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Author Topic: Anyone read Snow Crash?  (Read 661 times)
jonzr
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« on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:20 »

by Neal Stephenson?

Just finished it the other day and enjoyed it thoroughly.  It was an early 90's book, one of the cyberpunk forerunners.  Interesting stuff with the Sumerian myths, creation myths and the theories on linguistics and thought.  I almost put it down though.  The beginning seemed overly dense and slow but after ~75 pgs it started flowing and ended up a great read, a fun, sci-fi adventure.

But I ask b/c it seems like Finny mentioned reading one of Stephenson's more recent works - how did you like it?  I've read some opinions that his more recent books are much longer and tougher to slog through. 

Started Confederacy of Dunces last night.  Ignatius gets on my nerves, but I've read so much good about this book I'll give it a shot, it's only 500 pages or so anyways.
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:30 »

Finished Cryptonomicon a little while back, and while it tilts close to 1K pages, I enjoyed the ride.  Wasn't always sure where it was headed, but a good summer read.  Thing is, NS takes those same themes and character families and expands them in some shit called The Baroque Cycle, which, IIRC, is 8 books long.  Sorry, gonna have to wait for that one.  But thanks for the rec on Snow Crash.

Read Confederacy so long ago I forget it, think I got the book when it came out in 1980, so ~16?  I remember enjoying the characters and the tone of it, but not much about the plot. 

Loved Patti Smith's Just Kids, and see that she's writing another memoir.  Also, JK may become a film.  Also really enjoyed Born to Run, which is a well-told story of ultra-marathoners, enjoyable even if you don't run, but inspiring if you do.  Started and finished those books almost exactly the same time.

Now reading Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Nathaniel Philbrick's The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little BighornCorrections is going pretty quickly, has some good characters/setup, but sometimes Franzen's not only clever, but he knows he's clever, which is a bit annoying.  Still worth the read.  Piled up a bunch of Native American books at a used book sale this summer (also Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Black Elk Speaks).  So far the Custer book is setting the table well, not making either the hero or the demon.
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 22, 2011 at 11:40 »

Will have to check out Just Kids, I bet that is interesting stuff.  OK, a few more finished recently which I'd recommend.  

First off is Lint by Steve Aylett.  This is a bizarre book, surreal.  It's the biography of Jeff Lint, a fictional, pulp sci-fi writer whose career spans 60's up till the 90's.  The descriptions of Lint's books, their titles (Jellyfish Result, Nose Furnace, The Man Who Gave Birth to His Arse, et. al.), his brief foray into animation, his process ("sometimes I found the words didn't appreciate what I was trying to do with them" or something like that) are hilarious and confusing.  Can't think of another way to describe it.  I plan to seek out more by this author.

Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes.  It's what you think.  Good read, he basically says people get fat more b/c they eat too many carbs and not so much b/c they eat too much.  Lots of discussion of how insulin is dumped into the blood stream and why, how fat is stored, why the rate of type II diabetes has skyrocketed.  And he backs all this up with clinical studies, looking all the way back to the early 1900s.  He disses the FDA's food pyramid, low fat diets and claims they're flat out dangerous.

Ready Player One by Earnest Cline.  Light sci-fi read.  Very fun adventure with tons of 80's nostalgia and a cyberspace theme.  It immediately pulled me in and had a great flow, fun characters, good vs evil, underdogs vs The Man, etc.  Great read.
« Last Edit: Sep 22, 2011 at 14:59 by jonzr » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: Sep 22, 2011 at 17:16 »

I am about halfway through the Baroque cycle (though I'm pretty sure it's just 3 books). The first one was pretty good, the second has drraaaaagged. Thus, I am only halfway done with the series about 2 years later, since I haven't been able to force my way through the second.

Still, I highly recommend Cryptonomicon.  It's a great stand-alone book.
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 22, 2011 at 18:33 »

Well I've had no time at all to read for fun since the spring between having to write a book review-- which for academic purposes means not reading one book, but about 10-- and getting ready for my tenure interview (which is tomorrow).   Had Nabokov's collected short stories on the stack for the summer, but never got to it.

Cryptonomicon intrigues, though.  I don't want to be the only board NNNNEEEEERRRRRRDDD who hasn't read it.
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 22, 2011 at 19:20 »

I am about halfway through the Baroque cycle (though I'm pretty sure it's just 3 books). The first one was pretty good, the second has drraaaaagged. Thus, I am only halfway done with the series about 2 years later, since I haven't been able to force my way through the second.

Still, I highly recommend Cryptonomicon.  It's a great stand-alone book.


We're both right.

Three volumes, eight books.
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 23, 2011 at 07:53 »

Well I've had no time at all to read for fun since the spring between having to write a book review-- which for academic purposes means not reading one book, but about 10-- and getting ready for my tenure interview (which is tomorrow).  
Ten books for one review?  How does that work?  Let's see, the book plus 9 other reviews or discussions?

Had Nabokov's collected short stories on the stack for the summer, but never got to it.

Nabokov, yeah, he's the old man in that song by the Police right?
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 23, 2011 at 08:18 »

I've been meaning to read Nabokov's short stories. 

Read Gary Taubes's Good Calories, Bad Calories, and found it exhaustive, exhausting.  I think Why We Get Fat is sort of the abridged version, not much new but redone for readability.  Good:  Taubes questions the accepted dietary canon with often surprising results.  Americans are clearly eating too many carbs, of the wrong kinds.  The lack of critical thought in the field of nutrition has produced a sort of cascade error.  Bad:  Taubes seems to indict nutritional reductionism when it comes to demonizing dietary fat, but then seems to do the same thing with carbohydrates, rather than seeing macronutrients as synchronistic.  Does not see qualitative food differences (organic v. industrial, grass-fed v. corn-fed, synthetic sweeteners are OK?).

Steve Aylett sounds interesting, never heard of him...
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 23, 2011 at 08:50 »

I read BIKE magazine.  12 volumes per year, absolutely endless!!!!!

I gotta get back to my deep thoughts now.  Mmmmmmm, ham.
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 23, 2011 at 09:27 »

Ten books for one review?  How does that work?  Let's see, the book plus 9 other reviews or discussions?

There's always shit cited in footnotes or the bibliography that needs chased down for accuracy, or that you haven't read but which forms a part of the argument.  It's not really like a literary review at all.
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 23, 2011 at 10:12 »

Ten books for one review?  How does that work?  Let's see, the book plus 9 other reviews or discussions?

There's always shit cited in footnotes or the bibliography that needs chased down for accuracy, or that you haven't read but which forms a part of the argument.  It's not really like a literary review at all.

Ah.  BTW, good luck with the tenure interview!
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 23, 2011 at 10:47 »

Ah.  BTW, good luck with the tenure interview!

Thanks... it's over now.  I think I fairly rocked it, but won't find out until december.  It's a public school, it has to go through 3 more committees!
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« Reply #12 on: Oct 18, 2011 at 08:24 »

Finished Confederacy of Dunces last night and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  That Ignatius is not a sympathetic character though.  Can't say what I expected from a Pulitzer winner but this wasn't it.  I'd recommend it though, a good read.
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