Sunday, December 18, 2005

Good Books

I've read a great run of books lately mostly because some of my favorite authors have come through with some gems lately.

I finished Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle a bit ago. Very well done. I liked better then Crypyonomicon mainly because I liked the ending better but also because I thought that the underlining theme of the remaking of the world from gold based monarchies to a world of science and modern monetary systems was more interesting for me then cryptograhy and money. (That said Crypyonomicon is a good book and I recommend it too.)

Next up was Iron Council by China Meilville. If you haven't read any China Meilville yet. You are missing out on easily the best "fantasy" writer ever. His creativity is unequaled and he marries that to a good science fiction writers' critiquing of society. His latest book is the third set in the same world. Although it sequencially occurs after the first two and it might be best to have read at least the first book before reading this one (although it might even be better to read one of his shorts from his short story collection about Jack Half-a-prayer) this was his best book to date. Although he will never be able to capture the originality of his first book in this millieu, the story in Iron Council was one of the best pure stories I've read in a while including one of the best endings ever.

Next up was Feast of Crows, the fourth book in George RR Martin's series. Martin is easily the best of the never-ending fantasy series writers. His females do not sounds like whiney 13 year olds and his story is not the same predictable chosen-one story everyone else seemed to have been writing. Instead he routinely kills off major characters and keeps you guessing in a great world. While he says he has a 7 book cycle planned, "book 4" has already become a 2 volume set essentially and his books are not getting shorter so it could be a long while before this one gets done. Warnings aside, these are great fantasy books that always make me want to take up role-playing again.

Then, just last week, I finished a shorter book by Neil Gaimon. I highly recommend all of Neil Gaimon's books that he wrote by himself (Ill Omens was co-authored and trying too hard to be Douglass Adams for my tastes). Great stories all. Anansi's Boys was (compared to some of the tomes I've been reading) a quick read that was highly enjoyable.

Sadly I expect that this run of great books will not last forever, but its reminded me that great authors tend to write great stuff.

[Reply]

I am 250 pages into volume 2 of the BAROQUE CYCLE and am enjoying it very much.

I believe that Doris Kearns Goodwin's new book on Lincoln, TEAM OF RIVALS, is currently wrapped under the tree, at least I hope it is!!

After those, I have a couple of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin books to dive back into.

Comment by steve (12/15/2006 15:55)

[Reply]

For something from the non-fiction rack I recommend, "The World is Flat" by Bethesda's own Tom Friedman. For fiction reading almost anything by Tom Robbins is nothing like anything else.

Comment by Armchair quarterback (12/15/2006 15:55)

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