Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Reading January 2023

This was an absolutely fascinating month for reading.  It was a bust. I have three books I didn't finish and never intend to finish.  I listened to a lot of podcasts.  I streaming service binged, which I seldom do, but I've been trying to ramp up my excercise regime before spring gets here.  I went walking at the expense of sitting and reading just so I could listen to all of Ultra.  Great series.  Amazing and Minnesota ties.
  • I won't finish The Living Dead because it is beyond boring.
  • I won't finish Buckaroo Banzai because, despite being an absolutely beautiful book - it feels like a book should feel and the cover is glorious - it is almost incomprehensible for long sections.
  • I won't finish Hitler in Los Angeles because Maddow's Ultra was almost a perfect depth and Hitler in LA just takes it into the weeds.
But I finished two other books right?  I did.
  • The Paradox Hotel was not particularly original in my opinion and the main protagonist....she was horrible.  I could not relate to her.  I don't have a need to relate to all the characters I read about.  But I don't want to actively dislike the protagonist in a way that makes me feel glad I never have to emotionally engage with that personality in real life.  As was the case with several of the people who interacted with her in the book...one of us would likely die as an outcome and neither of us would shed a tear or even slow down to consider the loss of the other.  If you've read Use of Weapons by Ian Banks.  You know something about how truly abysmal as human beings some of those characters are. If you've read Donaldson's Gap Series.  Ditto.  For f^^^s sake are there some characters you wouldn't want within a galaxy of you or your family.  I liked those characters better than January from Paradox Hotel.
  • I totally get where Yu was going with SFU.  I can appreciate a really interesting attempt to map space travel to familial relationships, the dad that had dreams that never came to fruition, the frustrated mother, the heartache everyone causes each other, and how the present moment is literally a type of time travel.  There were some exceptionally funny moments.  But overall it just started to drag.  I got it.  So when it kept going, it began to feel a little like being beat over the head with the book.  The finished book.  Not the one being written real time in the TM-31 book creation thingamabob.
But, I will credit the two books for two good things.
  •  TAMMY the AI from SFU and Ruby the little floater AI [much likes the robots in Banks' Culture] were wonderful characters.  Both of them were better than the characters they were supporting and to which they served as foils.
  • This quote from SFU, page 232: "The path of a man's life is straight, straight, straight, until the moment when it isn't anymore, and after that it begins to meander around aimlessly, and then get tangled, and then at some point the path gets so confusing that the man's ability to move around in time, his device for conveyance, his memory of what he loves, the engine that moves him forward, it can break, and he can get permanently stuck in his own history."  It reminded me a bit of Sank talking in a post about winding down as we [men in general] get older.
The Media for January:

No comments: