January 20th, 2008

20111112, Marilee

Running on Fumes

Even after a four-hour nap. We had bookgroup today and went out to a Japanese steakhouse afterwards. It was a lot of fun, but I was clearly drooping near the end. I thought I might still get through online and I got through the beginning, but right before I would normally post here, I had to sleep. I'm still not really awake, so I'll do the book reviews and catch up on LJ & Making Light tomorrow.
20111112, Marilee

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

I finally got to the top of the queue and picked this up at the library. I suppose this is technically a graphic novel, but it's a lot more like a book without words.

Tan tells the story of a man who leaves a dangerous city to cross an ocean and come to a new land. A wonderful odd confusing new land. He doesn't know the language or how appliances operate or anything. As he meets people, he learns, and he also learns how they came to this land.

He tells it not just in pictures, but in type of pictures -- small, large, opening up, closing down. It's amazingly lyrical and yet it's just pictures. Highly recommended.
20111112, Marilee

Probability Moon by Nancy Kress

This was our bookgroup book for the month and we had one of those very uneven divides about it. I liked it, and so did someone who had time to read the other two. The others were upset that a lengthy prologue had characters that never showed up again. I looked at it as a first act, and told them that, and offered to email David Hartwell to find out. After all, our next book, Family Trade, is only half a book -- Tor decided to publish the original book in two halves, so maybe this one got published in thirds.

In the future, there are two primary states on Earth, plus others on Mars, Luna, and the Belt. We've found a star tunnel from an alien race that has interesting properties. We've met a lot of other humanoid races -- differing from us by very small amounts -- and one of them, rather than saying "hi," is trying to kill us. We've never spoken to the Fallers (no idea where that name comes from) or seen them, but they're trying to kill us.

We're sending anthropological teams to the planets with people like us and the prologue starts with the all-powerful military guy for Earthspace getting some kind of notice about one particular planet. Another team is sent, but along with them is a retired scientist and staff because the first team found that one of the moons is a manufactured item, made of materials like the space tunnels.

The book has two stories -- what happens down on the planet as the team struggles to seem welcome to a race that has "shared-reality," and what happens in space as the moon is investigated. All the action is in the last part of the book and while it reaches a sufficient ending, it's not a very satisfying one. I suspect you should plan on reading all three books to really get the story.
20111112, Marilee

Coooold Days

No snow melted today, even though it was sunny all day. Tomorrow is supposed to be the coldest day in the winter and I'm debating staying in and getting groceries on Tuesday, but I have three doctors appts on Wednesday and Thursday and it would be nice to have a day of rest between groceries and doctors.

We had two new people at bookgroup last night as well as two irregular attendees for 14 people, which is our record. (We're always at the top, though, most of the other library bookgroups run at five or six people each time.) One of the new folks will probably come back -- she joined in, laughed at some of the jokes, rolled her eyes at others, and checked out the next book. The other new person will probably not come back. He was there providing support to the woman I helped with Medicare -- she had a friend murdered this week. The guy who is the big jokester embarrassed our librarian/fan leader and she was still mad at him at the end of dinner last night.

We ate at Kobe, a teppenyaki restaurant, with eight members of the bookgroup and four additional children (some adult) and squeezed around a table that is usually squeezed with 10 people. Since we had to yell to talk over the table, we probably should have broken up into two groups of six. Nice performance by the chef, although the waitress got both parts of one woman's order wrong and she had been very specific. I had steak and scallops (didn't have any protein Friday to balance, because I figured we'd go out somewhere) and was stuffed when I got home.