October ’12 was…

October 2012 was started out to sea. We landed on Monhegan sandwiched between the bustling start of Trap Day and the slowing end of tourist season. As a nod to the death of summer we readied our psyches to the coming winter. The island had shed its summer greens and stood cloaked in red rust brown and burnt yellow hues. Hiking the trails was at once magical and sobering. It was easy to curl up with a good book every night and read for at least two hours straight (something I never get to do at home unless it’s an off day). And speaking of the books, here they are:

  • Persian Boy by Mary Renault ~ a continuation of the series about Alexander the Great. I started this in September to keep the story going.
  • Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ~ in honor of Halloween (duh). Probably one of my favorite books of the month. I read this in three days.
  • The Outermost House: a year of life on the great beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston ~ in honor of October being Animal Month. The best book for me to read on an island; finished it in three days.
  • Lives of the Painters, Vol. 1 by Giorgio Vasari ~ in honor of October being Art Appreciation month. This was just ridiculous to read. There were a lot of errors according to the translator. I ended up skipping every biography that had a contradiction or error in it.As a result, finished it in two weeks.
  • Hackers edited by Jack Dann ~ in honor of October being Computer Awareness month. This was cool to read. I read three stories a night and finished it in four days.
  • The Dialect of Sex: the Case For Feminist Revolution by Shulamith Firestone ~ in honor of breast cancer awareness month and strong women everywhere. I didn’t completely finish this, but I got the gist of it.
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan ~ in honor of the Amsterdam marathon taking place in October. I read this in four and a half days. Easy and very entertaining!
  • The Clerkenwell Tales by Peter Ackroyd ~in honor of Ackroyd’s birth month. This was short, a little over 200 pages, but I took my time reading it – almost three weeks!

The audio book I chose for October was The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell. This took forever to listen to! I felt like I was constantly plugged into the story. I listened to it on the drive home from Maine, to and from work everyday. even while I was working out, while I cooking. It was a great story, worth every hour between the earphones. Can’t wait to read other Mankell stories!

For LibraryThing’s Early Review program I read Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave Introduced French Cuisine to America by Thomas J. Craughwell. While I thought I would enjoy this book (TJ is one of my favorite past presidents and I’m wild about food) it fell a little flat for me. I stopped reading on page 200. I also started reading Clay by Melissa Harrison. It was refreshing to get a first-time fiction from LibraryThing!

One thing that I failed to mention about October (and this is related to the books) is that I am back to requesting books from other libraries! Yay yay yay! This was halted in June of 2011 because we were switching ILSs and at the time I figured it would be a good opportunity to read what was on my own shelf and in my own library. Now, nearly 17 months later I am back to having hundreds of libraries to order from. Thank gawd!

We ended October with a freak storm people were calling Frankenstorm in honor of being so close to Halloween. Although we prepared like hell we saw little damage, thankfully. My thoughts and prayers go out to those in New Jersey and New York. It’s sad to see my old haunts get battered around so…


Hackers

Hackers. Dann, Jack and Gardner Dozois, eds. New York: Ace Books, 1996.

Hackers is an eclectic mix of short stories about a techno-subculture called hackers. Most of the stories are written by well known and respected science fiction writers.  Each story is prefaced with a short bio about the author and many of them are authors already on my Lust list. The list of stories is as follows:

  • “Burning Chrome” by William Gibson
  • “Spirit of the Night” by Tom Maddox
  • “Blood Sisters” by Greg Egan (probably my favorite since I would have done the same thing had it been my sister.)
  • “Rock On” by Pat Cadigan (I didn’t get this one at all.)
  • “The Pardoner’s Tale” by Robert Silverberg ~ I liked this one a lot
  • “Living Will” by Alexander Jablokov
  • “Dogfight” by Michael Swanwick and William Gibson
  • “Our Neural Chernobyl” by Bruce Sterling
  • “(Learning About) Sex Machine” by Candas Jane Dorsey
  • “Conversations With Michael” by Daniel Marcus
  • “Gene Wars” by Paul J McAuley
  • “Spew” by Neal Stephenson
  • “Tangents” by Greg Bear (weird!)

Favorite line: From “Living Will” by Alexander Jablokov, “Gerald set his drink down carefully and put his arm around his friend’s shoulders, something he rarely did. And they sat there in the silent study, two old friends stuck at the wrong end of time” (p 111). This story in particular was very human and very sad.

Reason read: October is Computer month. I have to admit it took me some time to get used to words like cybernetic, fiberoptic and simstim.

Best lines, “That was the summer that I finally managed to hack into a Pentagon computer – just an office supplies purchasing system, but Paula was suitably impressed (and neither of us had ever guessed that paperclips were so expensive)” (p 50).

Author Fact: Since there are a bunch of authors I settled on writing about my favorite

Book Trivia: Even though this was compiled in the mid-90s, most of the stories are highly readable even today. the only element of the anthology that was dated was each introduction that introduced the author as “new” to the scene of science fiction writing.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Cyberspace.Com” (p 69).