Saturday, May 12, 2012

R&R + T&T

Well, since it's been a while since I've had a paycheck, I decided to go the library this afternoon rather than go eshopping for ebooks. Hadn't been there for a while, the Lexington Public Library now has self-checkout. You just scan your card and the books yourself. I also got a pamphlet on their ebook lending, I'll see how that works.

Looking at books by two prolific authors -- Stephen Baxter and Iain M. Banks -- and I was having trouble remembering if I had read them or not. So got a couple and then checked this blog to see if I'd read them. Apparently not, yay! Although searching for Banks turns up a single reference to his work in general, and no specific titles. Need to do better blogging this stuff. I definitely need the external memory. There are some mystery writers I've kind of quit reading because I can't remember which of their stuff I have and haven't read.

Anticipating rain tomorrow, I biked today, Saturday: 28.3m, 2h20m. Browns Mill to Leestown, back Waizenberger Mill, Pisgah, and Military Pike. Nice day. Kind of felt like I was getting stronger at the end. Almost fell down a steep trail down to the creek when I stopped at Waizenberger Mill. I always stop there to check out the waterfall.

So, recent reading (R&R), from most recent back:

  • "Japanese Fairy Tales", compiled by Yei Theodora Ozaki (1908). When we 1st got an iPad, I went into the Apple store and downloaded lots of free, out of copyright books. Nice that Apple makes them available. All the Oz books, some Kipling, Wind and the Willows, complete works of Shakespeare, and lots of books of mythology and legends. I ran out of reading material coming back from Jacksonville last week and pulled this up. Interesting stuff. Evil stepmothers appear to be a cross-cultural constant. Ditto for cannibalistic ogres. A few stories feature Ryn Jin, the dragon king under the sea, who was generally a pretty good guy unless you disrespect the power of the sea.
  • "Year's Best SF 6", edited by David G. Hartwell (2000). I think my daughter Alexis got me this for solstice. Kind of interesting, 12 years old, but the stories all pretty good. I think I'd read only one before. I think this validates my building a stash of "Year's Best" collections in Florida -- good reading even when old.
  • "Majesty's Offspring", by A. J. Vega. This was a free Kindle book. The A.I. kind of ruling humanity decides it wants to breed. Humanity decides, bad idea, and destroy it in a big war. Story set post war, with lovable, former navymen turned space pirates (arrgh). Ends in a complete and total cliff-hanger. I the 2nd one costs money, I will probably decline. 1 star.
  • "Deep State" and "The Fourth Wall", by Walter Jon Williams. These are sequels to "This Is Not A Game", which I thought I'd blogged but can't find. Both very enjoyable reads, gaming nerds trying to help make the world a better place. 4 stars.
  • "Liminal States", by Zack Parsons. I think this was recommended in a tweet by one of the SF writers I follow on Twitter. Harry Connolly, John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross, and William Gibson get some lively exchanges going on Twitter. Anyway, this is a 1st novel, and it really, really covers a lot of ground. It goes from being a western to a 50's cheap detective mystery to a 21st century SF story. When I got to the end, my reaction was kind of like, "huh"? But you keep turning the 448 pages. 3 stars? BTW, the eBook format on this was bad. Like a file that had inconsistent hard and soft returns. Lots of bad white space and run on words. I emailed the author, he said he fwded on to the publisher -- nice!
  • "The Magicians" and "The Magician King" by Lev Grossman. This started out looking like magical realism in Brooklyn, and I'm kind of like "Oh no, that never works". But then it becomes Harry Potter meets Chronicles of Narnia -- but for adults, dark and with sex and death. Pretty good reads, I guess. 3 stars.
  • "Distrust That Particular Flavor", by William Gibson. A collection of his non-fictional essays. I think I'd read most of these before. I never believed in semiotics until Gibson explained it to me. He has definitely coined some bon mots -- wow, a web page just for these, nice! "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." 4 stars.

    The other day I thought I came up with a good term for something I was working on -- something unique and cute. Quel dumbass, I didn't check it with The Google. When I finally got around to it, of course there were already several versions of my "original" idea out there. When will I learn? ;->

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