February 12, 2010

Add it to the pile

I haven't made a new post about books in about 3 months, when I reviewed the most recent Wheel of Tedium book. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it, and it really turned my opinion about one of the characters around that I had previously lumped in with some of the shrill harpies that populate this series. Anyway, it was enough to get me to reread them, which meant I had to go out and re-buy them as I had sold my original copies off after the author passed away a few years ago (the series has been passed on to another author, with Jordan's blessing). Our B+N had the first 6 books, so I bought them and I'm most of the way through book 5.

While out on our quasi-Valentine's date today, we stopped by the B+N on the other side of town which had the rest of them and I grabbed the rest of them...but after about 5 minutes I changed my mind and put them back. I've got a big backlog of books that I've been meaning to read, and I did resolve to make a little more effort to read new stuff rather than re-reading things that I've read many times before (but very much enjoy). In the past 3 months I've read those 5 Jordan books and re-read the excellent Tawny Man trilogy (the last book of which is my sentimental favorite for best fantasy novel). But, here's what I have piled up to read:

  • The rest of Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • The rest of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball
  • The rest of Simmons's The Book of Basketball
  • Bryson's I'm a Stranger Here Myself
  • Bryson's Notes From a Small Island
  • Bryson's The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid (You can tell I'm a big Bryson fan)
  • #17 on the KLAW 101 Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
  • Klaw 101 #15, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
  • Klaw 101 #42 Brideshead Revisited
  • Marvin Miller biopic A whole different ballgame
  • Joe Posnanski's excellent The Soul Of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America
  • Posnanski's The Machine
  • The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers
  • The new BP Annual
  • The Hardball Times Annual
  • The 2010 Cubs 'Anal', with 2 articles by Shawn

I picked up Wind-Up Bird Chronicle after putting the WoT books back. A skim of the back cover makes it seem like it's pretty cool. Not that I agree with Klaw on his rankings in general - I was not a fan at all of his #1, The Master and Margarita, and my wife (who I view as a good authority on this) thinks that Emma, his #3, isn't nearly as good as the other two Austen books (P+P and Persuasion) on the list and isn't as good as one (Sense and Sensibility) that didn't make the cut. A curious selection. He also has Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in there, both of which I despised in high school. He does score huge points for including Lonesome Dove though (at 98),

Anyway, I have my work cut out for me. I'm going to finish reading through WoT #6 and then get back to work on these things...


doviejay said...

Yes. Emma sucks.

Jeff Liu said...

I've read several of Brandon Sanderon's novels and liked all of them. The Mistborn trilogy is the best of them.

The people I know who like Hobb also like Elizabeth Haydon's Rhapsody trilogy.

(baturkey from LOHO and ACB)

Berselius said...

Cool, thanks for the recs. Have you read any Hobb? I loved the Fitz-verse books but did not enjoy what I read of the newer trilogy (Soldier Son, I think). I saw that she's writing more books back in the Fitz-verse but haven't picked them up yet.

Martin's Song of Ice and Fire is fantastic too

Jeff Liu said...

Yes, I've read everything she's written as Robin Hobb, and have been meaning to check out what she's written as Megan Lindholm. I liked the Assassin's Trilogy the best.

I'm looking forward to the next Ice and Fire book if it ever comes out.

Berselius said...

We won't have the same luck with Ice and Fire as with Wheel of Time. I went to a Martin Q&A and booksigning for Feast for Crows and someone asked him what happens if he dies before finishing the books. He said we're shit out of luck if that happens.

Keith Law said...

For what it's worth, lit professor Daniel Burt had Emma as the top Austen novel on his ranking of the greatest novels of all time, The Novel 100. P&P was below it, and Persuasion made the honorable mentions list.

Emma was Austen's only real experiment with a flawed protagonist, and thus her only book where the protagonist really develops as a character. It's also a more developed plot, perhaps simply a function of being twice the length of her three shorter novels, and for my money was the funniest of her books.

Berselius said...

Thanks for stopping by, Keith.

I've only read P+P but I'm sure I will eventually read the rest of Austen's novels. Come to think of it, I'm surprised I haven't already. However, my impression (wrong or otherwise) is that Emma herself is not a character I would like, even if she does develop as the book progresses. I have a hard time making it through books where I don't like the main character.

More things to add to the list...

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