Recent reading and viewing recommendations

The Hydrogen Sonata, a science fiction novel by Iain M. Banks, was a long but good read. Infused with Banks’ theme (in all the novels of his I have read so far) of loneliness and, well I have to say it, elementariness, the plot is structured around a good old political thriller, the routinization of the “singularity,” and the quirky “comedy of manners” of the AI ships that are at the apex of Banks imagined interstellar civilization, the Culture.

On a long drive back from Los Angeles to San Jose, I listened on The New Yorker fiction podcast to reading of wonderful Margaret Atwood story- Stone Mattress.  And a story by Sheila Heti- My life Is a Joke, a complex meta-story that I definitely would encourage any good reader to try! And Tessa Hadley, The Surrogate, a lovely story about sex and writing fiction.

Also read Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich, a standard thriller that got attention because of its location in the hills of Georgia and biker bars of Jacksonville. All the standard tropes. Meh.

On Netflix, a four-episode British political detective story, Collateral, was very good. Written by David Hare, so the dialogue and plot is jacked up to level A. Carey Mulligan stars and is very good. There was room for about two more episodes of character exploration, though.

Also on Netflix, I started Gentlemen & Gangsters, a Swedish love story-drama-thriller four episode movie series. The cinematography and sensibility right up my alley. Especially since I just chose it at random and within 2 minutes I was like, “wow this is different.” But having a hard time wanting to finish it up.


About mkevane

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