Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

bibliophilia: Christmas haul
Vin and Charles got me three books I totally wanted (Well, because I told 'em, but weren't they obliging?): Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett, Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton, and Earthquake Weather by one of my now-favorite authors, Tim Powers.

I'd actually read the Pratchett book before, but (as Charles knows) it's one of those books I like rereading every now and then, because it's fun and funny, and doesn't require actual engaging of mental faculties. In other words, it's shitlit, which I've described before as the intellectual equivalent of junk food: no nutritional value, but yummy if you're in the right kind of mood. Taking place in Pratchett's popular Discworld fantasy setting, it's all about an Occidental wizard who becomes involved in an extremely... polite oriental revolution, along with his friends, a gang of decrepit but still very able octogenarian barbarians. Silly and satisfying.

Another piece of fine shitlit was the Hamilton book, the latest installment in her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. When Vin first lent one of these novels to me, I thought it was just a pathetic Buffy rip-off, and being a freaky Buffy-head myself, I thoroughly expected to be contemptous of the whole thing. To my surprise, I liked it: a fast-paced, sexy, and intelligent-enough feminist rendering of classic horror tropes in a very contemporary setting. This most recent episode was as enjoyable as all the rest.

I'm still finishing up Earthquake Weather, which is not as good as Declare, the other Powers book I've read, but intriguing enough in its premise. To start with, a possessed young woman murders the current incarnation of the legendary Fisher King, which causes all sorts of cataclysmic disturbances in the spiritual and physical planes. And things go downhill from there. This 1997 novel is not as skillful as Powers's later work-- sometimes the pacing gets bogged down in too much description, and there seem to be too many characters running around for them to be developed adequately. Then again, it is a sequel of sorts to an earlier work, so maybe I lack perspective since I haven't read that one. In any case, it's still a solid read, and all the more forgiveable since I didn't have to pay for it.

Nikki bit in at 2:36 PM :: ::
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