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Books

Picked up my proofreading project this afternoon and will begin work on it tomorrow.

I finished Children of God today, and I didn't like it as much as The Sparrow. Instead of telling one story from two perspectives -- like The Sparrow -- it tells two separate stories that eventually converge, and it felt scattered to me. As a result, it didn't have the emotional impact of The Sparrow. I cried a couple of times, but that was at the beginning. Usually, books make me cry at the end, because the whole book builds up to some emotional crisis, but this one wasn't like that. It's still a good book, but it doesn't compare to The Sparrow.

I've started reading John Crowley's Novelty, a collection of four stories, including the novella Great Work of Time. I'm part-way through Great Work of Time right now, and I'm not enjoying it much. The writing is sometimes dense and the vocabulary is sometimes obscure. I feel like I should be reading with a dictionary at my elbow. I wish I were enjoying this more, since I've loved John Crowley's work in the past, including his other collection of short stories, Antiquities, but Great Work of Time is feeling a little bit like work, and I haven't yet gotten enough reward for the amount of work I'm doing. I'm continuing on, though, because Crowley has a habit of enchanting me if I give him time. I still have hope.

I picked up Novelty because I was looking for something short to read, because I'm going to participate in the Xenagia reading group, which is going to read Charles Stross's Singularity Sky. It doesn't sound very interesting to me, but I'm willing to give it a try. Shannon says it is dense hard science fiction. Not my thing. But I've read other stuff that I deemed "not my thing" -- like Raymond Chandler -- and I've found stuff I like that way, so I'm not going to wimp out without even trying. I'm getting it from the library, but it won't arrive for a week or so, so I needed something else to read in the meantime.

What I'm really wanting to read right now is Aegypt, also by John Crowley. The tetralogy is complete, which is what I've been waiting for, and I find myself in the mood, but Singularity Sky comes first.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
daev
Nov. 8th, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)
I like dense hard SF but I thought Singularity Sky was singularly bad. It's his first novel and that really showed. The whole idea of an alien invasion fleet being run like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was kind of funny, though.

Speaking of books, I've been involved with an interesting project that I can't explain just yet, but I'll send you the result when it's finished. I think you'll be amused. :-)
kimberly_a
Nov. 8th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC)
Your opinion -- which I trust -- makes me look forward to Singularity Sky even less, but I'm trying to reserve judgment until I've begun reading. Shannon has read it before, and he says it took him a while to get into it, so I'm going to try to give it a fair shake. If I'm really not enjoying it, I'll put it down like I did To Say Nothing of the Dog and just wait to participate in the book group next time.

I look forward to seeing the result of your project. You've piqued my curiosity.
daev
Nov. 8th, 2007 08:28 am (UTC)
You know, now that I think about it, I'm going to try to stop doing these prejudicing "quick reviews." I guess I have the tendency, like a lot of people, to take a subject raised as an invitation for an opinion. But now I see that it does you no good to hear some snap judgement like that; you've already decided to read the book, so all I'm doing is make you come in with a negative bias. If it helps to balance things out, I think Stross is a really good writer (even when he's not talking about a subject I care for) and he can toss off the most wonderful well-crafted sentences that mix rhetorical styles like a nacho salad. I think you'll be delighted with many parts of Singularity Sky.
kimberly_a
Nov. 8th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
Don't worry about it. Your opinion was balanced by Shannon telling me that the book is generally well-regarded. So I've heard good and bad things.
wild_irises
Nov. 8th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
[comment deleted and replaced with html and LJ user name fixed]

I don't think I've ever spoken with anyone who thinks Children of God is as good as The Sparrow. My reasons would be a lot like yours, plus I don't like the characters as much, plus there's a marriage in the book that I simply don't believe in (she said, treading around the spoiler issue).

I haven't read Singularity Sky. I'm reading Stross's Accelerando now through the amusing delivery of daily lit and enjoying it without loving it. I do like getting a tiny piece of a book delivered every day in email, however.

You do know that John Crowley is crowleycrow on LiveJournal, yes?
kimberly_a
Nov. 8th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
daily lit sounds like the old days, reading Dickens in the papers, or Armistead Maupin, except every day. I've never read like that. The closest I've come is reading aloud with Shannon, where we read only a chapter a day, and I can't just sit down and read however much I want. I found it frustrating when we were reading something I was really interested in, but with things that fascinate me less I find it easier.

I didn't realize that John Crowley was on LJ. I've friended him, so thanks for the pointer. I see that John Berry is designing the 25th anniversary edition of Little, Big.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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