Wednesday, August 01, 2012

What I read - July, 2012

“Goliath” by Scott Westerfield. The boy got it for Christmas. Ed read it after he did. I read it after this giant stack of other books. I had no trouble reading 100 pages of this at a single sitting. It was not a slog. I would pick it up to fill ten minutes while my tuna melt was melting, and have to drag myself away to eat. This really nicely wrapped up the series and the ending was satisfying. Plus, pictures!

“The Pattern Scars” by Caitlin Sweet. Her name had been on my to-read list since I saw her on a panel at Ad Astra 2010. Then there was this CBC voting thing where I voted for this book a whole bunch of times. So, at Ad Astra 2012, I bought a copy of this (from Matt Moore actually who was manning the Chizine table) in order to legitimize that vote. Not really sure if I would have picked it up otherwise. I really knew nothing about it, I’m sure I read the back and the web synopsis, but I didn’t have much of a sense of plot before I started reading.

So glad I did. This book was one to stay up past my bedtime to finish. The setting wasn’t euro-centric, the main character, Nola, was trapped and yet had agency. She had unlikeable traits, and yet her naivete at the beginning was charming. The bad guy was complex and I could sort of see how he went that way, with the flashbacks in the form of stories he told Nola. Her path sort of explains his path. Though I couldn’t get the motivations of some of the minor characters, but maybe that’s because I read so fast. The ending was heartbreaking, yet right. I liked the short sections within chapters, it made the book very easy to pick up and put down while I was cooking and stuff. Maybe I’ll try that in my next long project (probably NaNoWriMo at this rate).

“The Undead” by Dick Teresi. Honestly, the ridiculous collection of one-star reviews on Amazon only made this book seem more appealing, especially since a lot of them seemed to have not read the book or ever reviewed anything else.

So I picked it up at the library and in order to plan my life, I flipped to the  back to see how long it was and found myself in the endnotes. So entertaining! Whole email threads! Before I started reading I was thinking this book was going to be one I would want to argue with the author about. You know, kind of like he’s the obnoxious devil’s advocate type.

Well, if he is, then he’s the sort of devil’s advocate I like. His sense of humor was dark and appropriate to the subject matter, making fun of people like Richard Dawkins, rather than the dead people. I’ve signed the organ donation portion of my driver’s license and I don’t mind this all, but it is interesting, the relative values we’re putting on some people’s lives over others. He raised important questions, ones that need addressing. Disturbing, but entertaining. I laughed out loud!

“7th Sigma” by Stephen Gould. This one the boy got for Christmas. He put off reading it for a long time, maybe because he didn’t know anything about it. Then one day he handed it to me and said “This is a good one. You should really read this one.” As if all those other books he’s handed me were merely adequate.

This book is more episodic than I expected, but the episodes held together. The world is well-conceived and well-explained. I am going to have to take some parts apart a bit, because he’s targeting a similar audience to my zombie novel, and I want to see how he works the martial arts, the terminology especially. The writing is so rich in detail!

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