January 13th, 2008



Over the past couple of years, while I've been lurking on LJ and then declaiming to anyone who's listening in the villages, I've been keeping an eye on something called the 50 Book Challenge, where people list the books they've read during the year. And I thought, fifty seems an awfully low number. And then it occurred to me that I never kept track of the books I've read, so over this year I'm going to try to.
So, first up, started on January 1, is Ralph Steadman's The Joke's Over, his memoir of his time working with Hunter S Thompson. I knew most of the stories already from Thompson's work, but it was interesting to get Steadman's perspective on them. He seems as deranged as Thompson was. Good book. I enjoyed that.
Next up is Dan Simmons's The Terror, which is his take on the catastrophic Franklin Expedition of 1845 to discover the Northwest Passage. I have a take-it-or-leave-it relationship with Simmons. I really enjoyed Summer Of Night and Carrion Comfort but I couldn't get on with Hyperion at all. But I enjoyed this one. Although Simmons is maybe a little too fond of the word `serac.'
No Country For Old Men. Yeah, I know, because of the movie. I have a similar relationship with McCarthy as I do with Simmons. I read Blood Meridian years ago and thought it was a miracle, but then I tried to read Suttree and couldn't finish it. But No Country is one of his more accessible novels, and a grim old thing it is, too. Good stuff, though. His ear for language is extraordinary.
I don't know whether this counts, but I also reread Neal Stephenson's Zodiac, which I think is a lovely novel and I recommend wholeheartedly.
I also started The God Delusion, but that's not going well at all. Though I agree with Dawkins all the way down the line, I find the tone of the book rather offputting and I think I may put him aside until later.
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