(no subject)
Title: A Streetcar Named Desire
Author: Tennessee Williams
Genre: family drama

I'd never read a proper play by Tennessee Williams before. Weird, right?

Title: Kraken
Author: China Mieville
Genre: urban fantasy

This is a book about Billy Harrow, who works for the museum preserving animals when their key exhibit - a giant squid - suddenly goes missing. A call from the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime unit drags him into the magical side of London, where he becomes a badass while struggling to save the world from The Apocalypse.

The plot is pretty generic, but that's easy to miss because Mieville comes up with a lot of pretty rad concepts. Way too many pretty rad concepts, actually. They were neat at first but at a certain point I just stopped caring. He also chose a really obtuse, difficult writing style that I didn't care for.

I'd skip this one. Perdido Street Station was really good, though, and The Scar is my favorite thing of his so far.

(no subject)
Title: Anathem
Author: Neal Stephenson
Genre: sci-fi

1. Neal Stephenson is a genius.
2. This book just blew my fucking mind. Like. I am not really quite coherent right now. I cried because of how good it is.
3. This is one of those books that I finish, and then can't read anything else for a while because it won't be as good. and because I am too overwhelmed and my brain probably can't hold anymore information.

I don't know if I can give an effective summary. actually I'm sure I can't. so:

a. this is one of those cover blurbs from time: "what ever happened to the great novel of ideas? it has morphed into science fiction, and stephenson is its foremost practitioner." yes. this is a novel of ideas.
b. 1000 pages, which kept me from reading it for a while, but it's a surprisingly quick read considering how much he covers (and how many pages that takes).
c. it's legit about Platonism. expect dialogues.

anyway I really think you should read this. everyone should read this.

(no subject)
Title: Equations of Life
Author: Simon Morden
Genre: cyberpunky sci-fi

The protagonist is a scrawny Russian kid with glasses and a heart problem who's really good at math. It's kind of awesome.

Weird internet references appear unexpectedly in this book. The phrase "o rly?" was spoken aloud by a character, main character kid made an "in communist Russia..." joke. And an "all your base are belong to us" appears within one page of a 9/11 reference! I don't know, it felt kind of weird but it happened infrequently enough that it didn't bother me that much.

postmodern superpost
Title: Gravity's Rainbow
Author: Thomas Pynchon
Genre: postmodern WWII conspiracy riddled mindfuck

I finally finished this book, and I don't even know what to say. Or think. This book really overwhelmed me, which doesn't happen that often. In addition to its taking me like two months to read, I can't even pretend to know what was going on a lot of the time. I think I understood maybe 30% of this book. I can't even say whether I liked it or not - I don't know. I keep dreaming about rockets and thinking about it all of the time, so that's something.

So anyway... premise. It's the end of WWII. The main character (ostensibly) is an American soldier named Tyrone Slothrop; he's having a fine time of it banging various ladies all over the place when someone notices that wherever he sleeps with someone gets hit by a rocket right afterward. So are the rockets falling because Slothrop is having sex, or is Slothrop turned on because he can sense the energy of approaching rockets? Cause and effect is a big deal here.

Anyway, circumstances occur. Slothrop ends up on this odyssey across Europe to (ostensibly) find out about this one particular rocket but ends up doing all sorts of other things in the meantime. This is interspersed with really long rambling descriptive passages and really detailed fetishy sex scenes, occasionally between characters who hang out for about twenty pages and then go away forever.

The tone of the whole novel is really flippant and some absurd shit goes down. At one point Slothrop saves a lady from a giant octopus.

I'll probably read this again but it probably won't be for about a decade because I know that reading it through again will give me a way better understanding of what's going on and what he's saying, but on the other hand it might make me certifiably crazy. I'd recommend this to folks who weren't infuriated by the end of The Crying of Lot 49 and maybe even liked it.

Title: Timequake
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Genre: what's the fourth wall? / ostensibly sci-fi

I thought my friend recommended this to me, but looking back on it, the conversation went like this:

"Have you read Timequake?"
"Nope. What's it about?"
"Uh... well... it's really... difficult to say actually. It was... interesting."

Which should have tipped me off because he's normally pretty eloquent.

Anyway, think of Timequake as Timequake 2. Timequake 1 was the book Kurt Vonnegut was writing but didn't like, so he gutted it for its better passages and reworked them into Timequake 2, which he explains early on. The idea is that in February 2001, the Universe suddenly contracted and then started expanding again - a timequake! Everyone on Earth gets sent back to February 1991 and has to relive the next ten years exactly as they did before. They're aware that its a rerun, but they are powerless to change it.

