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in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision

Books, Apr. 2004

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

Books, Apr. 2004

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First, there was a lot of finishing of stuff from prior.

1. To Green Angel Tower- Tad Williams. Good fucking god, why did this man ever get a publishing contract again in his life, after this shit? There was enough plot in Memory, Thorn & Sorrow for HALF OF A NOVEL.
Of course, he needed to make it 2600 pages of novel. Really overwritten really overflorid really... just bleah. Editor. Hire one.
2. The Confusion- Neal Stephenson. speaking of 2600 pages of novel, here's the 2nd volume of his Baroque Cycle. For those of you who have already read Quicksilver, this book takes after the 2nd part of Quicksilver, as far as narrative speed and focus goes. Coworker and I were talking and he suggested that perhaps this trilogy should be considered as a single 3000 page novel, which is why the first 500 pages were slow and expository and teeedious. That would make sense, though I enjoyed the first 500 pages of Quicksilver, too.
3. Sethra Lavode- Stephen Brust. It's more Brust-doing-pastiche-Dumas. How could one go wrong reading it, if one likes that sort of thing? I'm loving it.
4. Guilty but Insane- Poppy Z. Brite. Fun. Warped. I'm glad I followed the advice of cheekytubemouse and dug up a copy. ;)
5. An Exaltation of Larks- James Lipton. This book is more entertaining when you've watched Inside the Actor's Studio and hear the narrative in the voice of the man who wrote it- and who interviews the guests on ItAS.
6. Sonnets to Orpheus- Rainier Maria Rilke. Edward Snow translation of these beautiful sonnets. Good stuff. But it's Rilke: calling it good stuff is like saying the Mona Lisa is 'not a bad portrait'.
7. Elephant House, Or, The Home of Edward Gorey- Kevin McDermott. This is just photographs: pictures of the totchkes & knickknacks and such in Gorey's home, taken about a month after his passing. BEAUTIFUL photos- and a very very sad piece of work. Especially the photos of his drawing table and the little handwritten notes about forthcoming work on it.
8. Only Forward- Michael Marshall Smith. Read this one when it first came out- trying to decide what I think of it now.
9. Approaching Oblivion- Harlan Ellison. I liked this book a lot when I first read it, 10 years ago. Now? Not so much. Sigh.
10. Novelties & Souvenirs- John Crowley. I am of mixed mind about this book. On the one hand, it's TERRIFIC having all of Crowley's shorts and the one novella in print. On the OTHER hand, I whine because if I'd been patient I wouldn't have bought one of the books that is compiled in here. Buy this one. These are brilliantly clever fantasy works.
  • I've read a few of Sterling's short fiction, but I'm quite curious and at the same time daunted by his novels. I'm particularly wondering about that novel of his whose main character is named Hiro Protagonist, which makes me laugh whenever I recall it.

    You're right about "calling [Rilke] good stuff is like saying the Mona Lisa is 'not a bad portrait'," but is the Snow translation better than the Mitchell? I usually prefer the latter to, say, Robert Bly. (Did I get that right?)

    I have a couple of Michael Marshall Smith stories here, but I've yet to read them. He's supposed to be a rather "buzz" author, isn;t he?

    I hate to admit it, but I also remember reading Ellison a few years ago and liking it more than I do now. I feel sad when I think about that...
    • I hate to admit it, but I also remember reading Ellison a few years ago and liking it more than I do now. I feel sad when I think about that...
      I have to say- his more recent stuff really ages well. The stuff that is in Strange Wine and afterwards really is quite solid. Maybe even Stalking the Nightmare and afterwards.
      • After having seen some of Jacek Yerka's art online (reminds me of a more "nature-oriented" Magritte), I must admit the Ellison title I'm really curious about is Mind Fields. Have you ever read that one? If not, one of the stories is available online, and I rather liked it. Surprisingly (and pleasingly) lyrical from what I've come to expect from Ellison.
        • I have a copy- Ellison did a signing at a local bookstore and I got to hear him read one of the stories (the one dedicated to his wife).
          Honestly, the book's an experiment- and one that works in some ways and doesn't in others.
  • 4. Guilty but Insane- Poppy Z. Brite. Fun. Warped. I'm glad I followed the advice of borggrrl and dug up a copy. ;)

    I'm glad you liked it!
  • Stephen Brust - I just finished The Jhereg trilogy. I'm going to start on the next part tomorrow. Great stuff. I wish I had heard of him sooner. I love the fact that the main character isn't perfect, he's human, and he does bad things, but you still love him. Fun stuff.
    • the sextet (octet? Nonet? Goodchristthat'stoomany-tet?) of books that revolve around Vlad Taltos are not the books of his that I enjoy, actually: I read two of those years back and they made me want to hurt the person who insisted I had to read them. The more recent stuff he's been doing is this delicious Dumas pastiche, and you can't get enough of that for my money.
      • I enjoyed them. They were a quick read, and good light-hearted escapism. I didn't like the third book with all it's Marxist junk much, but I can think of worse ways to pass the time.

        I need to read Sethra Lavode. She's a great character.
        • I have to admit I may have tried them in the midst of a binge of High Literature reading- and I know that the recc. I got of them was so glowing nothing could've stood up to the sheer burning brightness of it.
          Since I picked the darn anthos up while I was out of town a while back (found 'em for $2 each at a used shop), I imagine I'll give 'em a second go.
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