Saturday, June 28, 2008

One double-O

Oddly, the one hundredth book on my book list to the left? Patrick O'Brian's The Hundred Days. On pace for 200 books this year. Way ahead of the pace of the previous two years.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Books in May

Rob Neyer, who (I think) got his start writing books with Bill James, takes his cue from Mr James and calls this book Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups. Despite that, he comes across as having less of an ego than Mr James; though that doesn't seem to be difficult. It's a very interesting book for those interested in baseball history. It's not full of statistics, but fun facts instead and enough bold assertions to feed the fires of discussion and debate on a wide range of topics. He looks at the best and second best lineups of all-time for every team by mixing and matching their greatest players from whenever they played. He also puts together the lineups of the biggest busts, best players traded away, all-nickname teams and other fun stuff. Not a book that it's easy to read through from cover to cover, but much fun is to be had from dipping into it and reading one team at a time.

I'm going to sum up my Lois McMaster Bujold experience and review the last few books I read very briefly.

The Warrior's Apprentice
: good, light fun; an interesting story if implausible in the extreme even after allowing for the sci-fi aspect.

The Vor Game: another fun yarn, though equally implausible as the one that preceded it.

Cetaganda: a better story, less implausible because it depends on fewer coincidences and a mystery to boot! Huzzah!

Ethan of Athos: bald-faced homosexual propaganda thinly wrapped in a spy-thriller-esque plot, the villain is, obviously, the person who has the greatest distaste for homosexuality, because that's true depravity (/sarcasm). (I kept going with the series since this story dealt with tangential characters and seemed like it was a one-off rather than introducing recurring themes and characters. I was mostly right.)

The Borders of Infinity: the first story is a mystery with a solid moral premise and decent plotting, the second story is inane and seems little more than an excuse for the author to set up a sex scene (thankfully without being explicit) between the hero and a werewolf, the third story is badly written prison-break tale that doesn't go anywhere or serve any real purpose.

Brothers in Arms: this is where I gave up, ostensibly it's another spy-thriller story but this time, Miles has moved on to his third true love (and there are more to come in later books I understand) without any reason given for disposing of his affections for the first two and we get to introduce his clone! It's too much. Ms Bujold, you had a good thing going, but you beat your favourite character to death by having to involve him in too many wild and crazy adventures. You built an edifice that eventually collapsed under its own weight.

I read Ink, a book that was basically a how-to on getting a tattoo. Interesting stuff, with some historical tidbits thrown in for good measure. For example, I was surprised at how many members of various royal European houses had tattoos. I shouldn't have been, since a lot of them served in the navies of their various countries, but I was. A good book if you're interested in the subject.

I also read the latest two Wodehouses to be published by Overlook. Plum Pie and The Girl on the Boat. The first was a collection of short stories that I had mostly read before in other collections; a solid book if unexceptional. The Girl on the Boat on the other hand gave Ring for Jeeves a run for its money as the worst Wodehouse book ever. The plot was disjointed, resolved in odd ways and the characters made strange decisions for no good reason. And none of that was in the usual Wodehouse manner that makes sense within the world of the book, I mean. It was just... bad.

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