Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Two books you should read

I am nearly done with Edward Jones's Lost in the City. You probably don't own this, as the initial run sold only 5,000 copies, or so I saw in an interview. His stories are exceptionally good, and even better almost uniformly good. Most short story collections are like most CDs. Maybe 40% of the content is good, the rest being filler. This one is like Murmur, every one a keeper.

My wife has complained that short stories are just about sadness, and there is some truth in this. Jones's stuff is often sad, but isn't just that. I rather like his story "Orange Line Train to Ballston," is a slice of life story about a woman trying to time her Metro rides to see a man she fancies. Others are darker, including a story about a woman who raised her own son and helped raise another woman's boy. Speed up twenty years, and her son is rising in the gang hierarchy while the other is late on payments. Doesn't end well as you can imagine. Go get this one.

On the scifi side, I am reading Pushing Ice, by Alaistair Reynolds. I've really quite liked Reynolds other work, which was far future space opera, but felt he could have used more editing. His other books were just too long. This one is far tighter and moves quickly. What's impressive is that he takes a standard scifi concept, first contact with a strange alien object and makes it exciting.

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