Monday, November 1, 2010

Books I read October 2010

Boris and Arkady Strugatsky-Space Apprentice
This month started off with an early novel of the Strugatsky's. Written before the brothers began to write more social science fiction, Space Apprentice applauds Soviet ideals of work and how work fulfills the individual and helps center the individual into his or her place in society. Yet is there a tongue to be found within a cheek here? Hard to say. This novel is far more straight-forward than later works, yet still contains the warmth and humanity also found in later, and far more satirical and subversive works. A success? Definitely.

Wilkie Collins-The Moonstone
The Moonstone, claimed by many to be the first mystery novel, is as much a novel of manners, as evidenced by its foremost narrator, as it is a mystery novel. Collins book is told from around five or six different perspectives, but the one that dominates the narrative, that of the old servant Betteridge, whose whole life philosophy can be found between the pages of Robinson Crusoe, is so strictly observant of place and propriety that the story sometimes suffers. I'm a huge fan of fiction from the 19th Century, but Collins pedantic tone is sometimes quite irritating, particularly through Betteridge's mouth. The detection is also very much founded on assumption instead of facts. For all that, I did quite enjoy this book, my first by Collins, and am looking forward to The Woman in White in November.

Robert Kirkman-The Walking Dead Volume 12 Life Among Them
The survivors find themselves being incorporated into a seemingly perfect community on the outskirts of D.C. This volume keeps you waiting for what is wrong in this community, but it never comes, in fact, at the end it seems as if our heroes might be on the verge of spoiling something good themselves. I am really looking forward to 13.
As a side note, the premiere of the TV series last night was a fun and faithful adaption of the series first couple issues.

Robert Kirkman-The Astounding Wolf-Man Volume 1
Well I've been walking with the dead for a couple years now, and I started Invincible a couple months ago, so when I found this at a used book store I jumped all over it. Kirkman seems to be on a roll these days and who am I to say stop already. The Wolf-Man seems another success, and I am seeking out Vol. 2.

Eric Powell-The Goon Volume 6 Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker
I love Powell's The Goon, but had left off reading it for reasons I can't exactly explain, so when I found this, in a nice used hardcover edition I grabbed it. Powell gives some backstory to The Goon character in this volume along with the usual monsters, dames, grifters, and gangsters that usually fill these pages. Why did I ever stop?

William Gibson- Spook Country
What I really liked about Gibson's Spook Country was the quick-hit, snap shift from one character's perspective to the next. Gibson never lingers long with one character and this plays well, specifically when tension mounts, as when a few of his, at first, disparate threads begin to converge on the streets of New York. Gibson spins a simple, yet seemingly complex yarn of espionage and cultural exploration that tantalizes with the questions it asks, but has difficulty in ultimately achieving the heights it aspires to. But for me its always been about the trip, not the destination.

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