Random Book Related Babbling

Substantive commentary? Nope, none for me today, thanks. I’m just going to natter randomly about some odds and ends.

I finally got finished with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell last week. I highly recommend it. However, the book is very English and very long. It’s a book I would consider previewing. Read a bit and see if the style is something that you can read for 800 pages. It does get a bit thick at times, and the extensive footnotes add a bizarre air of verisimilitude to the proceedings. Fun stuff, though. Furthermore, the book is entirely self-contained. While Ms. Clarke may write a sequel at some point, the story certainly does not demand one. A stand-alone novel of such complexity is rare in the fantasy genre and should be rewarded.

Reading Strange & Norrell also reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I have only the haziest sense of the minor geography of Great Britain. I know roughly where London is and the larger, older subdivisions like Wales, Scotland and Cornwall are. However, Ms. Clarke’s novel deals with many specific aspects of British geography that baffled me entirely. I need to get a better idea of the geography. It comes up often in my readings and I just don’t have a clue.

I also have somewhere a history of London I haven’t finished reading. I think it’s packed away now, so I’ll have to wait. I need to work on the books that are on the shelf currently. I have a backlog now which I will never get finished if I keep playing Halo 2.

Speaking of the backlog, here’s what’s I’m actively reading as opposed to piling on my night stand:

Saying Yes: while interesting for the history of drug prohibition, I’m having problems staying interested. I think this is mainly because I was already convinced.

How to Talk to a Liberal: Typical Ann Coulter. Outrageous, irreverent, deliberately incendiary. She has a talent for vicious pithy comments that are pretty damn funny.

Hard America, Soft America: Any model that breaks something as complex as society down into one dimension is going to have problems. Having said that, it is useful as an explanatory tool and an additional way of looking at organizations and the thinking they shape.

Deadhouse Gates: Just started this one. I have high hopes. The first book was excellent, so I’m hoping this lives up to the hype.

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the book that makes me giggle every time I look at the back cover: Nigger. The back of the dust jacket has the usual celebratory quotes with a heading at the top reading “Praise For Nigger”. I freely admit this strikes me as comical.

Soon I will finish one of these and be able to start something else. I'm thinking either Nigger or Hard America, Soft America. They're both fairly short.


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