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Good grief, it's Wednesday again?

Finished Recently

Ripped through The Glass God, the new Kate Griffin book, in a day (well, mostly in a night.) I still find the series really fun and readable, and at the same time still a tiny bit frustrating, when it comes to characters. This one seemed to have a lot of potential, with Matthew missing and very vulnerable and and Sharon having to step up and stuff, but all that interesting chewiness gets sidelined for quippy dialogue and set pieces and convoluted mystery-murder-mayhem plot and so on. So, par the course. At some point I'm just going to have to accept this series is never going to grow into the complex exploration of urban alienation and the social underpinning of humanity that I would like, but not yet!

Frankenstein. Don't quite know what to think about it, really. I figure all the thoughts have already been thought. Personally, it hits me in the same place most things do. Isolation, alienation, etc. I can see the SF-Fantasy elements thought. SFF is so often about that kind of stuff - what does it mean to be human? Where is the line of that drawn? Who gets to define it? It's kind of nice to see that it's not contemporary liberal angsting but is right there at the roots of the genre. The monster begs, desperately, for connection, but Frankenstein refuses, but he (Frankenstein) can't conceive of himself as bound in a web of connections. He's constantly surprised that the monster - that anything - could come at him through the people around him. It just never seems to occur to him that all those threats aren't about him.

On the non-fiction front, 1913 by Charles Emmerson was kinda meh. A sort of world-portrait of 1913, organized by major cities. It should have been right up my alley but fell a little flat. It is nicely readable and the focus on cities is novel and welcome, but it ends up straying too wide. If I wanted to read about the Meiji restoration or the Young Turks or Habsburg disintegration or whathaveyou, i'd go read about them, and not in ten page snapshots. What I wanted was to know what kind of shoes people wore in Tokyo or what employment was like for Black people in Durban or how often people in Buenos Aires went to see movies or how much tea cost in Teheran. Some of it is there, which makes the digressions into narrative political history all the more frustrating, but not nearly enough.

Current and Future Reading

Back to slogging slowly through The Steel Remains, and I've heard good things about Up Against It, by MJ Locke, or possibly the next Flashman book. (I think i'm up to 4.)


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May 2017

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