Books Read- 203 Books to Read-282 Percent Complete- 41.86%

Just Finished (For the third time) - 'Mirror Dance' by Lois McMaster Bujold

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I just put up a review of 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell' by Susanna Clarke.  I suppose I could really do without writing these little previews to my reviews, the reviews are right down there anybody can see them, but there are a few things I don't put into the reviews that I'd like to say about the books.  For this one it's that a reader would almost expect something a little more dense and meaningful than what you find in Strange and Norrell.  Not to say it's bad or anything, more that it's pleasantly surprising to find a book this long and this complex that is just aiming to entertain.  I really liked the book, and I give Susanna Clarke my best wishes on completing the sequel to this novel.  She worked on this novel for over a decade so I wouldn't expect anything too soon, and she's already mentioned some health problems so it might never happen.  There were enough unanswered questions left over at the end of this book to warrant a sequel, I mention some of them in my review.  I kind of feel like those questions only arise because I wasn't an astute enough reader.  So much of the novel was revealed right at the end during the conclusion, I kind of raced through it, if anyone feels like they know more than me jump right in and tell me so.

Who could resist this cover?

I've kind of set up a pattern of reviewing one book that's more modern and well known followed by a lesser known older book, so my next review will be Norman Spinrad's 'The Void Captain's Tale,' a book that's just amazing based on concept, and not bad in the delivery department either.  I've almost got it finished and I'll post it today or tomorrow. 

I haven't decided what I'm going to read next but I'm thinking about Delany's 'Dhalgren.'  I won't come right out and say it's going to be my next book as I've started and put it down several times, but after a book as long and entertaining as Strange and Norrell I kind of feel like something difficult and challenging, so maybe this will be the time I can get into it.  You need to be in the right mood for Delany and I think I'm there.  If not I think I'll read Effinger's 'What Entropy Means to Me,' I really like Effinger's work and it's got this fabulous cover that I really need to get to the bottom of.  It's a Nebula Nominee cult classic, it says it right there.

I read a lot of books in a given year, but I think it's a bad idea to look at that as a statistic that carries any meaning.  I could read hundreds of books in a year if they were all as short and easy to read as 'Glory Road.'  Little two hundred page paperback adventures, or I could read about ten 'Dhalgrens' in a year, these complex and dense stories written to challenge the reader.  If I try to read both 'Dhalgren' and 'Gravity's Rainbow' in the same year there's no way I'll read more than about thirty books.  I made fun of some friends once and said I could read more books in a year than three of them combined, but that's just me talking.  It's more important to read things you want to read, not focus on length or ease of reading. 

I'm trying to do this project because I want to, I like to read SF and I like to write about it as well.  Sometimes I'll finish books quickly and sometimes I won't.  I can try to project when I'll finish all the Hugo and Nebula nominees by estimating how fast I read over how fast they're added, but that's another statistic that has no meaning, I'll be done when I'm done.  If I stop enjoying SF I'll stop writing reviews.  But a person shouldn't feel bad if they don't finish books as fast as I do, I certainly don't feel jealous if a person reads faster than me.  I do get embarrassed sometimes if I forget to mention or don't know something important about a novel (like 'The Man who Folded Himself' being based on a Heinlein story like I brought up last week) but the speed at which a person reads is not something to take much pride or shame in.

I'll put up that review for Void Captain soon, and I'll try to post on what I'm reading next.  If it's 'Dhalgren' don't expect a review for at least a month, and even then don't expect it to be very meaningful.  Even if I finish it I don't expect to have a strong enough grasp to write a good critique, Delany's a lot smarter than I am.

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