Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to Socialism or regression into Barbarism.
- Rosa Luxemburg, "Junius Pamphlet" 1916

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mentat's book corner

Okay, my first blogpost in many many thousands of moons. This brief post started life as a message over facebook between Ed, Micaiah (Ilorien) and myself. I was just asking Micaiah what he's been reading and gave the following recommendations. Ed said I should post it to the blog. Since these are simply pithy comments and not in depth reviews, that hadn't occurred to me. But...let's face it, I don't know how often I'll make myself write lengthy reviews. But I can see myself giving capsule summaries, and maybe from time to time more expanded capsule summaries. So, as an ice-breaker, here's the stuff on books in the message I sent. I'll do another post later today or over the weekend doing the same sort of thing for some more fiction I've read recently, and the recent non-fiction books too.

On other fronts, are you reading anything cool recently? Things I've read in the last couple of months I think you might be interested in are:

The Takeshi Kovacs trilogy by Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies) -- Noir SF. Think Philip K. Dick meets Raymond Chandler and they spawn a post-human infomorph love child.

First three novels of the Temeraire series by Naomi Novick (His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War). The Napoleonic wars with talking dragons thrown in. Sounds goofy. But it works.

Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. I'm rereading the first 4 before reading the 5th which just came out this summer. Fantasy set in a medieval-type world. But the theme is not good vs. evil, but power--what people do to get it and keep it. No young boy on a quest to get/save/destroy a McGuffin. No dark lord. The HBO series Game of Thrones is the first book in the trilogy brought to the screen.

For more lit'ree and less genre type fiction I recently read a play by Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited about an existential conversation between a nihilist suicidal professor and a devout ex con black man who intervenes when the professor tries to throw himself in front of a train. Also, Emma Donaghue's novel, Room, about a woman kept in a shed for years where she gives birth to and raises a son.

I read more non-fiction than fiction, but you said you preferred to read novels, so I thought I'd pass those recommendations along. Oh, two last interesting tidbits: two memoirs written in graphic novel form. Very different: the first, Blankets by Craig Thompson, about his harsh fundamentalist upbringing and how he grows up to escape its horrid influence and find love. The second, Paying For It, by Chester Brown about Brown's experiences over a decade regularly paying prostitutes for sex in Toronto, where I gather it's legal if certain forms are observed.

I've read other things, but those are the things that struck me as things you might like.

Now you!


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