January 9, 2005

On Break: The Gourmet Reading List

I'm tan, relaxed, and getting closer to completely satisfying my pleasure reading urges for the next few months. The completed books for winter break now include:

In a Sunburned Country -- highly recommended for amusement and background on Australia. E and I both read it and laughed out loud on several occasions.

The Golden Age -- decent brain candy, but suffers from the typical science fiction maladies of too many characters who aren't well-enough developed, and a complex world of brilliant ideas but not enough logical connections between those ideas and the plot, such as it is. It's an investment of at least 100 pages to use your imagination to fill in the unexplained blanks of this world. But, now that I've done it, I'll probably finish the series. I like my version of their world.

Night of the Avenging Blowfish -- a gift for the trip (or possibly a loan, not sure) from E's sister. Completely brainless, funny, and in a nice big font. Perfect for beach-reading with a beer.

The Big U -- the first Neal Stephenson book, of which, he was apparently embarrassed. I can't understand why since it's a hilarious parody of academia and university life. In particular, his descriptions and scenes involving ineffective academics and psychadelic students are laugh-out-loud funny. The plot is basically thin, and/or missing, but it's a joke, right? I can only assume he's embarassed because he expected the book to stand as a story, not a parody. Neal, if that's the case, you missed the boat, it's one of the funnier things I've read in a long time as it stands. Sure it's not your current genre, but it's got merit on its own.

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