Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer reading

Summertime is the only time I ever get any real book-reading done. I may be a bit busy this summer, but I won't let that stop me. In fact, I read a book already.

I read Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. I've never read Kurt Vonnegut before and I wanted to try it. I would describe the book as very dark, and deeply ironic. Not funny, but deeply ironic. We meet character after character, and we watch how their personalities clash with the reality around them. I enjoyed it. (I'm pretty sure, though, that ice-nine couldn't possibly exist. Sure, there does exist chocolate-six, but that's just delicious, and won't destroy the planet at all. So we can rest easy, knowing that there is no such doomsday scenario.)

What books are you reading this summer?

Next on the list is Slaughterhouse-Five. After that, I don't know. Any recommendations? I want to stick to fiction, on account of I already read plenty of non-fiction in non-book form. I also tend to like books which are funny.


Larry Hamelin said...

Very cool that you're getting into Vonnegut. He's a terrific writer.

I presume you're interested in science fiction. Have you read Greg Egan or Stanislaw Lem? I recommend you start with Egan's Quarrantine and Lem's A Perfect Vacuum.

Secret Squïrrel said...

Hmm... Vonnegut and Lem are both a bit too stodgy for my tastes. In that case you might like Cordwainer Smith altho' he's neither humerous nor ironic.

If you're looking for something lighter but very funny (LOL by yourself even when sober) then I highly recommend Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and The Colour of Magic (or pretty much any Discworld novel) by Terry Pratchett.

miller said...

I've already read the Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy, the Dirk Gently series and The Colour of Magic. I am a big fan of Douglas Adams, and wish there were more authors like him. I read several Discworld novels, and it was decent, but I couldn't get into it.

Secret Squïrrel said...

Pratchett does sometimes seem like he's trying too hard to be funny/absurd and I still haven't decided how much of his plot elements are Sword&Sorcery Fantasy tropes or simply stolen from the likes of Fritz Leiber. Perhaps I should compromise and consider them to be homage since the characters Bravd and The Weasel in the first book are clearly versions of Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser.

As for suggested reading, how about Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins or anything by Ben Elton (Popcorn would be a good place to start)? Both authors can be a bit fruity with their language but I wouldn't say gratuitous.

If you're up for a good "Shaggy God" story, you could do a lot worse than the Lemmus trilogy by Julian Jay Savarin, altho' I was 15 when I read it so I might not be so kind with my critique now!

miller said...

I thought that the name Greg Egan sounded familiar. And then I remembered that he's the guy who wrote this "Foundations" article, which I was reading earlier in the year to get a better understanding of General Relativity. Interesting...

Though to be honest, I'm only moderately interested in sci-fi. I don't know what I'm interested in.