Wednesday, August 06, 2014

What I read -- July 2014

“Tenth of December: Stories” by George Saunders. I read it on the subway, giggling. People kept moving away from me but whatever. Delightful. I went back and read some of the stories twice, to feel why they worked.

“Thieftaker” by D.B. Jackson. I’ve known about this series for a while, maybe even since before it came out. The author must have used to be part of a group blog I used to read. With my current Puritan New England project, I’m curious what other people do with it. Though this takes place a bit later than WWS, and the magic is different, etc. It has thriller pacing, so it didn’t last long. The only thing that annoyed me was I suppose the author’s style – he didn’t use past perfect where I would have. If I didn’t want to use past perfect I probably would have found away to write the sections differently. More descriptions of characters than I normally do, but that might be my flaw, not his.

“Steles of the Sky” by Elizabeth Bear. Book 3! So what to say about Elizabeth Bear? She was an instructor at VP when I was there, and it’s hard to comment on someone you hero-worship. I’ve bought pants because she recommended them (they’re fantastic pants). I’ve made recipes she posted. She does handstands and wall-climbs, and so do I! I approve of her use of past perfect tense. These books are really good. You should read them. Also, I will always associate this book (and therefore the series) with “Constellations” (the album not the specific song) by the Moulettes.

“World of a Thousand Colors” by Robert Silverberg. Short stories, and fabulous. I read “Lord Valentine’s Castle” in high school and it had a huge impact (right up there with, oddly, AE Van Vogt’s “Slan” but whatever). I really should read it again. Elizabeth Bear mentioned RS a month or two back, so when I was casting about for something to read and this was sitting on the shelf, I pulled it down. Glad I did. There was one story I remembered reading before: the man who couldn’t forget or something like that. I must have read it in an anthology. But I don’t think I’d read the rest before. One story had misleading confusing use of past perfect. These stories were mostly published in the 50’s and 60’s, and reflected gender attitudes of the time, which grated after a while. The story about the guy who named all his trees was a standout.

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