Book Notes

Items of interest today:

  • J.K. Rowling has announced that the final book in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” will be published on July 21st of this year.  This is one of the few series that I actually purchase in hardcover format, with good reason.  I like the stories.  Which, ultimately, is the best reason to buy a book, and to stick with an author. 
  • With today being February 1st, the FirstLook program at HarperCollins has some interesting new offerings this month, including 40 Days and 40 Nights, by Matthew Chapman.  Chapman, the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, brings his own perspective to the intelligent design vs. evolution debate in relation to the recent Pennsylvania school board case.  If you haven’t yet enrolled in the Firstlook program, I suggest you do so.  It’s a great way to get free books before they’re published.  You only need write a short review when you’re done. 
  • I’m currently reading Cell by Stephen King and Thunderstruck by Erik Larson, author of Devil in the White City (h/t to NDT for the heads up on its release!).  What are YOU reading? ? ?  I’m always looking for tips on new books, so don’t be shy with them!!   
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4 thoughts on “Book Notes

  1. I’m also reading Thunderstruck, as well as Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds. I just finished Ilium and Olympos on your recommendation. They were…interesting.

    A friend gave me The Intellectual Devotional by David Kidder and Noah Oppenheim. It’s a fun little book that gives 365 little mini-lessons from “the seven fields of knowledge”. Monday’s history, Tuesday literature, Wednesday visual arts, Thursday science, Friday music, Saturday philosophy and Sunday is, appropriately, religion. It’s been a fun little experiement reading it each day while I enjoy morning coffee and then emailing back and forth about the topics with the group of friends who are also reading it. We’re discovering one another’s secret passions and knowledgebases and that’s almost more fun than the lessons themselves.

  2. My boss is actually reading The Intellectual Devotional as well and has recommended it. It’s funny because I was talking to her about “The Producers,” with the Leo Bloom character, and she mentioned there was a literature entry on James Joyce’s Ulysses and the Leopold Bloom in that, which I’d entirely forgotten about. Makes the “When is it gonna be Bloomsday?” quote from the musical have a different connotation.

    I take it you had some reservations with Illium and Olympos, but I thought they were great sci-fi, and they certainly were the factor that made me buy a more modern translation of the Illiad. I love the way Simmons incorporates classical literature in his novels. But to each their own.

  3. Well, I thought his approach was interesting, but I think I got a little pissed off that after finishing two rather lengthy books, I still felt like I had very little idea about what actually happened and what the point was. I remember thinking the same thing after reading Endymion. I’d love the first two Hyperion books so much and felt that the series was complete after the second, so was surprised when a third appeared. After reading it, I was just confused and I tried to get through its sequel, but just got frustrated. To me, it seems like he sets up great universes and poses astounding questions, but gets lost in all the words and forgets to explain those universes or answer those questions.

  4. I can understand that about Endymion (although if you get through Rise of Endymion it’s easier to understand). Endymion and Rise of Endymion make much more sense upon the second read–at least, to me they did. They are just so chock full of stuff it’s hard to get it all the first time.

    But Illium and Olympos, I felt, were very complete. Of course, I read them both twice as well. I found Illium confusing when I first tried to read it, but I thought Olympos tied the stories together fairly well. What were your questions? (I’ll answer as best I can, but Dan’s the man to ask, and you really should check out some of the forum discussions on his website–they might help clear up some confusion.)

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