Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reading Into the Past: Week of 3/12

Another Sunday night, another dice-roll. This time I got a 10, so I'll be looking at the books I read this week in 1996, to see what I can remember about them:
  • Lord Emsworth and Others by P.G. Wodehouse (3/5)
    A collection of stories by the master -- they're not his best work, as I recall, but they were greatly entertaining.
  • The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold by Evelyn Waugh (3/6)
    A minor Waugh novel, chiefly interesting since it was a thinly-veiled fictionalization of the breakdown that happened to him just a few years before.
  • Remembering Denny by Calvin Trillin (3/6)
    I'm a big Trillin fan, but this is not one of my favorites of his -- it's a look at the life of one of his (Yale?) classmates, a golden boy who everyone expected to do great things but who didn't and died young. Maybe I'll read it again in ten years, but I really didn't care about the unfulfilled dreams of baby boomers, and their yearning to have even more of the world revolve around them. (Yes, that is unnecessarily harsh, but the boomers will always deserve it.)
  • The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O'Brian (3/8)
    I have no idea which one this is, or any clue what the title referred to. I guess I'll have to re-read them all, one of these decades.
  • Fox Trot en masse by Bill Amend (3/9)
    A treasury-sized (roughly 8x11, with color inserts) collection of the comic strip.
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction, Thirteenth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois (3/10)
    The best short SF of 1995, preserved in amber for all to see. I don't recall if I thought it was a particularly good or bad year then.
  • The Goblin Companion by Brian Froud and Terry Jones (3/10)
    This would have been during the "Lady Cottington" peak years, I think, so I imagine this was an attempt to make lightning strike again. I don't remember it well, and I don't think I was terribly impressed. (But, then, I didn't like any of the squashed faeries books, so I'm not reliable on this point.)
  • Stephen E. Fabian's Women and Wonders (3/10)
    A very nice book of art from Underwood-Miller, by a great black and white artist whose work I haven't seen for ages. (Possibly because b&w work is very rarely wanted these days.)
  • The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss (3/11)
    This is probably a collection of his advertising art and other early work. [goes to the shelf to check] Nope; this collects Geisel's personal works -- watercolors and sculptures, mostly -- the pieces that he did for himself, not for the books.
  • Spectrum 2: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Second Annual Collection (3/12)
    The best fantastic art of 1995. I've found these books indispensable over the past decade or so; I keep a second set in my office so that I can pull down the last year or three whenever we're talking about illustrators.
And the big book I was reading most of that week (since I finished it on the 13th) was Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World. I imagine I started that right after the O'Brian, and knocked off the art books to keep that pile from getting too tall. (Then as now -- nothing ever really changes.)

1 comment:

Glenda Larke said...

How I wish more people would read "The Demon-haunted World". Not only is it superbly readable and interesting, it is such a ray of light in a world that sometimes seems to be the antithesis of what we should be, given our education and the level of our scientific knowledge.

I live in a developing nation where I kind of expect to encounter a few hiccups of superstition; but how much more depressing it is to see how little better it is in the West. And the thought that a modern Western nation can even consider teaching creationism - or intelligent design as science! - in the education system is mind-boggling. For all the superstition rife here, they would not do that.

I tell people that I write fantasy; I don't believe in it...

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