april 2006 readinglist
i've been picking up books and going through them so fast I can barely keep track of them all...
- (4/24-)New Orleans, Mon Amour - Andrei Codrescu
National Public Radio does some wonderful things, their music segments, great commentators, broad ranging topics and one of my favorites, fabulous commentators. Particularly the humorists. Andrei Codrescu isn't always funny, but he is always well spoken, often insightful, and usually a joy to listen to. So I thought I'd pick up this book. So far, the short bits have been very enjoyable.(4/25)
- (4/12-4/23)The Kiln People - David Brinn
I've enjoyed many other David Brinn books - the Uplift Series, Glory Season, Earth, even the Postman - so when I ran across this, I thought, sure, why not? It should be at least good. And indeed, it was. Basic premise: humanity has discovered the Soul Standing Wave, which allows us to imprint our personalities into clay "dittos" who then live for a day, as we would, as we would like to, or doing the chores we don't want to. The ditto last a single day, and its memories can be inloaded afterward, their only chance at an "afterlife." The story follows our hero, the detective Albert, and his dittos as they work through a case that twists and turns and does some awfully interesting back flips. It reads very much like Asimov's Robot series to me - probably the first person detective. Quite enjoyable, though not the page turner that some of his other novels have been. Definitely worth the read, especially if you can find it used.
- Eight Skilled Gentlemen - Barry Hughart
I had been longing to read this book since I read Hughart's Bridge of Birds last year. I had not realized that this book was actually a sequel, in fact, the third novel in a series that begins with Bridge of Birds. Thankfully, it is less a trilogy, and more a series - think, Nancy Drew set in a magical ancient China. Our narrator Number Ten Ox does the bidding of Master Li Kao, one of the best scholars of his time, who decided to abandon the strictures of high cast to become a drunk, who occasionally indulges his intellect by solving mysteries. One of the best parts of the novels has been the names - utterly ridiculous, over the top, amusing and at times pointed. I enjoyed this third book in the series, and intend the find the second, though I did find it a bit more violently graphic than the very light-hearted first novel. Still, quite enjoyable.
- The Silent Gondoliers - William Goldman
I love the Princess Bride, both the book and the movie. I don't think I've ever come across a set such as those two that are both enjoyable on their own and together. So, when I saw another book with the names Goldman and S. Morgenstern, I couldn't resist. And, I was not let down. This is a much shorter tale, almost an extended fable, a story about how the gondoliers of Venice, once the most glorious singers on earth, lost their voices. It is told in the amusing vernacular of Morgenstern, a "Florentine," both light and amusing, while the characters are personable and touching. This a book not to be passed up by the lover of tall tales.