Recently Read, Prose (7/9/12)

The joy of a week with a day off in the middle is that you can get a lot more reading done, it seems; I’m as surprised as you are that I managed to get through all of the above in such a short time, but there you go (Then again, considering I ripped through G. Willow Wilson’s wonderful Alif The Unseen in about five hours yesterday, completely sucked in and wanting to find out what happened next, maybe it’s not so surprising; it’s a very good book, by the way. I said to Kate that it’s maybe a little too ambitious for its own good, but goddamn if that ambition doesn’t make it compelling stuff).

Both Time and Chance and What Becomes were, in their own ways, disappointments. I remember loving AL Kennedy’s fiction years ago, when I lived in Scotland, but either my tastes or her writing have changed, and this book of short stories left me unmoved and frustrated by the weight of her prose. The Brennert, meanwhile, ended up annoying me; the book, in theory, gives two different versions of the same man a chance to take the road less taken for a short while, but it felt so weirdly biased in the direction of one of those versions that I couldn’t take it seriously after awhile.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was also kind of disappointing; Jenny Lawson’s blog is hilarious, but she tries to keep up the same intensity in this memoir, and it’s exhausting – Blogging and longer-form prose are different beasts, and I found myself wishing that her editor had pushed her to slow down, and to try and come up with something less in-your-face more often, if only for variety’s sake.

Both Four Letter Word and Otherwise Known As The Human Condition were enjoyable enough; the former fell prey to the anthology problem of only being as entertaining as the participant you’re reading, as the conceit (fictional love letters) wasn’t exactly strong enough to overwhelm what might’ve otherwise felt unfinished, and the latter is something I read as much through curiosity of wanting to read more culture essays because of my Time gig than anything else, although it ended up making me want to read even more of them, which is some kind of victory.

And so, then, to the old favorites. I’ve reached the point in Rucka’s Kodiak novels where I lost interest/enjoyment the first time through (Patriot Acts, not Shooting at Midnight), but at least this time I know why – I’ll save that for a post about the series when I finish The Walking Dead, though – and the Star Trek novel was as entertaining as I wanted/needed it to be, which is damning with faint praise far more than it deserves; of all the Trek I’ve been reading lately, the Deep Space Nine cycle is the most interesting, and the most well-written, by some distance.

Recently Read, Prose (6/22/12)

Apparently, I take more time to read good books than trashy books; the Rucka novels took a few days each – part of that, though, was also that the start of the week is heavier workwise and leaves me with less time to read – but the Star Trek book I ripped through in a couple of evenings despite it being longer than either Finder or Smoker. Go figure.

I will, at some point, write something about the trilogy of Keeper, Finder and Smoker; re-reading them this time, one right after the other, I realized that there’s a really clear narrative arc in the three books that I hadn’t realized before, with Rucka playing with expectations in the last of the three after shaping them in the first two – Plus, I had forgotten about Erika, one of the Kodiak series’ main characters, almost entirely until this re-read, and now I’m weirdly obsessed with her. So, when I have more time and/or brainspace, that’ll happen for sure.

The Trek book was… eh, pretty crappy, really; I would’ve given up more than once, but had nothing else to read and saw it through to an end that was, indeed, bitter. Normally, Peter David’s Trek books have more pace and humor to them, but this was a leaden, self-important thing that trudged on and made the reader earn every chapter up until the last third or so.