Sunday Status Update: April 14, 2013

Batman. For those times when you realize that every one of your King Arthur jokes is ludicrously esoteric.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Batman: This week, I read nothing at all. My war on crime leaves no time for such pursuits. Fortunately, I seem to have absorbed a good 70% of the Library of Congress at some point during my years of training, as I have no trouble recognizing the frequent literary references my enemies use (once, the mayor joked that it was a source of comfort to him that although the city is threatened on a weekly basis by madmen, our educational system must be quite extraordinary. I was laughing on the inside). Also, I seem to have a working knowledge of every branch of scientific study. I assume I picked this up somewhere between learning every martial art and becoming a stage magician. I’m Batman.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Marion: I finished John Lawton’s Black Out, a twisty mystery thriller set in WWII London. This book introduces his series character Inspector Troy. Lawton is treading into LeCarre’s territory, without the confident footsteps of that writer, but it was a good read. Women readers will twig to at least one of the clues, relating to jewelry, before men will, apparently, and that comment is based on the following scientific evidence; I figured it out right away and my husband didn’t.

I am reading the ARC of Devon Monk’s third entry in her AGE OF STEAM series: Cold Copper. Barely a quarter in and the risk to the characters is mounting already. The Madder brothers are some of my favorites, and they are at the heart of this one. Those crazy Welsh miners – if that’s really what they are – may have challenged an enemy they can’t beat this time.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Steven: This week I read some of the stories in Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov. My favorite so far is “Breeds There a Man…?” which was kind of atypical for most of Asimov’s stories, in that it possibly involved alien influence on current (at the time it was written) human events. I’ve also been reading Kings of the Road: How Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Alberto Salazar Made Running Go Boom by Cameron Stracher, which is about the 1970’s road running scene.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Terry: What sort of book goes with a root canal?  Well, none, really, so I got little reading done this week.  I did make my way through The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb, which I enjoyed very much. I particularly liked the tone and style, which are nicely matched to the character telling the tale. I also started Paul Cornell‘s London Falling; I’m reserving judgment on this one until I’ve read more.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Tim: This week, I read Heaven’s Needle by Liane Merciel. I’m a little divided on this one. As a sequel, it’s a bit problematic: storylines are simply dropped between novels and the tone is noticeably different (in fact, Merciel appears to have switched subgenres entirely). As simply another novel in the same universe, however, I’d say it succeeds fairly well. Otherwise, I picked up Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. It’s another in the line of “smalltown kids face evil circa 1955” stories, but I’m a sucker for this type. So far, Summer of Night is quite entertaining, although some of the dialogue troubles me.

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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  1. Melanie Goldmund /

    I’m currently reading Gideon’s Angel, by Clifford Beal, a “flintlock fantasy” set in Cromwell’s England. Pretty good so far!

    And I don’t mean to nag, but are we going to find out who won the last four Thoughtful Thursdays? I might be getting a wee bit impatient, because there’s a certain book from the stacks that I want to win so that it arrives before my birthday in June. :-)

  2. Melanie, good help is hard to find. I volunteered to take on the Giveaways, and, as you have pointed out, I am quite a bit behind. I hope to have this process in hand starting tomorrow.

  3. Marion, your avatar is apt for your comment!

  4. Brad Hawley /

    This week I continued listening to Gaiman’s Neverwhere, my favorite Gaiman novel, though still not quite as good as Sandman. I have found I love listening to him read.

    I’ve also continued my rereading of Lawrence Block’s Scudder series of P.I. novels.

    I also am rereading Animal Man by Morrison (see my last FF review). Actually, I’ve only read part of his run before, so the final issues are new to me. And they’re wonderful.

    I’m finding that I probably spend more time rereading in my 40s than anytime before. I spent about 20 years reading as widely and quickly as possible. It was like I had a fear of not reading everything.

    I’ve given up on that frantic, frustrating approach. I started looking to the next book at times instead of focusing on the current one.

    And I’m finding I quite enjoy the luxury of rereading my favorite books. The pleasures of rereading a book that manages to hold up to repeat performances are of a different quality than those that a book yields upon an initial acquaintance. I wonder why it took me so many years to fully appreciate this aspect of the best-told stories?

    I wonder how many passionate readers are also passionate rereaders? Are these different personalities? It seems as if many readers much younger than I am love to reread. But it seems equally true that there are those readers older than I am who like to keep moving forward far more than returning to old favorites. I wonder if there are studies on this? I wonder what the results of such a study would mean?

    Sorry, just rambling. Unlike Batman, I’m not out fighting crime. Instead, I have some grading to do, and I truly do love the art of procrastination.

    By the way, I love Robot Dreams. I can see my copy from my chair. Perhaps I should reread it . . . .

  5. Brad Hawley /

    I almost forgot, speaking of Batman, I find it funny that he wrote in this week right after I was watching some Animated Batman episodes to show in class tomorrow (We just read Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, my favorite Batman story to teach). If you’ve never seen this series, check out some of the great episodes:
    Almost Got ‘Em
    Judgment Day
    Heart of Ice

  6. April /

    I’m jealous Marion, I’d love to be reading Cold Copper right now!

    Kim – I had a very different reaction to the Codex Alera series. I nearly couldn’t finish the first one because the internal logic of the world wasn’t working for me. After dropping it for months, I picked it back up, set aside my initial reservations and enjoyed the entire series after that.

  7. April /

    Please ignore the second half of my earlier post. I’ve called Kat Kim and posted this here instead of on her review. Sigh. Some days just don’t warrant the effort of getting out of bed.

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