Tom Jones, Smilla and me.

I’m still reading Tom Jones and my experience reading it has absolutely nothing in common with my experience reading Smilla’s Sense of Snow many years ago except that in both cases I didn’t want to finish the story, I wanted the books to not end.  With Smilla I popped popcorn and would read and I’ll never forget the stew that is almost a major plot point, but of course no recipe was included.

I don’t eat anything when reading Tom Jones, I would choke to death from laughing while eating.


December reading update and conclusion of experiment.

I read 8 books for this month. It wasn’t quite ebook only, but it was close.  I only read two books in print.

In ebooks, I read the “graphic novel” that was the source for the movie Atomic Blonde in ebook.  It was a very thin story and the movie is clearly more of an actual narrative and even makes more sense, minus the action girl aspect.  I also read a YA story called The Green Futures of Tycho, which was similarly thin, but at least had the excuse of being written for preteens.  I read Alt-Hero #5, which continued to be ok for a comic, and thus way better than comics are these days. My last round of ebooks was a trilogy called “The Hidden Truth”, an immensely dorky alt-history technothriller series and one that is quite cute if you’re familiar with 1990s internet culture.

As for print, I read a collection of Robert Louis Stevenson short fiction that included finally reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  What was striking about that novella was that there were, functionally, no women in it at all and that was not at all the context I had from its numerous pop culture permutations.  The other short stories were interesting and very suggestive of where such a talent as Stevenson’s might have gone if his candle hadn’t been snuffed out before age 45.

I also read the first volume of Tom Jones.  I don’t know Latin, so it was slow going having to check the glossary, but 95% of it isn’t Latin and was hilarious.  Anyone who thinks that “feminism” or “birth control” is what makes people act scandalously has clearly skipped reading Tom Jones.  One of the most surreal things about reading Tom Jones is how modern it feels even though massive portions of everyone’s lives are alien to modern sensibilities.  There isn’t much new under the sun, as ever.  Looking forward to knocking out the second half in the new year.

According to my calculations, I read 102 of 100 books this year.  However, I ended up skipping a bunch of planned nonfiction to read “easy” ebooks of authors I’d wanted to get around to reading various books of, so I didn’t really read the 100 books I wanted to.  I don’t know if I’ll set a goal for 2019.  It seems to be inhibitive past 50 books.

Perhaps there’s the rub, never plan more than a book a week and count any extra chances to finish a book as bonus.  Worth a shot.  Happy New Year!



November reading update

I read 7 books for this month.  Another ebook only month, Kindle Unlimited had some good options.

I read Larry Correia’s second high fantasy book, the third is out next year or so.  It was a little thin, but still engaging.  T.W.O. read it too and what jumped out for him as a flaw was the lack of dance.  Dance is deeply important to martial fighters for what are no longer obvious reasons, and it’s usually absent from fantasy fiction involving martial arts these days, and this was, alas, no exception.  I continued in sequels with the latest in a magitek series written very quickly by one of the assortment of modern pulp authors.  It was ok, I’ll probably read a third or fourth.

I also read some more Tanith, short stories and novellas that were easy to check out.  I finally read Cordwainer Smith’s spy novel, published under yet another pen name.  It is all too short, but very action-filled and fascinating.

I also read one of those historical society collections of annotated pictures about a pair of counties in Indiana because it had a paragraph about Gene Stratton-Porter.  I thought it would be more than that, lol.  The evolution of the counties over a century was much more interesting than expected.  Indiana is a major cultural fulcrum point in American literature and social myth.

I have some print books I’ve been working on, but I don’t know if they’ll be done by December’s end.

Anyway, 94 books down, 6 to go.


October reading update

I read 15 books for this month.  It was also an ebook-only month, which is pretty unusual for me.  It usually means I’m mentally overexerted and want easier stuff to read.  So almost everything was fluff, esoteric, or esoteric fluff.

I read seven short novella-length ebooks about spies and true crime.  I also read Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s love letter to fandom and when nerds *really* loved science, Fallen Angels.  That one is cute and parts of it remain terrifyingly plausible.

I also continued reading a light D&D-ish series, as the third book was just sent to the mailing list and was a happy surprise.  In similar vein, I read the wrap-up book of a pretty good zombie series, also a surprise release earlier than the author said.

I tried out Kindle Unlimited, and I’ll probably keep it for a couple months.  I used that to read a truly fascinating biography of Cordwainer Smith, a collection of Clifford Simak shorts that reminded me of why I am just not that into his work, a very silly but cool-concept sci-fi book about magic being introduced into the world when humanity is banned from using space technology by evil aliens, and a very cute Tanith Lee novella.

I also used Kindle Unlimited to read the very funny, very sharp, but also very “written by a Boomer” satire “The Narrative.”  It’s by Deplora Boule and quite spot-on.

Anyway, 87 books down, 13 to go.