was maybe too much about politics for him, and not enough about reanimating an army of dead and having them swarm the city.

I did not have that problem. I started this book in the Porter terminal on the way to VP, and finished it a couple of days after I got back. I did not read more than maybe 10 pages while I was there.

"Palimpsest" by Catherynne M. Valente. I'd read one of her other books, and it stayed in my head, and this one had just come out, so I put it on my list. It's really good in a sublime sort of way. Palimpsest is a city that people from our world can only get to in their dreams, and via having sex with someone else who has been there. It's like a drug, with all the attendant issues -- some people seem to be able to manage it, some not. The story follows four people who got into Palimpsest for the first time on the same night, and are therefore linked. This must have been an incredible challenge to make work, structurally, but it did work. And the city was wonderfully realized, with that thing that was talked about at VP -- giving readers the information they need at the time, rather than all the information about something the first time it's encountered.

"The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman. I gave this book to Ed for his birthday a couple of years ago, and have finally gotten around to reading it myself. We've also been watching the TV series "Life after people" which covers the same ground. The two are interesting complements to each other. This book has a story idea on every page (except the Petroleum chapter, which I didn't understand). It made me want to read 1491. I guess I should pick that up, with a few research tomes for Apocryphal.

Three books this month? I feel I am not living up to Justine Musk's expectation that a writer first read obsessively. And I don't think I'll do better next month, as I just signed up for NaNoWriMo. In fact, I'll probably do worse.

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