Thursday, March 01, 2007

Other Books Read in February

This was the month I quit Book-A-Day, so I didn't get a whole lot read. (I did get a lot more videogame playing, and, even more so, just plain wasting time done, so it's not a bad trade-off.) I'm thinking about semi-unofficially Book-A-Daying again (without posting about it specifically, since that was a pain), since now I feel like a slacker. Decisions, decisions.
  • Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan, editors, The New Space Opera
    Amazingly, as I recall, it has stories by just about everybody you'd hope. And it doesn't publish for a while, so that's all I should say.
  • Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, editors, Wizards
    I have to write up my report before I'm sure what I think about it, and, even then, it's not published yet.
  • Jonathan Strahan, editor, Best Short Novels: 2007
    A brilliant collection of wonderful stories that everyone needs to own. Of course, I may be slightly biased.
  • Calvin Trillin, About Alice
    I'm still chewing over a long thoughtful essay-ish post about Trillin, which this book made me think about again. I'm not sure when or if I'll ever get that down in coherent form, but that's most of what I'd say about this book. Trillin is a wonderful, down-to-earth writer of the human condition and the everyday world, and this is a touching tribute to his dead wife.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross, The Alton Gift
    Not yet published, yadda yadda yadda.
  • Martin Amis, House of Meetings
    I was going to write up a separate "Just Read" entry for this, but I'm not sure if I have that much to say (or if the people who read my blog care at all what I think about literary novels, for that matter). The reviews have called this Amis's best novel since London Fields, which I'd quibble with a bit -- Time's Arrow is an amazing tour de force, but that was immediately after London, so it's the same general point. Amis does have an amazing ability to write plausible, personable bastards; his main characters are nearly always people you'd go to great lengths to avoid in the real world, but, at his best (like London Fields and Money and Time's Arrow), they're compelling on the page. Meetings is Amis's Russian novel (though it's short, which is not what one expects from any author's "Russian novel"), following Koba the Dread of a few years back, which was a non-fictional attack on Stalin. It's a strong novel, but not quite up to Amis's best. I think Amis was too caught up in the "truth" of Russia, its history and present-day troubles, to completely fictionalize it all. It's well worth reading, for anyone who reads for depth of character and insight into the human condition.
With any luck, next month's list will be longer (though it might have a lot of comics on it to get to that length; that stack is getting too tall again).

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