Sunday, August 1, 2010

Books I read July 2010

Neil Gaiman-Anansi Boys
Gaiman's Anansi Boys is similar in a lot of ways to his novel American Gods. Although I think most people would probably disagree with me, I actually liked this better than American Gods. I really enjoyed the main character Fat Charlie. I think the main reason I liked this better is because a friend of mine had been hyping American Gods to me for years before I finally read it, and it didn't really live up to the hype. Gaiman is a natural storyteller though, and I've enjoyed all his books so far.

Dashiell Hammett-The Dain Curse
Clever novel by Hammett following the Continental Op as he works a series of cases over a few years all centered around the same family. You can't go wrong here.

Dan Simmons-Muse of Fire
Simmons novelette takes place in the far future when humans have become subjected by a hierarchy of greater and more powerful beings, and a space-faring Shakespearean troupe holds the fate of mankind on their stage. Quite entertaining.

Beach Reading-I read these 5 novels at the beach this month

The Hard Case books, The Cutie and The Murderer Vine, were trite yet engaging forays into two very different American underbellies. In Blue City MacDonald has written a novel similar in theme to Hammett's Red Harvest, which many have claimed to be the basis for Yojimbo, Fistful of Dollars, and Walter Hill's Last Man Standing. Corwainer Smith writes strange sci-fi which didn't do much for me, and as for A Voyage to Arcturus, I picked it up because I had heard it was a lost classic, with some luminaries going so far as to call it the best novel of the 20th Century. I was hoping for something along the lines of The King in Yellow, or House on the Borderlands, or even The Worm Ouroboros, but alas it was not so. A rambling, metaphysical, albeit imaginative, and meandering novel that didn't really do anything for me. 

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky-Noon: 22nd Century
I have lavished praise on the Strugatskys in these pages before, and I'll do it again. I think there's nothing I would rather read these days than one of their novels. This is actually a collection of short stories written between 1960 and 1966 which feature many recurring characters collected loosely together as a novel. Striking, far-sighted, insightful, and always human. I love these guys.

Translated by W.S. Merwin-Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Written around the 13th or 14th Century, but probably based on older legend, this extremely readable verse translation is highly entertaining. Honor, chivalry, love, lust, timeless themes in a timeless poem.

Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon-Preacher

Someone recommended I check out Preacher. I found the first six volumes of the series at a second hand book store, snatched em up and plowed through them voraciously. This is not the best comic series I have read, but with its loads of profanity, graphic violence, blasphemous rants, and tits, it's one of the funnest. Now I've gotta find the last 3 volumes.

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