Quick capsule reviews:
Robert Heinlein "Stranger in a Strange Land"
Martian/Human hybrid comes to earth for the first time ever and experiences this planet.
Very good indeed, another "SF Masterworks Classic" that gave me "I Am Legend". Heinlein uses the character as a way of exploring our world, from religion to monogamy and all the stuff inbetween. Surprisingly easy reading considering I don't usually enjoy sci-fi stuff. Pretty scathing to organised religions, politicians and our inability to be honest to one another about ourselves.
George R Stewart "Earth Abides"
Post apocalypse story much in the vein of the (written later) Stephen King book "The Stand".
Bloke gets bitten by a rattlesnake when out climbing and develops a fever. Comes to and discovers that 99% of the country/world has died from a mysterious disease and has to learn to live. There's no clumsy good vs evil flavour like King's. Just a literate and thoughtful prediction on how we would survive in a world without cars, electricity, running water, medicines, laws, governments, religion. Bloke meets woman, they have kids and so on down the line. Interesting to see the beginnings of new religions, superstitions, traditions and the dying of what we take for granted. They have to learn to catch animals, develop their own languages and basically return to cavemen, unable to start fire or figure out how to read/write.
Jeff Long "The Descent"
People discover another race of things living under the planet that want to kill us.
Or do they? Is Satan their leader?
Very enjoyable, a worldwide-scale end-of-the-world story about a group's journey thousands of miles under the surface to discover stuff and an eventual battle for the planet.
Sebastian Faulks "Birdsong"
Awful awful chick-lit of the highest water.
Dreadful. Incredibly pretentious, DH Lawrence wannabe story about a bloke that lives with a French family, has affair with the woman of the house, gets sent to WWI and trench warfare, feels bad about stuff and generally tortures himself about how nasty and unfair the world is.
It's...imagine being forced to listen to a distant Aunty talk about how she fell in love with a soldier and how she used to have to wash her clothes in a river for 5 days straight.
Avoid unless you are a woman.
Mark Haddon "The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nightime"
Surprisingly very good indeed. I usually avoid these pre-praised "book of the month!!!!" things because I invariably find them to be dullness in word-form (Brick Lane or any Salman Rushdie for example).
But this really worked for me. Reminded me a lot of "Flowers for Algernon" in it's style - written from the pov of a 15yr with Aspergers Syndrome (a form of autism), so the sentences are constructed very simply and in character. Initially I found that a bit gimmicky but soon hooked me in. Read the thing in 2hrs this afternoon in 1 sitting from start-to-finish because I wanted to see what happens.
Christopher finds a neighbours dog murdered with a pitchfork and decides to investigate. He likes red things, doesn't like yellow or brown. Likes numbers and maths, hates people touching him and lays on the floor "doing the moan thing until they went away".
Loung Ung "First They Killed My Father"
Autobiography of a woman who's family was caught up in the Khmer Rouge invasion of Cambodia in the 1970s.
Heartbreaking to read what happens to her from aged 3 upwards, the incredible hardships imposed, the fear and loathing of Khmer Rouge, the "training camps", the enforced brutality of that regime, starvation, death of family members....just an awful, awful experience but with a glimmer of hope and happiness towards the end.
It's not an easy read by any stretch, nor would you be interested if you think Pol Pot was "misunderstood". It discusses the genocide of Cambodians, the persecution of anybody not "base", the incredible suffering that hundreds of thousands of innocent people endured at the hands of that tyrant.
And, on their way to me, I shall be reading this week:
The Life of Pi & Vernon God Little - reports to follow
I'm reading Life of Pi at the moment. I flew at it for the first few chapters, but the religion bit doesn't do it for me, so I've slowed down.
> i can read really quickly i can read 2 of the babysitters books in one
Well, at approx 100 pages a piece, I should certainly hope so..........
> and all of the babysitters books.
All of them? No way! They're, like, totally hard dude. That would take forever!
i have read.
the black,just binnie,all of the home farm twins books,and all of the babysitters books.
> Dose anybody have the ASOUE books, I think there great.
I agree, they're brilliant. They make me giggle like a schoolgirl.
Skeleton Key - Anthony Horowitz
A series of Unfortunate Events, The Slippery Slpoe - Lemony Snicket
Dose anybody have the ASOUE books, I think there great.
> the sagacious one wrote:
> NIGHT'S DAWN TRILOGY
> (see how I cleverly used my caplock to produce capital letters,
> Heh. When I read your name as the last one in this thread, I was
> never expecting a "witty" post.
I wasn't either.