That's almost what the book is about, but not really. Here's a quote I liked though:

"Trout, on his cot next to the Academy, was operating nothing more dangerous or headstrong than a ballpoint pen. When free will kicked in, he simply went on writing. He finished the story. the wings of a narrative, begging to be told, had carried its author over what was for most of us a yawning abyss."

Which lead kinda nicely into
Title: Trout Fishing in America
Author: Richard Brautigan
Genre: vignettes?

This is probably the thing Brautigan is best known for. They are a bunch of vignettes mostly about trout fishing in America. Or sometimes Trout Fishing in America. It's kind of hard to explain but then, I guess most Brautigan is difficult to explain. This is short, I'd recommend it to everyone because even if you don't like it... whatever. It takes like two hours to read. (For what it's worth, I liked it enough that this is the second time I read it.)

A quote from this one too:

"The Reply of Trout Fishing in America:
There was nothing I could do. I couldn't change a flight of stairs into a creek. The boy walked back to where he came from. The same thing once happened to me. I remember mistaking an old woman for a trout stream in Vermont, and I had to beg her pardon.
'Excuse me,' I said. 'I thought you were a trout stream.'
'I'm not,' she said."

Fun fact: all three of these books talk about John Dillinger. It's kind of weird. I don't remember the last time Dillinger came up... I think I saw a movie about him like a year and a half ago.

I still haven't given up on my summer reading list but I didn't expect Gravity's Rainbow to break me so much. I needed to read something else for a while. I think I'm going to read another short thing and then dive into 1000 pages of Neal Stephenson, wish me luck.

I'm so behind...
I'm not sure I remember every book I've read, but here's trying.

Title: A Clash of Kings (Song of Ice and Fire #2)
Author: R. R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy

Title: A Storm of Swords (Song of Ice and Fire #3)
Author: R. R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy

Two at once! These two were both really good. I would update my roommate every day on whether or not someone died again, because it's just crazy how many do. When I read a book, I sort of expect the main character(s) to make it through alive, so I'm always really shocked when they don't. And I don't believe this is a spoiler, because there are a lot of significant characters in these books.

Title: A Feast for Crows (Song of Ice and Fire #4)
Author: R. R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy

Everything slowed down a ton for book four, and what the real kicker here was? Apparently this is only half of it. Book 5 happens along the same time frame as this one, but focuses on a different set of characters. So now I get to read another book where all the characters are just kind of wandering around until the next exciting thing happened, which hopefully will be book six, and hopefully all but maybe two characters die in book five because if R. R. Martin keeps this up, the next year of the story will actually be books 6-9.

Title: Living Dead in Dallas
Author: Charlene Harris
Genre: Fantasy/vampires

Book two of the True Blood series. It was okay. Nothing too exciting, really. There's some part where there's this swingers club going on that felt extremely out-of-place? I don't know if I'll keep it up with this series.

Title: Twilight
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Genre: YA Literature/vampires

This book was as terrible as everyone says it is. It wasn't the poor grasp of vocabulary that Meyer shows, or how slow the story is, or how many times it describes how utterly gorgeous Edward is, or how Edward is essentially overbearing to the point of being abusive... it was how flat the characters were that bugged me most about it. We made more interesting characterizations when we were fourteen, and that's saying something. It's like she made Bella clumsy and counted it as a personality. Blegh.

Title: Odd and the Frost Giants
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Children's lit/fantasy

As children's books go, this one is really good. The son of a viking (Odd) wanders off one day and runs into Odin, Thor, and Loki, who send him on a quest to save Valhalla from the Frost Giants. It's pretty true to Norse mythology, and of course Neil Gaiman is amazing.

Title: Water for Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen
Genre: Fiction

This book was really good, and I want to see the movie now. It's about a man named Jacob and switches between when he's 23 (I think) and 93. At 23 he ends up running off and joins a traveling circus train as their veterinarian. At 93 he's in a retirement home and a circus comes to town. I don't know how to describe it much more. There's a girl, there's a crazy animal keeper, there's an elephant. Check it out.

summah readin upday-t
No. You would have to go into the Yeerk pool every three days. It's too
dangerous. If you were somehow found out, Visser Three would learn
everything about your friends and the peace movement. All would be
Aftran answered.

