Recently Read Books

Recently Read Books

Because reading is important (and delicious). One of my favorite things to learn, that I learn every workshop, festival and convention, is that reading is important. “Writers must read!” People proclaim and every time they do I get a delicious shiver. Really? I can indulge in my addiction? I am trying to strategically target my addiction a little more.

Things I’ve read in the past month or so, a scattering of thoughts:

James Tiptree, Jr, Her Smoke Rose Uo Forever – collection of short stories.
It was very interesting to spend some time with Tiptree after the number of times I’d heard people talk about her at Clarion. I’d read bits of her in anthologies, but never sat down with a weighty chunk. She was a taste it took a while to acquire, I don’t know if it was how the anthology was balanced or me getting into her voice. I really liked some of her explorations, but the degree of depression and sadness I got from a lot of them made me reluctant to read on at points. It really is a fine collection however and covers most of the Tiptree Must Reads.

Diaspora, Greg Egan – SF Novel with a vast scope.
Interesting future, human intelligence, artificial intelligence, alien intelligence. Had to skip over some of the maths and science when they were too dense. But it still interested me, fascinating stuff, The novel I am most tempted to re-read, just so I can understand more of it. Greg Egan often writes stuff that I cannot fully follow on the first few passes, but his human stories and world building intrigues me enough that I more than forgive him. I also know that if I put the effort in I will understand eventually. A chewy, nutritious candy.

The Jewel Hinged Jaw, Samuel Delaney. Collection of essays.

I appreciate his passion, but I think on the whole On Writing is a better sampling (and there is a degree of overlap). He is certainly eclectic and reminds me of my Dad – interested in everything, left handed dyslexic with an enormous brain who just wants people to think and have ideas and do STUFF. It contained a lot of familiar concepts for me, but I did have an odd upbringing.

The Straw Men, Michael Marshall. Mystery/Crime Novel.
Michael Marshall Smith when he’s writing straight mystery. It wasn’t as powerful as Only Forward, made me want to read more of his science fiction rather than more of his mystery. It makes me sad that he seems to be making it bigger as a mystery writer (at least in the states) than a SF author. Still a man has got to experiment and he does explore a few ideas. It was an engaging enough read and I’m curious to see where he takes it, but I think I’ll save my mystery/crime coupons for Robert Crais or some of the older classics… or just read more of his fantastic SF.

On Writing, Damon Knight. Non Fiction
I wrote a whole article on this one when I had a grand plan of doing that for everything I read. I’ll post it up in a day or two. It is very fine.

Currently Reading

  • Six Memos for the Next Millenium, Italo Calvino Non Fiction
  • Generation Loss, Elizabeth Hand, Novel
  • On Writing, Samuel Delaney, Non Fiction
  • Slush, Short Fiction

What are you reading?

2 thoughts on “Recently Read Books

  1. I read the Michael Marshall series, and overall I was, yes, a bit disappointed that it didn’t seem to be quite up to the inventive standard of his SF, though the writing was tight.
    One of them (I think the second?) has a bit where he just can’t help having his SF writer instincts kick in, and a psychic sasquatch kind of inexplicably wanders into the plot just for a chapter or two. Odd.

  2. Hmmm, interesting, the first few sentences made me think cool I don’t need to read it, but psychic sasquatch… that has got me tempted. It is so strange, no one seems to have heard of MMS here and I can get Michael Marshall books here, but none with that all important Smith at the end.

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