Monthly Archives: December 2012
A friend of mine got me thinking the other day about my goodreads list. There are many books that I have read and enjoyed even since I’ve started the blog, that I just don’t end up reviewing. Usually, I review a book only if I have something to say about the content for some reason. I try and stay away from reviews that are simply “read this it was good”. So since I’ve been busy with our move to the new house and my NaNoWriMo novel. I won this year by the way. Two days early. Yeah me! I thought I’d go through my Goodreads.com list and come up with some solid recommends less the review. Here are the first few. Call these the Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction picks.
The Nanotech Series by Kathleen Ann Goonan – The books in the series: Queen City Jazz, Mississippi Blues, Crescent City Rhapsody and Light Music are fascinating and entertaining as well as evocatively titled. I keep wanting to read more of her books. Sadly they are unreasonably hard to get a hold of every place I’ve ever been. Which is sad to me. I’m not a reader that likes much stream of consciousness writing. While the style does figure large in these books, it didn’t bother me. And I admit to being easily annoyed.
Neal Stephenson has an extensive place on my list too. Sadly, I have not yet found time to finish the Baroque Cycle. But what I’ve read was very enjoyable. Plus there are a few that are on my must read list. Really the only draw back to his books are their weight. Of course now it’s easy enough to download them to the reader of your choice. A vast improvement over the three weeks I lugged Cryptonomicon everywhere with me. Also not to be missed from Stephenson: Snow Crash, Diamond Age, and Zodiac. All of which are good reads, and rather lighter in the backpack that some of his more recent works.
Anything by Mary Doria Russell is an interesting read as well. For this list The Sparrow and The Children of God come up. Although she has written in other generas as well. These books are about the Catholic Church sending a missionary to the first planet we’ve every found with religiously convertible life form. They are not for sensitive readers. They are tragic reads. Yet, so good, in a way that only a genuinely sad read can be.
All the classic writers are on my list too. William Gibson, Isaac Asimov, P.D. James, Robert Heinlein, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Terry Pratchett and Ray Bradbury. I don’t know if I really have specific recommendations for these authors. I will probably always like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and I will probably always not care as much for Starship Troopers. But really that’s a matter of taste. Basically I consider all these authors so strong that just picking a book and starting in reading would work just fine. Perhaps not surprisingly, although I can tell a good Cthulhu joke, I am not a Lovecraftian. Like wise Stephen King and I have an off again on again relationship. I mean, I get it. But he’s never going to be on my top ten anything list.
Then there is Kurt Vonnegut. I loved loved loved his work during my super angst ridden belly button staring period in high school/college. Then I turned 23 and haven’t been able to touch his work since. Go figure. I used to get it. Now he just depresses and disappoints me. Also, his work makes me wonder if I was even more unpleasant during that time than I think I was. Luckily I am now too old and too darn busy to worry about it much. But maybe, just maybe, handing high school students Slaughter House 5 was not a stroke of genius.
I also have a long list of must reads in this category that I just haven’t gotten around to. World War Z by Max Brooks is on that list. So is probably anything by Alfred Bester, and Robin Cook, and Dan Simmons. But of course in a way that’s the nice thing about reading. Even if everybody stopped writing today, I’d never run out of things to read. Which is not to say you should stop writing. In fact get back to work. My “must read list” is way to short.