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Tag Archives: books

Zoran Živković: Seven Touches of Music

I have a list I keep in my head of things (books, musical artists, etc.) that I should love, based on the other things I like, but don’t do it for me. In some ways it’s more interesting than the opposite list, of things that you’d never think that you’d like but you love. The […]

Steven Erikson: Deadhouse Gates

The second volume of the ten-book epic fantasy series The Malazan Book of the Fallen, which was begun with Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates is regarded by many fans (though not me) as the best of the bunch. It’s true for sure that you can see Erikson hit his stride here in a way […]

Andrew Crumey: Sputnik Caledonia

I discovered Andrew Crumey a while ago through his awesome novel Pfitz, about which all I really remember now is that there are lots of neat fictional-worlds-within-worlds tricks. I also really liked his next, similar, novel, D’Alembert’s Principle, and his first, more conventional, novel, Music in a Foreign Language. Some part of the appeal additionally […]

Steven Erikson: Gardens of the Moon

Steven Erikson’s epic fantasy series The Malazan Book of the Fallen is about the most ambitious writing project I can think of short of Henry Darger. It’s not just the number of words in the thing, which is immense enough already (each of the ten books is a doorstop), but also the scale of the […]

China Miéville: Kraken

Number two in my package of books from As I mentioned before, I love some but not all of Miéville’s books, and this one looked enough like it was right up my alley that I was sufficiently excited to order it from England before the US release date. And… it was pretty good. My […]

David Mitchell: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

I first encountered David Mitchell through his debut “novel” Ghostwritten, an intricately linked collection of short stories that really tickled my structural fancy. Of course, he is now mostly known for Cloud Atlas, another linked set of stories that span from centuries in the past to millennia in the future with impressive facility. In between […]

Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall

This novel takes the all-too-familiar career of Thomas Cromwell and turns it inside out, revealing an unexpectedly thoughtful and empathetic character. What’s that, you’re not familiar at all with the career of Thomas Cromwell? Well, neither was I, and I suspect that that made my reading of it much different from the intended one, as […]

Sergio de la Pava: A Naked Singularity

A couple of months ago I got a random email saying (paraphrased) “Love your Infinite Jest notes, love your blog, can I send you a free copy of this novel that appeals to a lot of the people who like Infinite Jest?” I looked it up and saw that it was self-published, which is not […]

Richard Taruskin: The Oxford History of Western Music, volume 1

One of my 2010 projects is to read this 4000 page, 5 volume history of Western classical music. It got outstanding reviews when it was published in 2005, and last year it was released as a reasonably-priced set of paperbacks, and when I finally got to browse them in the bookstore I was impressed enough […]

Michal Ajvaz: The Other City

This is a short Czech novel from 1993 that just got translated into English last year and showed up on lots of SF/weird readers’ 2009 best-of lists. The genre is magic realism, which is to say highly-literate fantasy that takes place in the real world. The narrator (I don’t think he ever gets a name) […]