January 20th, 2009

Portable Magic (9)

Anne Rice: Interview With The Vampire

I have never seen the movie, so I was completely clueless as to what to expect. I liked it a lot, especially the dark mood. I will check out some of the other books of the series, I'm pretty sure of that.

(
Wikipedia)


Neal Stephenson: Cryptonomicon

When someone on my reading list tells me
his updating frequency is going to suffer because he's busy reading some author's latest book, that author's just begging to be checked out. So I did, and I'm glad I have.

I absolutely love Stephenson's use of language and narrative technique. I love his sense humor and I especially dig his quirky, nerdy digressions. His vocabulary is pretty outstanding, too. The story itself got a little too conventional for my liking, especially near the end, but I still enjoyed myself a lot. He's another one I'll come back to, probably a lot sooner than Rice, too.

(Wikipedia)


That's it for 2008, some 80 books in total. Not quite the 100 I originally aimed for (GTA's to blame...), but quite decent nevertheless, I believe. On for 2009 then:


Alan Weisman: Die Welt ohne uns (The World Without Us)

What would happen if mankind were to vanish all of a sudden? How would Earth recover, how long would it take... not really an uplifting experience and not because of the premise either. Boy, we really are good at creating long term problems *sigh*

(Wikipedia)


Susan Kay: Das Phantom (Phantom)

The book expands on the original, Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, and aims to make Eric (the Phantom) a more complex character by telling his backstory. It was very much recommended in an online board, and I did like it. Still, I couldn't quite understand the raving reviews at Amazon and the like, which is probably to blame on me failing to read the original first... well, that's bound to happen every once in a while when you prefer just plunging into books instead of doing some research first. Leroux's also on that list of mine now, no harm done :)

(Wikipedia)


Jason Lutes: Berlin. Steinerne Stadt (Berlin. City of Stones)

The first part of a trilogy of graphic novels set in the final, turbulent years of the Weimar Republic. Very political, very personal all the same - very much recommended.

(Wikipedia on the author)





Ray Bradbury:
Fahrenheit 451

Wow!

One of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. It totally blew me away. Most people probably know that it's about a dystopian society where books have been outlawed and are being burnt - that's what I knew.

It is so much more though. It's a thrilling tale, the journey of a character and it contains some wonderful philosophical tangents regarding books, society, people, truth, fear... you name it. The book was first published in 1953, which is both amazing and terrifying as a lot of it rings so very true with what's going on right now. At the same time, it manages to spread optimism even in the face of one of the more gruesome ending's I've read.

The 50 year anniversary edition I read contains an afterword and a coda by as well as an interview with Bradbury, born at different points during those 50 years and reflecting on certain aspects of the book and what has happened since then - a truly great addition.

Can't recommend it enough!!

(Wikipedia)


J.K. Rowling: Die Märchen von Beedle dem Barden (The Tales of Beedle the Bard)

Far too short, but still very enjoyable, especially because of "Dumbledore's" annotations. Very nice addition to the Potterverse. Plus, it's for charity. (Btw. I absolutely loved Rowling's way of saying thank you with the handmade editions...)

(Wikipedia)


Current read is Dan Ariely: Denken hilft zwar, nützt aber nichts (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions).

QuotesЯUs (10)

From the already praised Fahrenheit 451, one of many:

It's not books you need, it's some of the things that once were in books. [...] The same infinite detail and awareness could also be projected through the radios and televisors, but are not. No, no, it's not books at all you're looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.
 
Well, stitching the patches of the universe toghether is plenty of magic if you ask me...