She must have felt the wave of despair and sorrow sweeping through me.

lt's not so bad to die for what you believe in. There are much worse
she said gently. Many worse deaths.

My mom didn't let me eat any solid food until today," Rachel
complained. "And it's been four days since I got sick."

...the problem with reading these in PDF form is that they're all user created and the formatting is boned up. So the end of a really epic chapter segues way too smoothly into everyday banter.

Update: I'm through book 29 of the regular Animorphs books, plus the other 'outside' stories and such. I reckon I'm about halfway through the series at this point... actually this time. I counted. The stakes are getting pretty high, since the yeerks are sympathetic now. The series kinda grows with you. I like that.

Oh oh, Gravity's Rainbow update: p 497 of 760. I feel like MZDanielewski had a major boner for this book, a lot of the major themes in HoL are minor themes in Gravity's Rainbow. I've been writing down quotes, I'll have a more thorough thing to say when I'm actually done with this book.

(no subject)
"He doesn't have a name, and let's face it: He's a wuss. So, Wuss, tell
me: What's the deal with the captain? He's dead."

[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<she.>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

"He doesn't have a name, and let's face it: He's a wuss. So, Wuss, tell
me: What's the deal with the captain? He's dead."

<She. Yes, of course she is dead.>

"And why do you want your captain to be dead?"

<How else can you be sure she will not make a mistake?>

That seemed to stymie Marco. But the patient male who even I was now
thinking of as "Wuss" went on to explain.

<Those who make errors must be eliminated. It is inevitable that a
captain, who would make many decisions if she were alive, would
therefore also make many errors. What is the point of a captain who must
be killed for error? In this way we have a captain who may be respected
and revered by all.>

-Animorphs 24, The Suspicion

Getting a little Jonathan Swift on us there, huh? The writing in these books is really simplistic but sometimes they handle some pretty complex issues. I'm glad I'm still doing this.

So I'm probably about halfway done with this series right now? I think? I've also read Megamorphs 1-2, Andalite Chronicles, Hork Bajir Chronicles, which it turns out are part of the regular timeline too. WHO KNEW.

I am also just over halfway done with Gravity's Rainbow. Someday I will finish this book.

NPR's Top 100 SFF Novels/Series
This just showed up on another book community, I think it's a pretty good list, or anyway it has more variety than most similar lists have. I guess it was created by popular vote and does not include kids books. I bolded the ones I've read... because why not.

real lifeCollapse )

Slaughterhouse-5 has never struck me as a sci-fi novel.

Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlene Harris

So I really liked True Blood, for the one season I watched it. And I'm still in a silly-book phase, sort of, so I went ahead and libraried the first book up. I was oddly surprised at the amount of vampire sex that went on, even though I've seen the show and KNOW it's largely about vampire sex. I feel like it's just more overt in the books? Because in a TV show, they just stare at each other a lot. In a book, you have to read about their inner turmoil over how hot the vampire is. It was silly. But I'll probably read the second.

Title: Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Genre: Sci-Fi

I can't believe I made it this long without reading Foundation, because it was really good. My one complaint is that I don't generally like books that span, like, 300 years in a few hundred pages... but it's my one complaint. I loved everything else about it, from characters to plot to sci-fi ideas.

Title: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book One)
Author: R. R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy

I loved the TV show, and of course the books are even better. It's a medieval magical kingdom sort of story, with a grand battle over who the rightful King should be. Essentially. I'm well into the second book by now, which is even more battle-for-kingdom. It cycles between the viewpoints of a variety of characters, but mostly the family of House Stark, which ranges from a nine-year old boy to their parents, Eddard and Catelyn Stark.

(no subject)
Title: House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z Danielewski
Genre: fourth wall destroying mindfuck

This is my favorite book.

Title: Y: The Last Man
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Genre: Sci-fi? dystopian? comic

I've only read like one issue of this. My friends have been raving about this for a while though. So far it is about some crazy plague or something kills every man of every species on the planet, except for this one guy. Pretty cleverly done so far, he does a good job transitioning between different characters/places/etc.

Animorphs progress - I'm on book 18 and dragging, mostly because this one isn't the best and also I got ridiculously busy with moving all the sudden. Also I'm trying to finish Gravity's Rainbow before I move because it's a library book... but it's taken me like a couple weeks to finish 170 pages, out of about 700 pages. So I think it's kind of hopeless. Haha.


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