January 26, 2003

Enchanted Forest 1: Dealing With Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede

Very charming and delightful. I love books that take on fairy tales with a feminist sensibility, and this is a very good example of that genre. The writing style is reminiscent of Mary Anne's at times, or perhaps vice-versa.

As an aside, if I were the author, I'd want the head of whoever wrote the cover blurb on the edition I borrowed. It's an entirely inaccurate misrepresentation of what's inside.

Posted by Shmuel at 1:08 AM

January 23, 2003

Amber 4: The Hand of Oberon, by Roger Zelazny

Then again, this is Zelazny we're talking about; his modus operandi is to keep information from the reader at the outset, revealing important pieces of the puzzle only at the end, so that the reader can then go back to the start and see what had been going on in the first place. I think five books may have been too much space to allow him, frankly, but I'll reserve my judgment until I get my hands on Book 5. As for this installment, things are finally coming together. The revelation at the end was visible a mile away, but I'll take that as having been intentional.

Posted by Shmuel at 1:05 AM

January 22, 2003

Amber 3: Sign of the Unicorn, by Roger Zelazny

I begin to tire of the dei ex machina (Elaine? Is that the right plural?), but otherwise Amber Book 3 ain't bad.

Posted by Shmuel at 1:05 AM

January 21, 2003

Amber 2: The Guns of Avalon, by Roger Zelazny

The second book of the Amber series, which I'm finally getting around to reading only now, despite having been a Zelazny fan for years. A bit episodic and verging on overwrought, but good.

Posted by Shmuel at 1:00 AM

January 19, 2003

Space Cadet, by Robert Heinlein

Written in 1948 and clearly targeted at young boys, this book hasn't aged very well, but it has historical interest, akin to the sort one feels when reading a "Dick and Jane" book. How quaint! How charming! How simple and Utopic! And how vaguely creepy...

Posted by Shmuel at 12:59 AM

January 14, 2003

Young Wizards 5: The Wizard's Dilemma, by Diane Duane

I have a few minor quibbles (Duane tends to redefine the rules in every book, which comes across as owing more to expedience than reflecting a more sophisticated outlook), and one major one that might not be a problem at all, if it's addressed in Book 6. (A major plotline from the first half of the book is abruptly dropped, with no payoff of any sort.) But all of that aside, this was a good installment of a good series, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

Posted by Shmuel at 12:59 AM

January 12, 2003

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

A bit dated -- one gets the sense that the author is trying to make points about African and European culture that are no longer controversial -- but a fairly important book, and not a bad read.

Posted by Shmuel at 12:58 AM

January 7, 2003

Syrup, by Maxx Barry

A fun, light read, more than a little trashy, with flashes of wit. Not very substantial, but a nice diversion for the start of this trip.

Posted by Shmuel at 12:58 AM