Jun. 18th, 2014

cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
I owe the new people I met on the friending meme an intro post, so that will hopefully happen tomorrow. But for now, books!

Books finished:

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

spoilers; TW suicide and rape )

Books abandoned:

Sane New World: Taming the Mind by Ruby Wax

I raced through the first 90 pages during a particularly long session in a waiting room, but when I went to pick it up in bed that night I found I couldn't muster the will. What bothers me is that she veers so much between fact and opinion in a way that sometimes blurs the two - sometimes "millions of years" is used colloquially, other times literally. Often she's candid about something being her opinion, or a generalisation that won't necessarily apply to everybody, but then she'll make a sweeping statement about how none of our ancient ancestors had OCD, which leaves me thinking, "But how can we know that?" I can believe that human mental problems have changed with the social and environmental context in which we find ourselves, but it just makes no sense to bang on about how great neuroscience is and then make assertions you can't back up with it. It made me think I should probably just find a book for a lay audience that is specifically about neuroscience (your recs are welcome).

The Other, Darker Ned by Anne Fine

This is a story about the friendship between a young girl, and the student husband of her blind father's assistant. I like found family, and stories set during lazy, atmospheric summer days (hypocritically, I often enjoy them during actual atmospheric summer days in which I complain about the atmosphere; I was not made for heatwaves), and Anne Fine (one of our best modern children's/YA authors) was a mainstay of my bookshelf in my teens. But this turned out not to have aged well (it was written in 1979, and along with much of her ouvre, Fine has since updated it to reflect a changing society and her own tougher editing skills, a process she writes about interestingly, for adults here and for young readers here). While it's as sharply observed as any of her work, I prefer her more conflict-ridden books, and when Wikipedia confirmed that the success or otherwise of a charity jumble sale is the high dramatic point of the book, I decided to bow out.

Currently reading:

Romanitas by Sophia McDougall

The premise is that the Roman Empire never fell; today the world is (apart from the Independent South of Africa) divided between the Roman, Chinese and Japanese empires. The world map at the beginning of the book is terrifying to behold - vast swathes of the world under Rome's control, and as the cover picture suggests, crucifixion is still a punishment; one's life prospects are still defined by being either a slave or a freeman. So far, I love it - it's extremely well written, with subtle characterisation and inventive takes on the telepathy and healing powers experienced by two kids who are on the run...

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

I adored Fun Home, and recently I got lucky and found a very cheap nearly-new copy of the sequel. Only a few pages in, but so far I love it, and R, who has a better eye for these things than I do, remarks that her style has evolved interestingly since the last book. Me, it just makes me want to draw, as her work always does. What a luxury to have another Alison Bechdel graphic novel ahead of me...

Reading next:

This is a bit of a joke, as since I began doing this meme I've noticed that listing a book here almost guarantees that I will NOT read it next. But for what it's worth, Morrissey's book is still hanging in there (technically I did read a little of it).


cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
"What can the cat-posters hope to gain?"

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