Posts concerning reading

Erfworld Book One

13:24 09 Jun 2009

I mentioned Erfworld last year, and I thought I’d plug it again now that it’s moved to its own website and the first book is finished. I remain extremely impressed with it, and am eagerly waiting for Book One to come out in print form. It starts here, and is definitely worth the read.

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Deception and the Rapture

23:51 05 May 2009. Updated: 01:51 06 May 2009

The Rapture might turn out to be a fake; also, certain books about the Rapture might be fake but contain real Rapture-related messages.

The second link is a lot more fun to read than the first link, but that’s just my opinion.

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The Dispossessed Review

23:49 30 Apr 2009. Updated: 12:38 21 May 2009

Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed won the Nebula in 1974, and the Hugo and Locus in 1975. It’s a classic of science fiction, but represents a clear break from the three preceding triple-crown winners. It’s much “softer” science fiction, with less focus on technology (even though, in a sense, a technological breakthrough is at the core of the plot) and more focus on social and political issues.

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2007 Booker/Pulitzer/IMPAC Winners

12:32 31 Mar 2009

Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2007: The Gathering, Anne Enright.
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2007: The Road, Cormac McCarthy.
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2007: Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson.

I read The Gathering and Out Stealing Horses this month, and read The Road in August 2008.

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2008 Booker/Pulitzer/IMPAC Winners

23:37 27 Mar 2009. Updated: 00:39 28 Mar 2009

Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2008: The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga.
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2008: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz.
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2008: De Niro’s Game, Rawi Hage.

I read The White Tiger in December, De Niro’s Game in January, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in February.

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Book Divestment

23:53 26 Mar 2009. Updated: 01:05 27 Mar 2009

Having decided a while back that I would, today I finally got rid of some books by selling them, first at Moe’s and then the remainder at Half Price Books. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I can even contemplate getting rid of books, but I came up with a single criterion that I find extremely useful: for each book, I ask myself whether I would want to buy it if I didn’t already have it, and if the answer is no, I put it in the “get rid of” pile.

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The Gods Themselves Review

20:02 22 Mar 2009. Updated: 10:13 27 Mar 2009

Isaac Asimov wrote The Gods Themselves in 1972, and it was the only one of his novels to win the Nebula award, as well as being the only one to win the Nebula/Locus/Hugo triple. I read it as a teenager, and read it again recently because of its “triple crown” winner status.

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Ringworld Review

14:03 20 Mar 2009. Updated: 12:54 12 Oct 2009

Larry Niven’s Ringworld, written in 1970, is considered a classic work of science fiction and is the first book to have won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards (and was also the first recipient of the Locus). I read it as part of my plan to read all of the eleven “triple crown” winners this year.

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Some Thoughts on Racism and Science Fiction/Fantasy

17:16 13 Mar 2009

I’ve been reading a lot about this recently. I’m not sure why, although some of it is due to looking around for info around when I was coincidentally writing up my Fantasy World Sketch. Some of it is due to just happening to run into the edges of a larger discussion taking place mostly on LiveJournal.

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Giving Up On A Goal For 2009

17:50 27 Feb 2009

Back at the start of the this year, I set out a bunch of goals for myself for 2009. One of them was this:

Write a summary/review/synopsis of every book I read. This will be a lot harder, I think. Definitely a trickier one, and a hard discipline to maintain, but we’ll see how it goes.


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Book Summary #1

20:22 02 Jan 2009. Updated: 16:52 28 Jan 2009

I just wrote a summary of the first book I read this year, The Fall of the Kings. It took me longer than I would have liked, at a little over thirty minutes—ideally I’d like to be significantly more succinct, and to be able to summarize in about fifteen minutes. That’s not as ridiculous as it sounds, since all I really need to do is enough so that I will recall the book, not enough so that someone who’s never read it will be given a good overview. This time, I certainly erred on the side of an overview. In any case, do not read the rest if you ever plan to read the book, since it reveals all the major plot points. Otherwise, if you’re curious about either the summary of this book or what a 30-minutes synopsis of a 510-page fantasy novel looks like, read on (oh, and while not as good as Swordspoint, I do think it’s worth reading).

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2009 Goals

17:49 01 Jan 2009. Updated: 14:32 30 Jul 2009

Happy New Year!

That’s goals for the year 2009, not two thousand and nine goals, people.

I tend to start the year with a bunch of ambitions and projects—many of which I even accomplish. Some of them for this year follow.

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December 2008 Reading Report

20:02 30 Dec 2008. Updated: 16:53 28 Jan 2009

I did hit my target of 14 books this month, bringing my total to 75 for the year. Some comments on those follow.

