Category archives: Books

Catching up

by Dec. 15, 2010 in Books

Wow, it has certainly been a long time since I posted! In case you were curious, I did successfully complete NaNoWriMo again this year. I'm currently in the processing of editing A Selective History of Max Werner, and hopefully I'll be able to share more about that in the coming months. If you would like to be involved in helping me edit it, just leave a comment below.

I've continued to read, despite my lack of activity here, though at a reduced rate. Still, I have plenty of material for posts, and I'll put the most interesting stuff up soon. I'd like this post, however, to be less about catching you up with what I've been doing, but you catching me up on what you've been reading. What's the best thing you've read in the last few months? What blog posts did I miss that I need to check out? The books section of my google reader currently looks like this:

And I simply know I won't get around to reading all of those. So I leave it up to you to point me in the right direction.

NaNoWriMo 2010

by Oct. 29, 2010 in Books

This may come as something of a shock, but with my participation in NaNoWriMo next month, I won't have the time, or energy, to post about the books I've been reading. Considering how little I've been posting recently, it's possible that means I will actually have to go back and delete posts in order to post even less than I currently am. Originally my plan was to put together a selection of posts, and give them a publish date so that things would not be entirely dead around here during the month of November. However, it ...

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Across the Nightingale Floor

by Sept. 23, 2010 in Books, Fantasy, Recommended

One of the things I love about reading is being able to draw connections between the story I just finished and a conversation I'm having with a friend, or some other book I just read, no matter how different the two may seem. Whether it's Tufte's Visual Display of Quantitative Information and getting people to go to church, or the asides of Don Quixote and the Tale of Genji, it's all connected. Or, as Thomas Foster says in How to Read LIterature like a Professor, it's all one story:

"We – as readers or writers, tellers ...

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Pleasantly Unpleasant?

by Sept. 13, 2010 in Books

In A Preface to Paradise Lost, C.S. Lewis mentions how the character of Satan can be appreciated as a well-developed and fascinating character while also being thoroughly reviled by the reader. One does not have to actually like Satan to enjoy the skill with which Milton renders him. This started me thinking - do I actually enjoy when something unpleasant is rendered with disturbing accuracy? Do you?

There have been a few books I've read recently that contained successfully developed unpleasantness. First, Blindness by Jose Sarmago consists almost exclusively of the depravity of the human character once any sense ...

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Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories

by Aug. 23, 2010 in Books, Recommended, Science Fiction

I've never felt the need to defend the enjoyment I get out of reading science fiction or fantasy novels. As a result, though, I've never really considered what it is about these types of books that interests me so much. Fortunately, C.S. Lewis has, and in this collection of essays, he perfectly articulates why such stories are worth reading, writing, and discussing.

It's not worth summarizing each of the essays here (they are so efficiently executed that it's hard to trim anything out in summary), but there are a few points that Lewis makes that ...

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Canvas or: the One That I Wrote

by Aug. 17, 2010 in Books, Fiction

Last November I participated in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short). I've always wanted to write a novel, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The core concept of NaNoWriMo is that, while there is a time for careful writing and editing, there is also a time for boundless creativity. NaNoWriMo is all about output; quantity is emphasized over quality, and it has to be if you are going to finish a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days.

It was crazy, but fun, and at the end of 30 days, I had a novel that ...

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The Handmaid's Tale

by Aug. 14, 2010 in Books, Recommended, Science Fiction

Wow, it's been so long since I last posted that you're probably thinking I decided to read The Tale of Genji all over again. I did not, though, so I promise that's the last reference to the length of Genji that I'll make (in this post). No, the real reason I haven't been posting is due to a combination of being on vacation with no internet, and laziness. I was still reading, however, so let's get to that.

The Handmaid's Tale, sexual pun intended, is set in a futuristic dystopian society and tells ...

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The Tale of Genji

by July 30, 2010 in Books, Fiction, Recommended

If you've been reading this blog recently, you know that I've been reading (and enjoying) The Tale of Genji.  I'll do my best not to reiterate anything I've said already, but that shouldn't be hard considering there are so many great things happening in this book.

First of all, the briefest of synopses.  The Tale of Genji follows 4 generations of individuals in Japan's Imperial court during the late 10th Century (which is also when it was originally written).  Though Genji is the main character, he is not the only one we get to ...

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Tale of Genji - Update 3

by July 27, 2010 in Books, Fiction, Recommended

Yes, you are seeing that picture correctly - I finished reading The Tale of Genji over the weekend.  I'll do a final post, database entry, etc later in the week, but for now I just want to bask in the glory of finishing an epic book.  Now I'm going to spend a week collecting my thoughts and trying to condense a months worth of reading in a few thousand words....

Quick aside - considering the numerous characters, titles, and interconnected relationships in The Tale of Genji, I'm also considering putting together a few tools to help anyone who wants ...

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Tale of Genji - Update 2

by July 21, 2010 in Books, Fiction, Recommended

If you are at all familiar with the Summer of Genji reading schedule, you will probably notice that I'm a little ahead of where I'm supposed to be at this point:

There are two reasons for this.  First of all, I really want to finish before going on vacation in the first week of August.  Bringing a book this big onto a plane simply seems absurd.  Second, though, is that the nature of this book begs for it to be read in huge chunks.  There are so many characters, often identified only through generic, frequently changing titles, that ...

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