Saturday, September 12, 2009

august reading

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
edited by: Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci

I couldn't resist this book. The title and cover and the fact that it contains stories by Kelly Link and M. T. Anderson, both of which I had never read before... Resistance was utterly, spectacularly non-existent. There are many things in this book that I don't have any personal experience with: RPGs and MMORPGs and The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Klingons, for instance. But there was so much that was and is familiar: the awkwardness of people understanding each other and the blinding joy of a singular enthusiasm.

According to good old Webster, a geek is an enthusiast or expert (or, a carnival performer who bites off the heads of live chickens or snakes, no doubt with both enthusiasm and expertise).

These are short stories for young people. All of them are, at the least, enjoyable. Some were wonderful and bizarre, and my favourites were "The King of Pelinesse" by M. T. Anderson, "Secret Identity" by Kelly Link, and "It's Just a Jump to the Left" by Libba Bray.

American Chinatown
by: Bonnie Tsui

I am so not into the whole Asian American heritage thing. My family has been here for so long that any connection I ever had to Asia is extremely thin and buried beneath a large mountain of ignorance. I would never have picked up this book except that I was asked to read it for work.

I've lately been fascinated with neighborhoods and how they develop into certain kinds of places with personalities and texture and tendencies toward setting particular interactions in motion. Chinatown is one of those weird uber-neighborhoods that appear in cities all over the world, and that is fascinating. The book itself though was a little flat. There was such possibility for pungent, overwhelming specifics, but instead it was informative, smooth. I kept putting it down.

Palimpsest
By: Catherynne M. Valente

I wanted to love this book. I was prepared to love it because many people told me that I would, and because I've read some of Ms. Valente's other things that have left me feeling slavish admiration. Instead, I thought it was interesting. There was such lush, extravagance, and it was all shockingly beautiful, but for some reason, I never understood the story with the part of me that needs to understand it to make it something I'll cry over and rage about. Maybe I read it at an unfortunate time (I'm impatient with poetic things lately... I want inelegant, messy things that explode and stab you with their rough edges). I got parts of it. Parts of it felt like pieces taken straight from a dream that I had forgotten. And it's built on such a brilliant idea.

I did discover that sex scenes -- even very beautifully written ones -- begin to bore me after too many of them go past.

Save the Deli

By: David Sax

Another book read for work. I write reviews for work, but in them I say only the nice things. Everything that I like about a book goes in there, and their sole point is to make someone else think, oh maybe I should have a look at that. I said that this book was interesting, and that it made me hungry. I didn't say that it failed to convince me that Jewish delis are worthy of passionate, particular obsession or fascination, which I think should be the point of these quirky nonfiction books.

1 comment:

damiengwalter said...

I'd like to read Geektastic. I think GeekLit is where its at.