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Books started, March 2004

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

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Books started, March 2004

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1: The Last Light Of The Sun, Guy Gavriel Kay.
Nothing more needs to be said: if you aren't reading this one yet or don't know you should, let me assure you that you need to read this one.
2: Liquor, Poppy Z. Brite
I reviewed this earlier in March, and you can read that here: summary would be 'wow what a terrific piece of food porn!' Loved this book very much.
3: The Value of X, Poppy Z. Brite
I read these two backwards (it's Value of X, THEN Liquor). Honestly, they actually hung together very nicely that way. This book made me tear up at one point- the bit where G-man's little brother says that they have to bring Ricky back so G-Man will be happy again. And there went the waterworks.
4: Alphabet of Thorn, Patricia McKillip
Patricia McKillip is so fun. She's a fairytale author, and her fairytales are generally very original. This one's no exception. I didn't care for it as much as the two preceding novels- but I definitely liked it better than a lot of things.
5: Some Dunsany Anthology Or Other, pub. Penguin Books, auth Arthur Plunkett, Lord Dunsany
I just really enjoy Dunsany's style. I swear, the man could write about a side of beef and make it sound like a romantic landscape of wonder and awe.
6: Glory Season, David Brin. Slow pace. I'm not enjoying it too much so far.
7: Coin Locker Babies, Ryu Murakami. Is it just me, or is modern Japanese fiction written by people on HUGE amounts of pseudo-ephedrine, ecstasy, and Suntory whiskey? Man. Whackedout shit.
8: The First Book of Jorkens, Alfred Plunkett, Lord Dunsany. The Jorkens stories are great fun. The overarcing premise: the main character joins a club in london. One of the inhabitants of the club is Mr. Jorkens, who is a veteran of the foreign service, who drinks like a fish and is an inveterate liar. Picture a game of Baron Munchausen as written by Neil Gaiman, and you're about there. Warning: these are expensive, as Nightshade Books has printed them expensively.
9: When Gravity Fails, George Alec Effinger. I'd read this YEARS ago when it first came out and didn't get much out of it. Re-reading it happened because I'd had it recommended again recently, and decided 'what the hell, I'll read it if I can find a copy'. A year later, found one. Fun fun stuff.
10: A Fire in the Sun, George Alec Effinger. Found this when I found When Gravity Fails. Didn't like it as much, honestly, though it was fun taking apart that storyworld a bit further and seeing who these people were.
11: Powers of Two, Tim Powers (omnibus edition, 'Epitaph in Rust' & 'The Skies Discrowned'). Both decent reads; mostly just cheesy SF rather than anything like what you'd expect from a Tim Powers novel, though both have a solid basis in his themes.
And it's enjoyable reading a novel Tim Powers wrote as his first published novel, which was part of Harlequin's abortive SF line. ;)
12: The Iron Grail, Robert Holdstock. Reading Holdstock is always a pleasure (and I read the first book in this series earlier)-- however, I think the dear man needs to be a little less self-referential. Obviously not part of the Pre-Joyce League.
13: Dread Empire's Fall: the Sundering, Walter Jon Williams. You can't really go wrong with WJW if you're after enjoyable braincandy. He doesn't write like a madman of style and prose, but he writes very very well. And very engrossingly. I've yet to encounter a book by him that was anything less than enveloping.
  • If I didn't have a head cold making me stupid I would try to imitate Dunsany describing a side of beef, possibly in Jorkens' voice. Sigh. I miss Jorkens.

    Only ten books this month? Or only ten new or worth recommending books?
    • 'only ten books this month'? It's more than I've averaged in jan or feb. ;)
      • I only wondered. I've read more than that, but it's not like I have a job or anything. Besides, a dilbert collection doesn't count.

        Oh, wait, March, yeah. Somehow I thought that was "ten books this year". Pay no attention to the stupidly sick person.

        I've still read more than ten books this month, but it really shouldn't be able to count that I've re-read the Belgariad/Malloreon junkfood series and a couple of DIlbert collections. And probably a couple trashy romances, too. And it's not like I have a job.

        I should really read something with a brain this month, but I think I will wait until I have a brain.

    • in fact, 10 is only 4 less than i did in Jan and Feb put together. :)
  • Dunsany..

    I am going to check out the dunsany you mention..I have only seen his stories in anthologies,and would like to see more.
    Have you read Arthur Machen?
    • Dunsany info

      My favorite Dunsany by far is a little novel titled The Charwoman's Shadow (linked on Amazon). It's a beautiful little imaginary world, and a wonderful bit of narration. This one's in print from Del Rey.
      There's also a recent Penguin anthology that visits shorts from various periods of his writing which I'd definitely recommend to a newcomer to Dunsany's work, which is here on Amazon.
  • Hey now, The Collected Jorkens are worth every penny!
    • They are! I have readers who have very limited incomes, though, and feel it's only fair to warn them that I have acquired an expensive habit.
      Hell, I paid less for Collected Jorkens Vol. 1 than I paid for 'Curse of the Wise Woman'. That was a VERY costly little purchase.
  • You began reading all of these at the same time last month? I'm so amazed! What I do instead is post lists of purchases and books read, which I'm both rigid and loose about (I only list books I've read for the first time, and I count a novel as one book even if it's accompanied by several other novels in an omnibus). Personally, I think I ponder too much on my list.

    Anyway, I've only read one book by GGK: Sailing to Sarantium, which I enjoyed, although I felt a bit exhausted that I've yet to start cracking on Lord of Emperors. I am curious about The Last Light of the Sun though.

    As for Poppy Z. Brite, I loved Lost Souls, Wormwood, and some other short stories here and there. Liquor seems pretty good, too, actually, though I have no idea if that's showing up here. Did you ever read Drawing Blood? Is that good?

    Have you read David Brin's Kiln People? As a fan of noir fiction, I'm curious as to whether it plays around with those conventions or if it takes a more general stance with regard to the mystery.

    I've read Tim Powers's "Itinerary," which is quite a good story that reminds me of Karl Edward Wagner's "Cedar Lane." I have a copy of The Anubis Gates here, unfortunately damaged when they had to put out a fire in my house a month or so ago. I look forward to reading it, though I'm rather scared that I might not get all his allusions and stuff.
    • I started all these books at various points last month. ;) Several were read on a long driving trip where I was in the passenger seat.
      The GGK I'd most recommend is a novel titled 'Tigana'. The other stuff is also incredible, but tigana is Really Good.
      I've read Drawing Blood, and it's nice. I rather enjoy Poppy's short stories- I suspect she finds them fun little larks. Liquor's in print via a fairly midsized-to-small US publisher: it might be hard to find there. Or maybe it won't- I didn't do any English-language book shopping there, I honestly don't know how it compares to bookshopping here.
      I've not read Kiln People; honestly, I'd lost the spark for Brin after the second Uplift trilogy, and this is the first I've touched him since those were printed.
      Tim Powers is just fun. He is awfully smart, it's true- most of what he's smart about is folktales, legend, myth... Anubis Gates is a lot of fun. And there's nothing TOO allusive in there, really.
      • Tigana more than The Fionavar Tapestry? You're the first GGK fan I know who said that, and frankly, I'm glad you did as it's a, um, cheaper investment. *laughs*

        My favorite PZB short story is "The Ash of Memory, the Dust of Desire," and as for Liquor being hard-to-find over here, I suspect you may be right. The only limited print runs I have were specially ordered and at exorbitant rates, too.

        As soon as I'm done with the Cornell Woolrich works I'm working on right now, it might just be time to hit The Anubis Gates then.

        Thanks for the tips!
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