Saturday, June 30, 2012

Reading Now! Spook Country by William Gibson

I have picked an odd assortment to start out my Project 10 Book challenge, between The Man in the High Castle and dhalgren, I'm not feeling so great about my choices.  I wanted to read something that was near enough to a sure thing that I'd like, or that wouldn't stomp on my brain/heart.  I have read all of Gibson's books previous to The Difference Engine.  I am not a lover of alternate history and when I saw that, I sort of wrote off wanting to read Gibson again.  Quite silly, I know.  But I have been pretty serious in my strong preference to scifi of the flavors space opera, cyberpunk, hard scifi and the like.  Please no steampunk, alternate history, magical realism; harrumph.

Anyway, I am babbling.  I always found Gibson's books rather cold, his characters weren't ones that you were falling in love with, but the style was so speaking to me at the time I read them.  I've been doing the internet thing since 1994, all that old-school elite garbage, so I totally dug the cyberpunk of Gibson.  Spook Country is feeling dated now, I'm not very far in (though it seems pretty short) but it has some specifics on technology as it was written as a contemporary thriller and being someone in the computer industry it can be a little cringe-inducing.  Now, I obviously did not realize this, but my brief squinty skimming of the wikipedia article on Spook Country would indicate it follows Pattern Recognition (didn't want to spoil myself, hence the squinting).  Have I gotten lured into an alternate history without realizing?!  Oh dear.  And I hate reading a series out of order.

Sigh.  Oh well!  Hopefully it's not important.

Also small random observation, there's a thread involving a Cuban family and another character mentions reggaeton, unrelated to the Cuban thread.  Was Mr. Gibson spending some time in Latin America or Miami?  Odd.  And while detailed in description of the cafe con leche making, I wanted to know about the part making the espumita with the sugar and espresso because seriously that's the best stuff.  For what it's worth, I lived in Miami for 10 years and cafe con leche (and pastelito de guayaba) may be what I miss most about the city (among very few things).  So anyway, this novel is intersecting a couple areas I have a fair amount of knowledge (Cuban culture and IT stuff) so hopefully I won't get too wound up in the details of that stuff to miss the stylings that I expect from our author.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (spoilers)

This book had been in my queue for a while, I tried it years ago but gave up at page 65.  There was a time when I was pretty fickle about books, if I wasn't digging something I'd put it down and start something new.  Then eventually I'd circle back and finish things up.. but I just never had the ambition to pick dhalgren back up.  I got through it in about three weeks, but I was getting increasingly irritable about it in the last week.  My reactions follow, spoilers ahead.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Reading Now! Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

I finished The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick on Tuesday of this week, the 5th I suppose?  It took two days to read and I can't say I enjoyed it.  Liked the writing, but the content was not my cup of tea.

Onwards and upwards my friends, to book #3 in Project 10 Book!  Though I think I went a little sideways with this pick of Delany's Dhalgren.  I remember it being odd, but I forgot that it was Gravity's Rainbow kind of odd.  I haven't read reviews per se, but I do know that a lot of people adore it and a lot of people absolutely hate it.  I think it's going to be some work to get through.

When I started it years back, I made it to page 60.  I am a good 20+ pages past that now, can help I'm a captive audience on the train.  It's either this or stare out the window, so starting a slow book can be helped along by that choice.  I'm really hoping it starts to engage me, so far I'm not feeling much.  Part of me sort of worries it's going to dither around not making a whole lot of sense and never make it forward to any coherent point.

I will report back if I fail to get through it, or need to take a break. :)

Quick edit to update, as of Friday June 15th I'm up to page 325 or so.  I recall reading a mention by a critic who gave up at page 361 the first time and threw it at the wall at some point, so I'm waiting to see if I make it that far without taking out a fellow passenger on the train.  I kid, I kid.  Kid... get it.  Well anyway.  I still don't know where this is going, the book or my post.  So I'll just leave it here and wait until I finish.  Maybe.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Reading Now! The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Chose another shorter book for my Project 10 Book after finishing The Lathe of Heaven.  I'm a fan of Philip K. Dick's, I think my favorite would be Ubik.

The summary for The Man in the High Castle wasn't one that grabbed my attention, it is an alternate history situation which isn't my favorite.  The short rundown is that we're in a world where the Allies didn't win World War II, the Axis did.  Different regions of the world are being run by Imperial Japan, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.  Being that it's PKD and it won a Hugo, I figure it will be more to my liking though.  I only just started it, but one thing that already is difficult is dealing with the blatant racism and class structure depicted in a society with this history.

We will see, but I am not expecting to love this novel.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (spoilers)

In my Reading Now post, I went into some detail about my relationship with Le Guin - at the end of the day I like the way she develops characters and writes.  She pulled me in from the get-go on this book and I tore through it in two days of lunch and train reading.

Spoilers ahead.