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2009 Reading Plan

11:34 19 Dec 2008. Updated: 19:05 23 Jun 2013

To try to hit my year’s reading target, I planned out my December reading, and it seems to have worked well (I’m currently halfway through book 71, The Art of Learning), so I’m going to try planning out my reading for next year.

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Textual Graph of ‘The Depressed Person’

23:19 11 Dec 2008. Updated: 17:03 28 Jan 2009

The following is a graph of different text types, or modes, in the David Foster Wallace story “The Depressed Person”, as published in the M. Evans and Company 2005 hardcover edition, with f representing footnotes, or rather a line of footnotes, T representing the title line (that is, the line “The Depressed Person” on the first page of the story, which is on page 31 of this, meaning the 2005 M. Evans & Co. hardcover published in New York, edition), n representing (a line of) the other text, the text that is neither footnote nor title, and whose representative letter here clearly suggests that the author, meaning the author of this post, who is definitely not David Foster Wallace, that this author grants a certain privilege to text arbitrarily placed “above the line” even though this author is very aware that this (i.e., this privilege) is highly questionable, perhaps in general and especially when dealing with the work of David Foster Wallace, but ultimately was simply unwilling to come up with another letter particularly since this letter, n, would provide an opportunity for the kind of metacommentary that the author (again, not David Foster Wallace) feels is apt when dealing with the author (this time actually meaning David Foster Wallace), the dashes signifying the bottom of the graph, and the numbers read vertically indicating the page number.

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December Reading List

21:35 07 Dec 2008. Updated: 17:06 28 Jan 2009

I’m trying to read a lot of books this month, because at the start of the year I set myself a target of reading 75 books… and with less than a month left, I’m at 62. Naturally, in the name of reaching this target, I bought/borrowed a bunch of books…

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Book List

23:56 24 Nov 2008. Updated: 17:12 28 Jan 2009

I haven’t got any graphs, despite what I said last time. I had some, but messed them up while experimenting with Flot, and in any case they weren’t quite what I wanted. However, I did solve some of the other issues I was having with my book-tracking application, and am relatively happy with the current view.

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Fun with Books and Data Models

23:56 16 Nov 2008. Updated: 17:16 28 Jan 2009

Fun might be the wrong word.

(Also, this is long. Condensed: I’ve been using Freebase to store my reading data, I wrote an Acre app to provide a custom view, and I discovered that my data model has some shortcomings.)

I’ve been playing with Acre some more, specifically on a long-term project of mine: to store data about the books I read in some system and then create views about my reading habits. Yes, compulsive list-making combined with programming/data geekery.

Anyway, I could have used a lot of other systems, such as Delicious Library or LibraryThing or Books, to store this information, but none of them seemed to have quite what I want (and most of them are proprietary). I could have written my own, and planned to, but kept tweaking with the data model and generally wasn’t sure how I wanted to deal with it.

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Finish the Book, George

23:29 02 Nov 2008. Updated: 17:25 28 Jan 2009

Today I came across a blog dedicated to scolding George R. R. Martin about the fact that he hasn’t finished A Dance with Dragons. The fact is, I can see why the authors of the blog decided it was necessary. It’s been three years since A Feast for Crows, and the next book was supposed to be half-done when he released it. Worse, it’s been twelve years since the first book.

I know how hard it is to write a novel, never mind a good novel. A series of good novels, that’s certainly a tall order.

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Fantasy Novel Roundup

22:30 06 Oct 2008. Updated: 17:33 28 Jan 2009

I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy novels recently. I tend to read a fair number of them per year, but the last several months have been almost entirely focused on that genre. I’ve read nineteen of them since mid-June, when I started Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series.

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Rainbows End, the Hugo, and Blindsight

03:52 11 Aug 2008. Updated: 17:19 28 Feb 2009

Vernor Vinge has written some excellent science fiction works, such as True Names and A Fire Upon the Deep. I thought the latter was well-plotted, had interesting characters, and had some truly fascinating technological ideas.

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23:57 07 Aug 2008. Updated: 18:03 28 Jan 2009

I read M. John Harrison’s Viriconium series recently, and was impressed on a number of levels. The atmosphere of completely pervasive decay that he creates is quite effective, and I suspect that the series was extremely influential. I think that Mieville’s New Crobuzon would have had a hard time struggling into existence without Viriconium preceding it, and I also suspect that Harrison had a big impact on Gene Wolfe.

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Robin Hobb’s Soldier Son Series

21:05 22 Jul 2008. Updated: 18:08 28 Jan 2009

I finished reading Robin Hobb‘s Soldier Son Trilogy last night. I’m a big fan of her Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, and so was happy to find that she had another out.

However, I have to say I’m quite disappointed in this one, and wouldn’t really recommend it.

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