Sunday, December 06, 2009
The Year of Good Books: November
First Among Sequels - Jasper Fforde actually disappointed me a bit in this, the 5th Thursday Next novel, but also my least favorite. Still a fun read, it comes across as a bit too self-aware. I will still be back for the 6th, though.
The Breaks of the Game - David Halberstam's book about the Trailblazers' championship season and its aftermath is enthralling. What makes a book about a season 30 years in the past interesting? It is more about the effect of money on pro sports with a backdrop of class and race conflict.
The Gathering Storm - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson After 4 years, the 12th (and next-to-penultimate) Wheel of Time novel is finally here. And it was, in a word, AWE-FING-SOME. Wow. It seems that the slow pace of novels 7-10 is a memory. Unfortunately, this also sees my favorite character being put through the ringer -- and not coming out of it as a very nice guy. However, it definitely moves the plot along and resolves quite a few major storylines, some of which have been building since the second book. And hopefully only another year or so until book 13!
Peter & Max - Bill Willingham. The first Fables novel was a pleasant surprise, though it had a extremely quick, though logical, resolution. For those of you who don't know, Fables is a series of comics that feature various legendary fairy tale characters ("fables") living in New York due to having being exiled from their Homelands by a nefarious Adversary. Having read the comics/graphic novels, the scenes with Bigby Wolf and Frau Totenkinder were especially fun. I would recommend the first volume of the comics as a better starting point, but this is still new-reader-friendly.
The Soul of a New Machine - Tracy Kidder's award-winner book about the creation of a microcomputer in 1980 is fascinating. From the huge number of "exotic" computer terms that are now part of normal life to the mushroom management style ("keep 'em in the dark and feed 'em shit") that is now par for the corporate course, it's an interesting look at work in a startup that is surprisingly like life in mainstream corporate America in the 2000s. It also made me think I know what Corey does at work.
The Ladies of Grace Adieu - Susanna Clarke I'm not normally a fan of short short stories, and I'm not sure why. I tend to have a short attention span for movies and TV, but I prefer longer stories to read. This was exacerbated by the fact that these stories are all basically the same -- people in the Jonathan Strange universe that have to cope with fairy magic. I would have enjoyed it much more had I read it on and off over several months.