Recent light reading

Slade House, by David Mitchell. A haunted house horror story, sort of. More interesting as a technical challenge: create a vivid character and virtual reality, one for each decade, from 1970 to present.  In some ways Dorian Gray, and the same disappointment at the end… really, he stabs the picture and thus stabs himself?  “I’m melting, I’m melting, What a world!”  Worth a couple nights of reading, not more.

The Leftovers, by Tom Perrotta.  Pure pleasure for a mid-50-year old parent.  It is like reading a friend’s well-written novel: I immediately know all the references, and all the adult characters are people just like me.  I rarely enjoy reading those kinds of novels though (well, I liked The Marriage Plot) and so Perrotta’s plot device of a quasi-Rapture was brilliant.  The apple cart is upset just enough that anything is possible.

Air, by Geoff Ryman.  The first half is a great science fiction novel.  But the second half cannot keep the momentum going (partly because Ryman nicely makes just what Air is hazy for the first half, but then increasingly gets downright mystical in the second half, and it does not work within the realism of a sci-fi novel).  And the village flood is in many ways too prosaic and too drawn out as a plot device.

A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge.  Now the third time I have read this.  I just think it is the perfect science fiction novel.  How can you not like Sherkaner Underhill?

Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel.  Could not resist reading this again over a couple of days. Much better than the first read.  I paid more attention to her writing and style, which is quite interesting. James Wood review worth reading again, too.


About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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