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Nov. 4th, 2004

I've been quite pleased with what I've been reading in the last couple of weeks. I don't always choose well, and I re-read enough that I often am not seeing a lot of new ideas. However, I've recently finished no less than four books that I find worth mentioning. No spoilers, or at least not more than a jacket flap would give.

Incubus Dreams, Laurell K. Hamilton This is the latest in the Anita Blake series, which I had thought was suffering from too-many-sequel-itis, where the author keeps writing increasingly awful sequels just because people keep buying them. I keep reading them because Anita's commentary on her own life, both aloud and internal, still has some wonderfully amusing moments. I was very pleasantly surprised by Incubus Dreams, however. The implausibility didn't ramp up much further, and neither (in my opinion) did the power levels. Meanwhile, there was some actual character development in the supporting cast. There wasn't much overall plot, of course, but on the other hand, I think the entire book fits within about 72 hours. Even for Anita, there's a limit to how many events can transpire in such a short period.

Now, as expected, there's a hell of a lot of sex, and it continues to get farther away from "normal". I won't bring these books to work, or in fact out in public somewhere, and I was even a little embarrassed to be reading this one in a roomful of friends who'd read it already. But, again, I'm finding it more believable in this book than in the previous ones. And if I'm going to be reading sex scenes, this is both better sex and a more interesting overall premise than the typical romance novel.

Going Postal, Terry Pratchett I honestly wasn't very impressed by Terry Pratchett and Discworld for a long time. They were worth reading, and funny, but I never thought they were nearly as good as some of my friends seemed to feel. The most recent three or four books, however, have been really good books in their own right. Going Postal, as might be expected, takes on the Ankh-Morpork postal service. There are cameos by some of the established characters, of course, but it really stands on its own. Very good, but also very difficult to talk about without spoilers, so I'll leave it there.

A Creed for the Third Millennium, Colleen McCullough This one was a re-read, but I hadn't read it in at least five years if not more. Colleen McCullough is my other favorite author, and was my favorite before I discovered Bujold. She's best known for The Thorn Birds, and most of her recent work has been historical fiction. Creed isn't recent, however; it was published in 1986.

It's set perhaps 35 or 40 years from now, in a United States where abrupt global climate change has forced a great deal of internal change. The population as a whole is suffering from low morale, negativity, and depression. The government conducts a search for a man (or woman) with charisma, to become a leader to improve the psychological climate. They find a man with a message of his own, of hope and of faith. The remainder of the story, and the bulk of it, follows the two parallel but separate purposes, and their effects on the man and his family.

It isn't an easy read, at all. If someone wants to find out why I like McCullough, I'd recommend starting with almost anything else she's written. I think it would also be particularly difficult for anyone struggling with their own faith, although perhaps valuable at least for those who remain within the Judeo-Christian background. It isn't preachy, and it isn't trying to convert anyone to anything, and in fact the message within the story is explicitly non-denominational.

I didn't consciously pick it up for this, but it dovetails rather well with some of what I had to say yesterday about the current political situation, and about Obama. I do feel that there exists a need for a message of hope, although perhaps not the one from this book.

The fourth book, I'm intentionally omitting the name. It's non-fiction, on ethical relationships, and it came highly recommended from several sources. I don't think I really learned anything new from it, between my own experiences and choices, and what I've read or observed elsewhere, but it was reassuring to have some of my thoughts affirmed by complete strangers. Parts were also somewhat timely, but then again, that's why I finished it now.

Next up: Artemis Fowl

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Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
amy_pearlman
Nov. 4th, 2004 05:48 pm (UTC)
Can I borrow some Colleen McCullough
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:08 pm (UTC)
Certainly.

Am I coming down this weekend? I'll bring a stack and you can pick what you want.
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:12 pm (UTC)
further qualified: if what you want is the first of the Masters of Rome series, you can have that sooner, because it's at demongrey's apartment.
amy_pearlman
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:34 pm (UTC)
And I'm going there when?
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:50 pm (UTC)
Depends on how much you want the book, doesn't it? *grin*
amy_pearlman
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC)
True. Have keys. But he's not home, so it might be rude.
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:54 pm (UTC)
I have a comment to that, but it probably doesn't belong in public. But reference last night's conversation. ;-)
amy_pearlman
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:55 pm (UTC)
Since I can't guess, you'd better e-mail.
amy_pearlman
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:34 pm (UTC)
I dunno, are you coming down?
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:50 pm (UTC)
If you want me.
amy_pearlman
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:54 pm (UTC)
Sure.

*thinks about what weekend plans are....*

Don't think we have any. BF is gaming Sat, but I don't care. Sunday we may try to get together with Clan Driks along with Demongrey and Muse...I can never remember her whole LJ name.

Oh. Wait. Saturday I (just me, not BF) may have to go to New Hope with the MIL for a while. If you can survive it, I'd LOVE the company.
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, God, tell me you can't get Buddhas in New Hope...

It's amazing what I can survive when I'm in the right mood for it.
amy_pearlman
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:59 pm (UTC)
No buddhas.

She needs to return some earrings and wants to shop a little. Might actually be kinda fun.
ourika
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:18 pm (UTC)
That was the one I was thinking of reading! (not borrowing, but reading :-)
(Deleted comment)
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:09 pm (UTC)
*nod* I borrowed the first two from crifmer.
(Deleted comment)
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:19 pm (UTC)
Say it like that, and you may not get what you want...
(Deleted comment)
collacentaur
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC)
Him, me, most of your friends...

and there's something about the fowl reading that makes me think notjustcamilla should be getting involved.
(Deleted comment)
daernhelm
Nov. 5th, 2004 06:03 pm (UTC)
"... thats what this day will someday be, life goes on, love goes free."
I've sworn off Hamilton. And even with the review from Colla I am not sure I will read any of her work again.

I also agree on the Pratchett. Nightwatch was probably the best book he has written, in my opinion bar none. Monsterous Regiment was good. Not yet had a chance to dip into going postal. But when you're done with it I'd love to borrow. it.

Ah McCullough... My western Civ professor mentioned the Masters of Rome series as excellently researched and a good read and recommended it to the entire class. It was wonderful, when he and I went of on a tangent for 10 minutes discussing it... I told him it was above three books now... closer to 6 correct? So Colla should I attempt this one?

collacentaur
Nov. 5th, 2004 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: "... thats what this day will someday be, life goes on, love goes free."
Six books, as originally planned, and complete.

As for whether you should read Creed - up to you. I think you'd get a lot out of it. But, as I say, a difficult read.
collacentaur
Nov. 5th, 2004 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, and re: the music - do you still have my tapes of Aspects of Love? I was looking for them last night, and I have this feeling I never asked for them back.
daernhelm
Nov. 6th, 2004 03:41 am (UTC)
I am 99-100% sure I returned them... however when I get back to PA I'll check. If I didn't you are welcome to burn copies of the CD's from me. Or I can rip them for you and send you the mp3s.
leftsphenoid
Nov. 6th, 2004 06:15 am (UTC)
didja finish the book on hell?
collacentaur
Nov. 6th, 2004 10:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, some time back. WonderBoy has it back.
leftsphenoid
Nov. 7th, 2004 02:18 am (UTC)
guess i'll have to bug him for it then :)
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )