What I've Been Reading

It turns out that I have a truly monumental backlog where it concerns books – not merely in terms of the ones I have stacked up for reading, but also regarding writing about what I’ve been reading.

It’s been three months now and I’ve read well over a dozen books, not all of which are noteworthy (or noted down) and I repeatedly failed to post my usual triptych-layout review, so I might as well do a massive dump of my notes and be done with it.

Order is not relevant (it’s not even the order in which I’ve read them), although the first entry is of especial significance to me (and, I suspect, everyone else for whom the number 42 rings a bell).

Title Author Rating Notes
And Another Thing Eoin Colfer ★★ The author is no Douglas Adams, and it shows. It’s not that the book isn’t amusing, it’s just that it simply cannot attain the degree of outlandish lateral thinking, witty dialogue and amazing narrative turns of phrase that made the original hilariously funny. Perhaps he just tried too hard, but I am too indebted to Douglas Adams for having instilled into me the habit of writing with a sense of humor to think of this as a “natural” continuation to the “H2G2”: saga. That said, the book is enjoyable enough and most of the characters’ attitudes are consistent with what we’ve come to expect, even though the overall plot isn’t. But then again, there were always inconsistencies between successive volumes in the saga…
Nightwings Robert Silverberg ★★★★★ This is an old favorite of mine (I have an old dog-eared paperback), and it still brings back memories.
Nightfall Asimov, Silverberg ★★★★★ Another old classic, still amazingly good and proof you don’t need fancy tech and aliens to do great fiction.
Colony Ben Bova ★★★ More about politics than anything. Still, it’s reasonably captivating.
Saturn ★★ Shallow, somewhat predictable, and even though it tries to depict a social experiment of sorts it soon forgets that angle.
Blindsight Peter Watts ★★★★★ Damn good “hard” Sci-fi, available for free from Feedbooks.
Starfish ★★★★ A trilogy in four parts (also available on Feedbooks in 3 files) that starts off great and then peters off into mere competence, with a bit too much post-apocalyptic scenery than plot. Still recommended in general.
Maelstrom ★★★
(part 2)
Artifact Gregory Benford ★★★★ A different take on archeology and fiction, a bit too cloak-and-dagger in some passages but enjoyable due to the well-paced plot and good writing.
The Android’s Dream John Scalzi ★★★★★ A rather different kind of book than what I’d expect from John Scalzi – his sense of humor comes through more often than in the other books I’ve read by him so far, and both the plot and characters are original and memorable. Recommended.
My family and other animals Gerald Durrell ★★★★★ Lovely, inspired writing that I hadn’t read in years.