Monday, November 02, 2015

What I Read -- October 2015



“The Buried Giant” by Kazuo Ishiguro. So much buzz! So much fake controversy! I found this book really slow – too much dialog. At the same time, that dialog expressed character really well. Sir Gawain was really funny. We have a game we play at my house: the “Are you calling me fat?” game. It’s where everything you say can be turned into a comment about my weight. I think it’s enormously fun, Ed maybe not so much (the boy seems to like it too, often chiming in with “Did you just call her fat?” before I even have a chance). Anyway, Gawain plays this game too, but not about fat: more about mass murder. “There are a lot of bones here,” one character says, and Gawain says, “I didn’t kill all those people!” at great length. I’m paraphrasing. Also, there’s a warrior who’s got his arm basically strapped to his side, and Gawain detects a certain weakness there. Awesome! Also, I thought the title must refer to the dragon, but what it does refer to was quite awesome when it resolved. 

“Palais Royale” by Ian Fleming. Due to a quirk of Canadian copyright law, James Bond (book version, not movie version) enters public domain this fall in Canada and I think a couple of other countries like New Zealand and Japan, so a couple of Toronto authors have put together an anthology of new, unauthorized James Bond stories http://madelineashby.com/?p=1827. Due to the trans-pacific partnership, that copyright loophole will probably be closed next year. I’m not a big fan of the way copyright law works right now because death +70 years is an awful long time, and your descendents two generations removed shouldn’t still be sucking in the cash from your Tarzan invention or whatever. But apparently I’m on the wrong side of Disney so there you go. Anyway, the whole thing made me interested in the written James Bond, which I have no exposure to, as opposed to the movies, which I feel like I’ve seen all of at least five times each.
This book was ridiculously sexist, but it did move right along.

“Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie. I’d like to say read this because it won so many awards, but really, it’s because I was writing about Ancillary Data Streams at work and there was some kind of joke in there about book 4 of this series, and I needed to know what it was.
What with the sad puppies etc., I had a misconception about the gender thing going in. I’m not really sure what I expected, but it seemed to me AL was trying to present a society that didn’t express gender either physically or linguistically. If she used male pronouns throughout it was totally imperceptible. Using female pronouns made the whole thing clear.
The scenes where One Esk describes what she sees through multiple eyes were really beautiful. So was the Mercy at the end. I didn’t find Sievarden’s transformation from drug-addled wreck to reliable assistant particularly believable, but that is very possibly my problem not hers.

“The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater. We all know by now, I’d read her grocery lists. I told the boy if he couldn’t think of something to give me for my birthday, this book would be good, and he cooperated. The title almost turned me off, though it is descriptive of the contents of the book, which was lovely.

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