Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I read -- November 2011

“The Guns of Avalon” by Roger Zelazny. Book 2 of the Chronicles of Amber. I didn’t notice so much in book 1, but Zelazny really paints nice pictures and makes incredible economy of words in these.

“Persuasion” by Jane Austen. When I go to the library, I like to take something out to be supportive, so when they didn’t have whatever the next Jim Butcher book is in the Desden Files, I took out this. Also, I have a DVD of it, and I prefer to read the book first. Anyway, this was a Penguin edition, and it had an over-explaining introduction and footnotes that didn’t seem necessary to me. A lot of the footnoted words were comprehensible in context, and I mean, who really cares that the particular coach they’re talking about is better than a convertible because the top can go either way? I love Jane Austen, and this book was charming.

“Sign of the Unicorn” by RZ. These are so short I almost feel guilty counting them each, rather than reading the whole five-book series as a single book. But, I’ve started this way so I guess I’ll continue. The first time I read these books I remember skipping over the Hell Rides sections because they were boring and didn’t make sense and didn’t further the plot. This time through, I’ve been reading them, and they are actually really interesting, some of them, in what they tell about character. Corwin is basically a god; he and his siblings are a pantheon. He’s hundreds (or more) years old, and yet he makes decisions that are sometimes really young-and-stupid seeming. I say this because I feel like the message, sometimes, is that no one ever feels like a grown-up, even when they are.

“Cascadia’s Fault” by Jerry Thompson. Ed got it out of the library and talked it up so much I picked it up when he was done. We’re all going to die! Cascadia is the fault line that is going to keep pressing on the western edge of the North American plate until the rockies flip up like a tiddlywink and land on Toronto. There you had it, you heard it here first. I’ve seen the author’s documentary “shockwave” that is about the same topic, so I had no trouble visualizing portions of the story. The organizational structure seemed forced, though. It was quite rigidly chronological, and I felt like the author might have written, for example, all the sections with the woman emergency planner at the same time, and then cut them up. This left me occasionally confused because critical details and complete thoughts didn’t appear until later. Not that I have any amazing powers of structure (see all my posts on The Toothbrushing Club for examples).

“The Hand of Oberon” by RZ. I really thought there was something fishy about Ganelon, that’s all I’ll say. He sure picked up new skills quickly.

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