Sunday, September 30, 2012

On Comfort Objects

As a kid, my comfort objects were a herd of mismatched stuffed animals, threadbare and gnawed on from years of love. The stuffed animals are gone now, but I still have comfort objects. They're books. And I wrote about it over at the insatiable booksluts.

Check it out and tell me what you think! This is the first of my regular book-comic posts over there.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New to Stephen King? Here's where to start

I was on solo-parenting duty for a lot of the past week, so my detailed review of Carrie is going to have to wait until next week. In the meantime, here's an infographic that Susie over at the insatiable booksluts created. With only Carrie under my belt, it gives me a good sense of where I might want to go next. Which categories are your favorite Stephen King categories, and what do you think his "best" book or type of book is? Why?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Is Stephen King a modern Nostradamus?

What!? Posting more than once in a week? Did I just travel though a worm hole and find a secret stash of time at the end of the wormhole rainbow?

Anyway, this is just to let you know that I've just posted a piece about Stephen King's Carrie over at the booksluts. Among other things, I suggest that King is a prophet. Check it out and heckle me! I love heckling!

I'll have a more nit-picky review up here in a week or two . . . but this is the one for you if you want to know how Carrie made me feel.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stephen King Week

Just wanted to spread the word about Stephen King week over at the insatiable booksluts. A lot of good essays about his work, maybe even one of my own if I can finish it on time. Six days ago, I'd never read anything by Stephen King. I've now read Carrie, King's first published novel, and it's given a me a taste for King that I'm still thinking about and enjoying.

I'll be putting up reviews of Carrie, and Sphere in the near future, and Perdido Street Station and Divergent are also in the works.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Hugo Endurance Project

I'm in-between reviews right now, so I thought I'd take a moment and just give a shout-out to a blog I just found, The Hugo Endurance Project. While the Hugo Award does not only highlight literary achievement, the winners are a pretty great place to start when looking for quality writing and concepts.

Jeremy, who runs the site, made it his goal to read 64 Hugo winners in 64 weeks. He's also prepping for a marathon at the same time, which is also cool. I like layers of meaning to the idea of "endurance."

I haven't explored Jeremy's archives exhaustively yet, but I can say a few things:
1. Jeremy's a smart dude. He doesn't let enthusiasm blind him to weaknesses in even his favorite stories. And he has a well-thought out and multi-part grading system that makes for interesting comparisons between books. I have some minor reservations about the system, but I'm sure a lot of my readers have reservations about my system as well. That's okay. And if you  happen to like my meticulous (over-the-top?) breakdown of strengths and weaknesses in a book, you'll find plenty to intrigue you in what Jeremy does. 
2. I don't agree with all of Jeremy's reviews (I felt Larry Niven's Ringworld, for instance, was a real let-down, but Jeremy scores it pretty high). But this just means I look forward to having some intelligent arguments with him as he continues his project. 
3. Reading a book per week is gonna be a seriously grueling effort, when you've got stuff like C.J. Cherryh's Cyteen or Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell to get through. It's interesting to read about the difficulties Jeremy has as he tries to pack in the pages, and what it does to his reading experience.
Basically, what Jeremy's doing is what I thought I might try to do when I first started my blog, but then I kind of chickened out and just started reading books semi-haphazardly, and without a rigorous deadline. But a thoughtful and thorough look at Hugo winners is exactly up my alley, and I look forward to seeing how the project goes.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: 2312

2312 (2012), Kim Stanley Robinson. Hardcover, 576 pages.

Summary: In the year 2312, humanity's diaspora into the far reaches of the solar system culminates in a period of turmoil and change in which planetary powers and evolving life-forms jockey for supremacy and for survival. For a more detailed summary, click here.

First Sentences: 
The sun is always just about to rise. Mercury rotates so slowly that you can walk fast enough over its rocky surface to stay ahead of the dawn; and so many people do. Many have made this a way of life. They walk roughly westward, staying always ahead of the stupendous day.
     Maybe to say that someone was "like this" or "like that" was just an attempt to stick a memory to a board where you organized memories, like butterflies in a lepidopterist's collection. Not really the generalization it seemed, but just a stab at understanding. Was Wahram anything like what she might say about him, if she tried to say anything? He was like this, he was like that -- she didn't really know. One had the impressions of other people, nothing more. Never to hear them think, only to hear what they said; it was a drop in an ocean, a touch across the abyss. A hand holding your hand as you float in the black of space. It wasn't much. They couldn't really know each other very well. So they said he is like this, or she is like that, and called that the person. Presumed to make a judgement. It was such a guess. You would have to talk with someone for years to give the guess any kind of validity.
     When I'm with you, she said to Wahram in her mind as they floated there together, waiting, holding hands -- when I'm with you I feel faintly anxious; judged; inadequate. Not the kind of person you like, which I find offensive, and thus behave more like that part of me than ever. Though I want your good opinion too. But that desire I find irritating, and so contradict it in myself. Why should I care? You don't care.


Writing Quality: 7/10

Depth of Concept: 8/10

Rounded Characters: 6/10

Well-Developed World: 8/10

Page Turner: 7/10

Kept Me Thinking: 7/10

Overall Recommendation: 7/10