Thursday, July 1, 2010

Books I read June 2010

Alastair Reynolds-Thousandth Night/Minla's Flowers
Subterranean Press released these two novellas back-to-back in the fashion of the old Ace double novels. Finish one, flip it over, and start the next. In my humble estimation, Reynolds is the best sci-fi writer going today, albeit I don't read
a ton of sci-fi. In these two stories Reynolds is in solid from. Thousandth Night is the genesis of Reynolds' novel House of Suns. In Minla's Flowers Reynolds shows mankind, even under the threat of annihilation, unable to work together to
resolve our issues. Good stuff.

Jonathan Lethem-The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye
This is the first book I have read by Lethem, and I after finishing this collection of short stories I think I would like to try one of his novels. These stories were strange and insightful, not quite gripping, but very entertaining nonetheless.

Joe Gores-Spade & Archer The Prequel to Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon
My mom knows I love vintage crime novels, so when my wife and I were going out of town, and she came over to get her grandsons, she gave me this book to read on the trip. I was dubious at first. I can be snobbish about books, film, and music (my friends all know this) and this 'contemporary' crime novel didn't really fit into my idea of the classic crime oeuvre. But, being the dutiful son, and not wanting to seem unappreciative, I read the damn thing. It was pretty good after all. I'm not going to go out and get any more Gores novels, but the overall effect of this book was a positive one.
Various-The SFWA European Hall of Fame
This collection of sci-fi short stories features 16 stories from across the European continent. I was not familiar with a single contributor to this book, but it was a fantastic read. I really enjoy short story collections and this was as eclectic and varied, yet strong in quality, as they come. Not one of these stories was a bomb and all of them were quite entertaining. I have my eyes open for a number of these writers now, and hope I can stumble across some other volumes of their work.
Alexandre Dumas-Georges
If you've read these posts before, then you know I love Dumas. When I saw that Modern Library was releasing this I was very excited. I finally got a copy and was not disappointed. If you've never read Dumas this novel of pride and racial inequality is probably not the place to start, but for the well-read lover it is like sweet music. I guess you can tell I enjoyed it.
Stephen King-Blockade Billy
It is hard giving up something that has been with you through thick and thin. I have been reading Stephen King since middle school, trust me, a long time ago, and even though I haven't really loved a novel of his since, hmmmmm, hold on, let me think...since I don't know when, I still read everything he publishes. I don't buy them anymore, but get them from the library, I've learned that much. Blockade Billy is a short somewhat grisly story about baseball. There is also a second story included called Morality, a...correct! moral fable. Again King can still keep my interest, he was pushing it though with Under The Dome, but just.
Stanislaw Lem-The Futurological Congress
In this slim volume Lem imagines a future society where drugs and hallucinogenics are more real, or at least more appealing, than reality. Lem is one of my favorite writers, but this was not his strongest work. Read it after you've read The Cyberiad and others.
Robert Kirkman-Invincible Vol. 1 Family Matters
I like a good graphic novel, and am an avid follower of Kirkman's Walking Dead series (looking forward to the AMC series), so when I came across a cheap copy of volume one of Invincible I thought I'd give it a try. Nice, easy, entertaining, unchallenging read that I will follow assuming I can continue to find used copies.
Zoran Zivkovic-Steps Through the Mist
This is my first book by Serbian fantasist Zivkovic and I'd like another please. This collection of stories are linked thematically by the idea of the future, the mist of the title, and the possibilities it holds.
William Beckford-Vathek
Another seminal work of the gothic tradition. Beckford's arabesque is essential if you are a fan of the gothic novel. Other readers will probably find it boring and melodramatic.

See you next month.

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