Tag Archives: books

Misc entertainment update

Going to see if I can’t get back in the habit of small updates rather than waiting for big epic weekends full of stuff to write about.

Aside from an unhealthy obsession with the news, which I don’t really feel I can be blamed for at the moment, I have managed to lift my eyes up from Twitter long enough to peek at a few other things.

I’ve started reading the Discworld series from the start, after having jumped around the canon over the years, I swear I had read The Colour of Magic before and found it middling but have no memory of any of the plot and rather enjoyed it. The Light Fantastic already shows his writing getting stronger imho and has hints at the end of those emotional blows he can land. Lots to go.

Taking a short break from that to finish the second of the Southern Reach trilogy. It’s good, though maybe not quite as fascinating as the first book. Part of that is on me for having read it in fits and bursts, eeriness doesn’t stand up well to distracted reading habits I suspect.

Visually John and I have been speeding through Steven Universe, which aside from being marvelous is the perfect length to squeeze in here and there when schedules are tight. We’ve just begun season two and the plot is getting thicker and deeper. The DCU (DCTVU?… okay Arrowverse I gueeess) is also continuing to entertain; Supergirl, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow-the last of which is exactly as fun as it should be and even more so in season 2 if you ask me. Is it nonsense? I guess, maybe-in the same way some of the best comic books are… and it addresses race in a time travel context more directly than any other show I can recall (aside maybe from Quantum Leap but well, that’s a whole other discussion). Only tangentially related to genre, we also have Boston Legal in the rotation for some good Spader/Shatner bonding. Which reminds me, I really do need to go back and watch everything James Spader ever did, because damn he’s good.

 

Finished Moby Dick, and really enjoyed it.

Like most of the modern reviewers I’ve MalagaPhotos 116seen, I was surprised first of all by the humour, particularly in the first part of the book. And not just the humour, but also the easygoing and charming tone of the narrator. One of the other things I found charming is just how little the book cares about most of what we consider obvious rules of novel writing. Possibly some of that is the style of the time, I’m no expert, but you get the feeling that Melville doesn’t give a rat’s ass, he is writing exactly the book he wants to write and if that means switching viewpoints suddenly after hundreds of pages of a single narrator, or taking what is essentially a 200 page novella and inserting a 400 page book of mini-essays on whales and whaling in the middle, well so be it.

But the thing that surprised me the most is how sftnal it felt to me. Being steeped in genre makes me see it everywhere I suppose, but two thirds of this book is essentially HUGE infodumps. But they’re lovingly written, by an author who could probably write three more volumes on whaling and whales. I couldn’t help but think of a Neal Stephenson book, or the KSR Mars Trilogy. Melville gives you an outsider narrator in an essentially alien world who then describes it to an audience that he expects will know nothing about it. It is fascinating (for the most part, I admit I skimmed the last 50 pages or so of the middle) and sometimes just beautiful.