Welcome to the cybercorner I call,
The Literary Lizard’s List of Books and Sundries.
This is a bit of a dusty cybercorner, I fear – a little bit out of the beaten path here, and I don’t update it as often as I should (ahem). Nevertheless, the concept here is that this is intended to be more than a mere list: it’s a jumping off point to thinkishness and commentary, even some groans of dismay and the occasional rant. And the sundries are here (when they’re here) because even the most learned saur cannot read books ALL the time. Usually.
What’s the Lizard Reading Today?
At any one time I have a huge heap o’ books waiting to be read. (If you’re interested in what else a literary lizard reads, you can see a sampling of my library online at LibraryThing.)
Here I’ll give you an idea which ones are in my sights when I’m updating this page, and review or comment when one catches my fancy. Also, I had an archive section here, which I will replace with a Table of Contents easy-read menu when I get the right widget for it. Meanwhile, here are some book comments, and the start of a master booklist below (click the link).
Happy Book Number 1:
Blackbourn, David. The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780-1918. Oxford University Press, 1998.
This book is a concise treatment of significant facets of German history during the period in question: not just the politics and wars, but also of social history and economic development. It got good reviews for giving a well-rounded picture of factors that had a huge influence on Germany’s course for much of the 20th century. I find it very readable and also insightful; I’ve had some ah-ha moments with it already and I’m only 20-some pages into the book.
I am so delighted to be reading this! No, really. First off, I speak German and am a fan of things German. Second, I’m an amateur historian. I know a great deal about America and the United Kingdom during this long century time frame, but comparatively very little about Germany. Which in hindsight is doubly irritating, since when I lived there, I’m certain a lot of social history and cultural references were completely lost on me because of my ignorance. Ah well. The final factor is that on the back burner I have a novel set in 1871 in London, but which includes some intersection with Germans and German interests of that time. So, no time like the present. This is some of my grist for the mill for my hindbrain, while my forebrain continues to work with Splintegrate.
Compelling Science Fiction Book Number 2:
Shepherd, Joel. Crossover: a Cassandra Kresnov Novel. Prometheus Books, 2001.
Since my work-in-progress deals in part with issues about clones and cloning, I have an interest in seeing how other authors have dealt with this and related themes. I read that Shepherd’s book deals with a synthetic person and her efforts to escape the bondage of those who created her, and those who would take advantage of her, and root out plots and bad guys while doing it. This is right up my alley. I am amazed by this author’s ability to create emotionally compelling situations with seemingly innocuous tools like a leisurely introduction that seems like a sensual getting-to-know-you with the main character. Some good writing mojo going on here. Shepherd has a new fan, here.
Actually, I’ve started this and as things are getting really good, I find I must force myself to put it down. I can tell this is the sort of story that will stay with me, and also infiltrate my own science fictional imagination – and right now, I don’t think I can allow that, not as I am striving to stay in the zone with Splintegrate. So, alas, this is a book that will go back on my shelf until the Opus is done. Then, I think I’ll be giving this a straight-through read, and I’ll be ordering the rest in this series, too. Good job, Joel Shepherd! Yet another reason to like Australia.