A couple of ten-second book reviews
So, to try to get back to the ancestral social homeland of LJ, I'm going to try to post at least short reviews of books I've read. I (and Elizabeth, and Sarah) have sheets up on the wall where we write down all the books we read over the course of a year. My personal goal this year isn't so much *number* as *variety* -- I have a habit of picking up books I've already read and re-reading them, which is a fine and comforting activity, but if I'm not careful it means that I can go weeks or months without reading anything new. So, I'm making it a point to read (mostly) books I've never read before, and also to try to sample new authors now and again.
To that end, I recently picked up _The Maltese Falcon_, by Dashiell Hammett, from the Montclair library. It is, of course, a classic of the hard-boiled detective genre, written by one of its founders. And I liked it well enough, though I didn't find myself with any overwhelming desire to devour everything that Hammett has ever written. The characters, because they were gritty and realistic (or, at least, realistic in the view of a pessimist), were largely not terribly likeable. Sam Spade is sort of an asshole, honestly. But, all in all, I don't regret reading the book -- though I confess that I was really hoping that Sam Spade was going to be a lot more like Tracer Bullet from the Calvin and Hobbes comics. Well, I'd still like to read some of Raymond Chandler's work -- maybe he went in more for the over-the-top stuff.
I just finished _REAMDE_, by Neal Stephenson. I like Stephenson a lot -- among my favorite books are _Snow Crash_ and _Cryptonomicon_ (and some day I hope to tunnel my way through his "Baroque Cycle" novels). _REAMDE_ was ... meh. It had some interesting ideas sprinkled through it, but ... SPOILER ALERT (TO END OF PARAGRAPH) ... he inexplicably, around page 300, decided to do his best Tom Clancy impression, and a book that I thought was going to be about weird psycho-social events in a huge online RPG wound up being a book about terrorists and the very-carefully-described weapons and equipment they use. Which I guess is fine if you like that sort of thing, but I had no special use for it.
I finished the book (which is over 1,000 pages long) mainly because I wanted to find out what happened to the main characters, and in the end I didn't think it was worth the trip.
Next up on the reading list: _The Apocalypse Codex_ by Charles Stross, which I've only just started.