Monday, February 9, 2009


So I finally seem to be showing signs of recovery from the reading-related burnout that was one of my souvenirs from two years of grad school.

This is a happy thing, but it's taken an awful long time to get here. In addition, I still find myself limited in what I can actually bring myself to read. I read a couple of books while I was at Clarion, and then I think I read maybe one between September and November.

I think maybe what's going on is that I have to work back up to relatively worthwhile fiction. I started with Spenser novels, which are like TV movies on the printed page. I read three of them over the course of a week sometime in December--each one takes maybe three and a half hours, and they are never at all demanding. After that, I took a break for awhile, and then went on a small Elmore Leonard bender after the new year. I also read a charming bit of Michael Lewis business-porn that had been sitting on my shelf, untouched, since I left NYC.

For whatever reason, I've been disinclined to read any SF/F in a long while now. There might be a bit of Clarion hangover as well, I don't know. But I managed to consume David Brin's The Postman (because I was in a post-apocalyptic mood, and, well, it's David Brin and I've never actually read anything from him), which was kind of useless but charmingly so. Unfortunately, the copy I was reading was the movie tie-in edition, so it had Kevin Costner's mug staring meaningfully out past me into the middle distance every time I picked it up. And then, over the weekend, I wasted long and glorious hours with a Harry Harrison sci-fi trilogy from the dawn of the 1980s. It was weirdly satisfying, though frankly it wasn't very good, even for Harry Harrison. It wasn't, for instance, The Stainless Steel Rat.

I dunno, though. I've got a pile of scifi books that I've been really wanting to read, and which are more respectable and demanding (and, to me, of interest) than 80s-era pulp. Ken MacLeod's Newton's Wake, Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky, Iain Banks' Consider Phlebus, Charlie Stross's The Atrocity Archives. The other week I even found a copy of Matt Ruff's priceless Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy, which I've been meaning to reread for years. For whatever reason, though, I just can't do it yet. I don't know what's wrong with me, really. I do feel like maybe I'm getting better, though.

So. Soon, perhaps. One can hope.

Not tonight, though, I don't think. I think I'm going to wander downstairs, where my roommate and our downstairs neighbor have announced that there will be movie watching. That's a good thing to do on a snow night. So. That's all. Cheers.

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