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Tag Archives: books

Go problem books

I haven’t had much to write about books lately, for a couple of main reasons: I’m trying to get all the way through Taruskin’s Oxford History of Western Music in 2010, which is close to 4000 pages long, and I got sucked back into the game of Go (I’m using the Korean word, baduk, for […]

Jeff VanderMeer: Finch

After finishing Shriek: An Afterword, I dove right into VanderMeer’s third Ambergris book, Finch. This is in yet another style — it’s a hard-boiled detective novel set in a dystopian future a hundred years after the events of the last book. It’s pretty cool how willing he is to play around with many different styles […]

Jeff VanderMeer: Shriek: An Afterword

Jeff VanderMeer’s City of Saints and Madmen is one of my favorite books, a collection of stories and other strange forms (one item is a fictional bibliography, another is a medical report, another is written entirely in code) all set in the fantastic fictional city of Ambergris, built over the caverns of mysterious underground-dwelling mushroom […]

Brian Aldiss: Helliconia Spring

The idea is cool: the planet of the title orbits one star, which orbits another star in a very eccentric ellipse. So the planet, in addition to regular yearly seasons, has a thousands-of-years Long Season during which it goes from ice age to constant summer and back; and civilization never quite rises high enough during […]

Guy Gavriel Kay: Tigana

I read Tigana ten years ago, and mostly liked it a lot. It’s a one-volume novel set in sort of a fantasy (i.e., there’s magic) medieval Italy. The writing is good and the plot is interesting. That said, I liked it less this time around, and this reread pretty much did away with my enthusiasm […]

Brad Leithauser: Hence

I picked this up probably a decade ago, because it was a novel about computer chess with some promising blurbs, but never got around to it until now. It was written in 1989, 8 years before Deep Blue beat Kasparov, and takes place in 1993, at which point the fictional best computer chess program in […]

Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene

After reading Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale, I was all excited to read about some more specific topics in evolutionary theory. His The Selfish Gene was the obvious next step. The fundamental idea is a great one, although of course less revolutionary now than I guess it was in the 1970s when it was published: rather […]

Stephen King: It

I can’t handle scary movies at all, but for some reason scary books are generally fine. This is the third Stephen King novel I’ve read, after The Shining and The Stand, which seems to cover most people’s top two King novels in some permutation. It is immense, at 1100 pages, although that works out to […]

Daniel Abraham: An Autumn War

This is book three of the Long Price fantasy tetralogy (I reviewed the first two here), and as much as I liked the first two, this is the best one yet. The stakes have risen even higher (as you might guess from the title) but the real interest lies not in the titular war but […]

Ian MacDonald: Revolution in the Head

Revolution in the Head is one of the most highly regarded critical books about the Beatles, and the Beatles have been in my mind a lot recently, having just written a game about them. My main interest regarding the Beatles is in their music itself, and in that respect the finest books that I have […]