Monday, June 27, 2011


More books completed for Adult Summer Read. I've decided to start working my way through the pile of scifi we set aside for a possible literary analysis course for Thalia this coming school year.

6. Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I think I've read this before, but I've absolutely, utterly forgotten it, except for There Will Come Soft Rains which I've read in some anthology somewhere in the past year or two.

One of the first stories, Ylla, reminded me of Italo Calvino (some of whose books I love). But, alas, as I kept reading I became more and more disenchanted. By the end of the book I was recalling that the reason I haven't read anything by Bradbury for years and years is because I don't like reading things by Bradbury. Many of the stories have a 1960s sitcom vibe -- very embedded in the time in which they were written. But where, say, The Beverly Hillbillies had a certain affection for its country yokels, Bradbury seems to dislike his characters. By the end of the book I'm not so sure Bradbury doesn't dislike most of humanity, including me, the reader. So he and I are even, I guess.

I could enjoy these as short stories read over several months. Plowing through the entire book at once, though, was ... annoying.

7. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I've never read this before. Wow. I absolutely loved it. Could barely put it down. I found myself mentally comparing it to other books I've read this summer. For example, the climax didn't come as much of a surprise, yet it was still thrilling to read how Card portrayed it; contrast that to Demon's Lexicon where the climax wasn't particularly surprising OR interesting by the time we got to it.

I was tempted to run out and get all the other books from the series out of the library, but I'm worried I'd be disappointed. What I enjoyed about the book is how the writing style meshed so well with the subject; the same writing style would probably be inappropriate for the next segment, so, what then? What if I dislike it, and then the magic is gone?

As a side note, I had left these 2 books out on an end table in the family room during the cast party Saturday night, thus discovering that one of the other moms is an absolute scifi addict. What fun! Too bad I was so exhausted that my brain was practically nonfunctional -- she was flinging authors names around a mile a minute, and I was staring into space trying to remember what the heck those people had written that I'd read. Totally drawing a blank. I woke up the next day with an entire list in my head of books I wanted to discuss with her, but the moment had passed, alas.

So, 70 percent of the books read, approximately 50 percent of the time elapsed (I'm staring at the calendar coming up with this thing lasting 11 weeks instead of the 12 weeks they say it lasts -- where am I missing a week?). I've started Ursula LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness (I thought I'd read it before, but it's not seeming very familiar) and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (definitely never read before, and seems pretty necessary for a scifi course), but I'm not sure I'll finish either any time soon. I might need to find another quick read in the meantime, just to pad the list with quantity -- I can worry about quality some other time.


Bridgett said...

I read Left Hand of Darkness in a college class and what I remember most was feeling so so cold when I read it. I shiver remembering it, frankly.

momto4nmore said...

I read through the Ender Series several years ago and LOVED it. Was addictive so kept going on. I am rereading the George Martin Game of Thrones Series again. Would highly recommend adding it to your to do list.