The Wonders of a Kindle
My parents got me a Kindle for my birthday this past fall, and let’s just say that it was love at first sight. It took me a couple weeks to get used to it – the novelty was more distracting than anything else – but after I got comfortable with it, I became more or less addicted.
These past couple weeks I’ve blown through three different books, two of them in a matter of days last week during an ice storm.
The first one I read — it took me a few weeks — was Felix Gilman‘s Thunderer. It started off a little clunky, but after a couple dozen pages, the story sucked me in and I couldn’t stop. I actually told my boyfriend that it was something he needed to read. Anyone who has read China Mieville‘s Perdido Street Station will notice that Gilman has probably read it, too — there’s a lot of similarities. However, the language is more accessible, by far, and the characters are a lot easier to connect with. The novel doesn’t seem to be available except through Kindle or through third-party sellers on the same site, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s a steampunk novel of the more heavily urban type, but it’s not as gritty and hope-crushing as Perdido Street Station, and while I liked both books, I definitely loved Thunderer more. It’s a shame that it’s so painfully difficult to find anywhere.
When the ice storm came slamming into the midwest and I saw that I was not going to have classes for two days, I threw some ingredients for chicken and noodles into the crock pot, got things set up on Fable III so that I could make my 8.5 million gold goal to save the townspeople from their impending doom, and then downloaded Gail Carriger‘s Soulless onto my Kindle.
Soulless is also a steampunk novel, but it appeals mainly to a feminine audience, mostly because of its focus on Victorian social etiquette, and the tense, budding romance between the preternatural heroine and a werewolf Alpha. I read the entire thing in the space of twenty-four hours, and absolutely loved it. It was not as thought-provoking as Thunderer by any means, but it was fun and definitely is going into my “guilty pleasure” pile. It’s a quick read, and for anyone who just wants to read something clever, with some HEAVY sexual tension, and gets a kick out of the “posh” persona (something I’ve come to love because of the guy I’m seeing right now), this is an absolute gem.
After I’d finished reading Soulless, even though I loved it and made a note to read the next book in the series in the near future, I felt like I needed something with just a little more substance – something with a little more kick to it. Amazon had suggested several novels to me on its site, and I checked my “Wish List” to see what I had logged away as a “want to read but don’t feel like spending money on it right now.” Finally I came across Richard Kadrey‘s Sandman Slim.
There’s only one way to describe this novel: Constantine meets The Dresden Files meets Hellboy on crack, with Tom Waits lyrics thrown in for seasoning. It was fast-paced to the point of being breakneck, it didn’t pull its punches, and while it was by no means deep, I still gave a damn about its characters. It’s brutal, unforgiving, and witty. There were some formatting issues that made me wince every once in a while, but it didn’t really detract the way I’ve seen such issues do to other books, and I can safely say that I will probably be reading the other books in the series as well. My only complaint was that the main character’s backstory was so vague and mysterious that it makes me almost wonder if the author actually has one for him. At any rate, I wasn’t looking for something deep, I was looking for a thrill-ride, and I definitely got it.
I’m not reading as voraciously right now, since I’m back in the writing groove, but I have started reading a book my nerd friends have all been recommending to me for the last year: Robert Jordan‘s first novel in the Wheel of Times series, The Eye of the World. Hopefully I’ll be able to make some decent headway with it this week, what with my student teaching coming up soon and a term paper already looming its ugly head.
- Felix Gilman, Author of The Half-Made World, on Promoting His Novel (omnivoracious.com)
- Best Books of 2010: Top 10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Selections, Nos. 6–10 (omnivoracious.com)
- The io9 Book Club is in session! Let’s talk about Connie Willis’ Blackout and All Clear [Io9 Book Club] (io9.com)