Thursday, May 03, 2007

Reading Into the Past: Week of 4/29

It's been a few weeks, hasn't it? Well, let me explain this again, just in case anyone is new out there: once a week (supposedly) I roll a few dice to get a random year in the past decade and a half, then pull out my reading notebook to see what I was reading then. Depending on what I can remember of those books, this exercise can either be amusing or enlightening, I guess.

This week, it's 1998 (and, in late April of 1998, Thing 1 was just over a month old and at his most colic-y, so this may be a complete blur):
  • Ron Goulart, Groucho Marx, Master Detective (4/21)
    Either the first or second in the series (since that's as far as I read; I think there were another couple that I skipped) -- it's about what you'd expect from Goulart doing Groucho as a detective, and was entertaining enough.
  • Stephen Fry, Making History (4/23)
    A great alternate history novel -- I think it won the Sidewise, and certainly deserved to -- by a guy who's probably still best known as an actor. (I know I came to his books after knowing him as an actor, but he's really a solid, generally comic novelist who should write more.) This is one of those "be careful what you wish for" books -- our hero gets the chance to go back in time and eliminate Hitler before WWII, and, of course, things get worse when he returns to his "own" time.
  • Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring (4/25)
    Hopkinson's first novel, the winner of a contest at Warner Aspect and a really interesting book. (Of what I've read of hers, though, I'd recommend her second novel, Midnight Robber -- it's an amazingly assured novel that doesn't have the feeling of transmuted autobiography that Brown Girl does.)
  • Linda S. Lichter, Simple Social Graces (4/28)
    I don't remember this at all. According to Amazon, the subtitle is "the Lost Art of Gracious Victorian Living." Oh, I see -- it's mostly a sociology book, explaining everyday life, and not some sort of Martha Stewart thing. Still don't remember it, but it sounds more interesting now.
  • Athena Andreadis, To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek (4/30)
    There were a flurry of these The {random science} of {popular TV show} books in the mid-90s, and I read a lot of them, especially the Trek-ky ones (since Trek was a big deal in those days). As I remember, the biology of Trek was laughable at best and utterly silly most of the time, but I think the book was more of an apologetic than a serious critical look. (These books have to be one or the other -- I've never seen any show that could stand up to the slightest scientific explication, so the books either explain everything the show got wrong or try to tap-dance around the situation.) But my memory of this book fuzzes into the several dozen similar others, so I can't be specific.
And that's the week that was, nine years ago.

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