Summer Reading, with a deeply buried lede.


I’ve worked my way through the first “half” of the Summer, now it’s time to pick the books that’ll carry me into the Fall.  Looking back over my earlier reviews, I was definitely heavy on praise.  That can’t really be helped, and will probably continue since I didn’t really set out to write strictly criticism.  I’ve certainly had  books disappoint me plenty of times in the past, but I’m not really interested in choosing material to read simply to slam it.  

Picking a book just to tear it apart would mean either picking an easy target already being piled on, or picking something that I couldn’t imagine reading because it looks to be poor quality.  The problem with the first case is, why do what everyone else is already doing?  If I get in on the ground floor of the next “I can’t believe people read this!” book, fine.  Otherwise there’s plenty of new material out there to lose myself in, I’d rather stick with that.  

The problem with the second is, if I can’t imagine picking it up, I can’t imagine you picking it up.  I’m talking here about books that don’t look as though much thought was put into producing them.  Care wasn’t taken in describing them, excerpts presented were poorly chosen, cover design looks slapped together, you know the kind of book I’m talking about.  I could be horribly, horribly wrong and they could contain incredible writing, but I simply don’t have the time to find out.  Seeking out books deserving more attention and advocating for them is a worthwhile way to spend time, Seeking out books no one would stumble across normally just to write something negative strikes me as mean.

Which brings me to what I will be reading, in no particular order.  

First up is Syndrome E, by Franck Thilliez.  Thilliez is a French thriller author who’s a huge hit in Europe, and is finally being translated into English and released here in the US.  From the descriptions of this book, it’s a mash up of Science, Thriller, Horror, and a critical look at morality.  It sounds like the kind of thing that’ll make it hard to turn out the lights at night, and I like the promise of that.  

Next is a short one I expect to finish probably this weekend.  It’s The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Tony Chiang.  Since Ray Bradbury’s death I’ve been interested in Science Fiction that both entertains and makes you think, and this look at Artificial Intelligence looks very promising on that front.

Finally I’m teeing up Victor Lavalle’s The Devil in Silver.  Lavalle won the 2010 Shirley Jackson award, and is producing some of the creepiest writing you can find today.  This newest book is set in a mental hospital where a patient who believes they’ve been put there by mistake must team up with a schizophrenic, an obsessive compulsive, and a teen with bipolar disorder to fight what he believes is the devil incarnate.  This can’t end well, by which I mean this could be amazing.

I’m also planning to finish Justin Cronin’s The Passage in preparation for it’s sequel, due in October.  I began The Passage back when it came out, and was immediately sucked in, but about 200 or so pages in there’s a jump in time where the first portion ends elegantly and the next begins.  It felt like a natural stopping point to set the book aside while I worked on other things.  I’m embarrassed I didn’t get back to it, and was reminded of that fact when The Twelve was announced.  I know this is a proposed trilogy, and that book three hasn’t been announced, and being two thirds of the way through a series with no prospect of finishing it is torture of the best kind.

I’ve set myself some fairly light reading assignments mainly because I’m planning out some writing of my own, outside of this blog.  It’s still way to early to talk too much about it, hence burying that news really, really deep in this post.  As I drag this thing (whatever it ends up being) kicking and screaming into the light, I’ll let you know more about how that goes.  I’m particularly looking forward to sending it to some writer friends of mine for critique.  I’ve edited them before, and they’ve been drooling at the opportunity to poke at my writing, so that should be pleasant.

I also intend to up my blog posting frequency.  I set a goal of one post a week and I’ve had no trouble hitting that, I think it’s definitely time to up the ante.  If there’s anything you’re looking forward to or have read recently you think I should dig into, let me know it the comments, I always appreciate recommendations, just as I hope you appreciate mine.


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