Too Many Books
Today I have been enjoying “So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance” by Gabriel Zaid, a tiny and beautifully typeset book about books.
“Books are published at such a rapid rate that they make us exponentially more ignorant. If a person read a book a day, he would be neglecting to read four thousand others, published the same day. In other words, the books he didn’t read would pile up four thousand times faster than the books he did read, and his ignorance would grow four thousand times faster than his knowledge.”
Playful bullshit, still better than what usually passes for an essay! I’m so pleased.
My reading list lately:
* Beverly Cleary’s early autobiography. (Good!)
* The Annihilation of Caste by B.R. Ambedkar, which had a “preface” which was really another entire (great) book, by Arundhati Roy. I loved her preface so much.
* Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, a tantalizingly fabulous science fiction novella
* The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems by the entirely adorable Henry Petroski (Don’t start here with him, start with The Evolution of Useful Things if you don’t want to drill 900 pages into pencils or bookshelves; otherwise, if you are hard core, read the Pencil book or the book on Bookshelves) I really can’t gush enough about his books but you have to be that kind of person who will read a 900 age book about the design of pencils through history and make everyone around you listen to you talk about it.
* Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin; geologist magicians and terrible catastrophe, well worth a read, violent and intense so be warned. Mindblowingly awesome.
* Court of Fives by Kate Elliott. Kind of Hunger Gamesy but not so pandering and silly. Fun. Fight against patriarchy by your forbidden engagement in weird, dangerous, ritual, extreme sport! Weird death magic!
* Sorceror to the Crown by Zen Cho; magic in alternate London, fluffy and fun (but not embarrassingly bad like Carriger)
* All 5 of the Gail Carriger Soulless series (Ridiculous fluff; book 4 was the best)
* The Dandelion Cottage books, a girls’ series from 1905 (So racist and classist, and so interesting of a package)
* Ancillary Mercy, which grows on me though it’s not what I thought it would be. I have analysis! It is not a repeat of books 1 or 2 in the series. It
* The Maker’s Mask books by Ankaret Wells (SF lost colony of manners, with giant raptors and replicators)
* Nigerians in Space, which was excellent and also not what I thought it would be (in much the same ways as it wasn’t what the characters thought it would be)
* The entire Steerswoman series because I thought there were bits where Ankaret Wells paid homage and then I just wanted it for comfort value. It holds up to re-reading beautifully. If you like adventuring scientist librarian archivists with swords (and satellites)…. read this.
* Burmese Days by George Orwell. You can just keep reading more George Orwell infinitely over your lifespan, and keep concluding about what an asshole he is, but kind of an interesting angsty asshole. But this book is not to be bothered with unless you have just read all of Amitav Ghosh’s books, which I just did a couple of months ago, in which case, go for it
* The Sand and Beacon books by Hugh Howey, which are like the rest of his books,
* Dragon’s Eye by Joel Champetier (translated to English) A good interstellar spy novel.
* The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (I read her bio of her uncles and loved it, then was scared to read her fiction in case it didn’t live up; I like Novalis or did when I was like 14; I could imagine so many ways it could be a book I would want to throw across the room — and it is really a great book, don’t be scared!)
I think that reaches back into August. This list is from the list of things read recently that I recommend to people (depending on what they like).
Can’t remember if I already said this several months ago but, just go read all of Cixin Liu’s short fiction that’s translated to English. It doesn’t matter what you like to read — it’s that likeable and cool. Note to self: come up with suggested reading order for his short fiction. Oh, no, I guess I’ll have to read them all again and take notes. Noooooooooooo, help!
Cute photo, not of books, but of some friends at a party this weekend. I went to a party! In the night time! Rare event. pHoto description: some people on a couch making faces and sticking out their tongues. Some details: cute overalls, arm warmers, dyed hair, glasses of wine.