zarzal: (Default)
I borrowed the new book by Stephenson, Anathem, from the library, and it's due tomorrow. I went online to renew it, and I got a "renewal failed" message, because apparently someone else has requested it. WTF, I haven't even gotten through a quarter of it yet!! This is Neal fucking Stephenson, who writes dense, weighty tomes that take weeks to get through! He invented another language and inserted some words randomly! It has math in it! And I'm only just now getting out of the explanatory and into the interesting bits!

Well, damn. I have a conundrum. There is no way, even if I stayed up all night, for two or three nights even, that I'd be able to finish it. I read fast, but this is Stephenson. I really didn't want to buy it in hardcover, hence the library. It looks like there's a reserve queue for it, so once I turn it in, I won't get access to it again in a hurry. Shit. I wish I had started reading it as soon as I got it, but I thought I'd be able to renew.

Speaking of books, here's a book meme:




You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.




Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.





Well, yeah. Rather obvious.
zarzal: (avebury)
I actually felt like reading today; I've been sick four days now, and I've been doing a lot of sleeping. I went in to work yesterday for three hours, long enough to take care of timesheets, monthly reports, and to deal with a vendor we had a appointment with, and then I went home and collapsed. It's been mostly a terrible sore throat and fatigue, but I started getting sniffly last night and took a Nyquil equivalent. Maybe that's why I was having nightmares this morning. Cold meds do weird things to my sleeping patterns.

So, didn't much feel like sleeping today, which might be a good sign, but I still didn't feel like doing anything but lie in bed. I ended up reading All She Was Worth by Miyuke Miyabe, her first novel--she's very big in Japan, and her works are getting translated into English. If this was her first novel, I can imagine why she's popular.

It was very good. It can be classified as a mystery or police procedural, perhaps; I don't read too many mysteries, but I liked this. I thought the ending seemed a bit off--either it stretched out too much, or it cut off too soon, I'm not sure which--but that may be due to my own cultural expectations. It's set mainly in Tokyo, but the investigator has to travel to several locations, including Osaka and Ise. I'm getting the impression that one can crisscross Japan in very little time at all, due to the ubiquity of bullet trains. Some passages, particularly the long explanation of the origins and pitfalls of the credit/finance system in Japan, felt like a big info-dump. (It also felt remarkably prescient, given the credit meltdown we are experiencing here in the US is quite similar to some of what she was describing of Japan in the early 90's.) Hopefully Miyabe has improved her methods in subsequent novels.

I have another novel of hers on my pile, Crossfire, which from the blurbs seems to be a mystery crossed with Firestarter. O_o Sounds great! I may read that one next, since my weekend plans are blown to hell. We were supposed to be going over to my mother-in-law's house tomorrow to watch the game. (Go Giants!!) Since she's recently out of the hospital, I'm not going anywhere near her with a nasty cold, even if I felt mobile enough to do so.

There's no fighting practice tomorrow, so god knows what hubby's going to do with himself until the game. Right now he's putting down a new seal for the toilet, as it's been leaking. He deserves a medal. :)
zarzal: (watership)

zarzal: (torii)
I'm at work today, and a little bored. (There's a stack of things I could work on instead of doing them Monday, but I'm not that bored.) I'm beginning to wish I had brought the HP book in; I'm rereading it before I turn it back in to the library, since I won't be seeing a copy again until it comes out in paperback.

So instead, I have a couple of suggestions for book series that I think people might like:


zarzal: (Default)
not really spoilerish )

Edit: there are definitely spoilers in the comments, beware.

And in other news, I finally received my garb I'll be wearing to Pennsic. (Thankfully Missy didn't make me any pink outfits; she did make one orange, but I think I can rock that.) Overall I'm quite pleased with her efforts! She even made me a cloak (black, with an awesome long hood), perhaps in compensation because it took her a lot longer to make the clothes than she had originally said. I think we're pretty much set to spend a week being medieval. ^_^ Two weeks before we leave!

Writing!

Jan. 20th, 2007 04:49 pm
zarzal: (gdcrow)
I got a bunch of writing done today! *beams*



In other news, I read the new Lois McMaster Bujold book this week. It's fantasy, unrelated to her other series, and is indeed part one of a new series. The title is The Sharing Knife: Part One, The Beguilement. I got through it in a few hours.
Guess I'd better get away from this computer for a while, and do some housework or something. *wanders off.*
zarzal: (kitsunebi)
I had only a small sliver of the last book to go, so before bed last night I finally read it. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending--not that the ending was all that surprising, but that it was pleasant, and that it was actually a resolution of the major plot threads. I had felt very dissatisfied with the ending to Cryptonomicon, hence my caution.

If you haven't heard of Neal Stephenson, you've probably seen his big honkin' books at the bookstore. Cryptonomicon, despite its ending, is a very good read; it takes place in both World War II and the current era, and switches back and forth between time periods. Some of the characters in it are clearly descendants of the characters in The Baroque Cycle. Other books by Neal are Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, which won a Hugo I believe. Those are completely awesome books and you should read them. Those are both cyberpunk/science fiction, whereas Cryptonomicon is not science fiction but is heavy on current encryption and computer technology.

The Baroque Cycle is not sf, it's a historical novel; however he makes heavy use of syncronicity and much of the plot deals with early technology and the very beginnings of computers. It's divided into three books, "Quicksilver," "The Confusion," and "The System of the World." Each one of them is huge, and I was reading this thing through the month of December...and I read really fast. It was such a pleasure to read that I didn't want it to end!

The time frame of the books ranges between the 1670's and 1715, and follows three main characters: Daniel Waterhouse, a Natural Philosopher; Jack Shaftoe, styled the King of the Vagabonds; and Eliza, a harem slave he rescues from the Siege of Vienna but who goes on to affect major events in Europe of the time. Each character serves as a focus on some of the different currents flowing at the time--Daniel on technology and Natural Philosophy (he hangs out with Isaac Newton and is a member of the Royal College), Eliza on the intrigues of the Sun King and his court as well as new monetary systems just coming into influence at the time, and Jack, the essence of the picaresque character, on the age of exploration and the rough conditions most Europeans lived under at the time. It's hard to describe the plot--I'd say it's the fascinating travails of the 17th century interpreted through the lives of the three, and their friends, allies, enemies and associates. Carthartic and educational!

A word of warning: the books detail a lot of technical stuff--geometry, algebra, the sort of thing I didn't do too well at in school. I learned to just skim those parts and still was able to more or less understand what the issues were. The first book especially is heavy on the things Newton works on--once you get to the second you'll be dealing with (to my mind) much more exciting intrigues.
zarzal: (watership)
Hope everybody had a happy and reasonably sane New Year. We were boring and stayed in, as it was raining out and the local festivities looked pretty mundane anyway. We killed a bottle of wine while flipping channels between the various feeds of Times Square.

For Christmas this year I got some good stuff, most notably a couple of things off my Amazon wishlist. I love the wishlist! One of them was "Ghostly Japan" by Lafcadio Hearn, I was reading some of it tonight. Hearn definitely did the world a service by recording as many old stories as he did. I had purchased "Kwaidan" last month but haven't worked my way all the way through it yet, mostly because I've also been reading The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. I'm about two-thirds finished with the last book, and I'm trying to stretch it out...I don't want it to end! I love his books but I hate some of his endings.

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