Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Reading Into the Past: Week of 2/18

At first I rolled a 12, but I just did 1995 last week, so that was an immediate do-over. Second time was 12 again, but I finally got an 8, so let's hie ourselves back to the pre-millennial year 1999:
  • Ben Stein, Tommy and Me (2/10)
    I intermittently like Stein's non-fiction (more when he's talking about complicated financial dealings or specific factual matters; much less when it's about how wonderful Richard Nixon was or how swell rich people are), but I can still taste this book in the back of my throat nearly a decade later. Stein was, on the evidence of this book, horribly spoiling his only child (the Tommy of the title), and I hope he's stopped. The dichotomy of Ben Stein was probably one thing that shoved me towards being the less-good Republican I am today.
  • Diana Wynne Jones, Deep Secret (2/14)
    I haven't re-read it since then, but it's my favorite Jones novel. It's one of her very rare adult books, which may be one reason. It's about a SF convention, which I'm sure is another. But it's also just an absolutely wonderful book, and that's most of it.
  • Glen Cook, Bleak Seasons (2/15)
    I am that weirdo who started reading the Black Company from the end, and I still haven't read the original trilogy. I liked the four books of this piece of the series; they're gnarly and complicated and just this side of over-reaching. I got through the rest of this sub-series in the next week or two.
  • Jack Vance, The Grey Prince (2/16)
    I don't recall it specifically, but I know I liked it. Some day I need to get systematic with Vance; he's one of my favorite writers, but he did so much, in so many directions, that I'm not really sure what I've read and what I haven't.
  • William Kotzwinkle, The Bear Went Over the Mountain (2/17)
    Kotzwinkle is a weird writer, and I mean that as a compliment. This is probably the least and fluffiest thing in his oeuvre (on the other hand, didn't he do a couple of E.T. novelizations?) -- it's a pseudo-allegory in which a bear finds a manuscript and becomes enmeshed in the modern world in general and publishing in particular.
  • A.R. Melrose, The Pooh Dictionary (2/17)
    I have no clue. (Looks at shelf.) Whad'ya know -- I still have it, and had completely forgotten. It's a guide to the words of Milne's "Pooh" books, and probably should not be read by anyone with diabetic tendencies. I started reading Pooh when I was very tiny, so I'm still able to read the books (and ancillary stuff like this) without wincing, but I know that otherwise I would loathe it.
  • Bill Maudlin's Army (2/18)
    I think this was a reprint of a specific war-time book, and I know that it was a good collection of Mauldin's cartoons.
After that, I finished up the Glen Cook series (as I said) and read Cavellos's The Science of Star Wars (which I recall as trying far too hard to stretch real science to cover Star Warsian plot points, like a naked woman stretching a hankie into a throat-to-floor ball gown through pure will).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Jack Vance, The Grey Prince (2/16)
I don't recall it specifically, but I know I liked it."

1950s Rhodesia in space, as I recall.

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