Saturday, October 24, 2009

The rain in the Bronx is mainly over the stadium...sigh

Game 6 of the ALCS (see previous post) has been--appropriately--postponed. Apparently the skies opened up over Yankee Stadium today and so we won't see an evening of slush-ball. It's the right call, but boy am I in post-season baseball withdrawal! I'd so looked forward to today's game and can only hope for a game tomorrow.

But that has given me time to pick up...and now, put down Neil Stephenson's Anathem. Again. It's the second time I've picked it up and tried to read it. First attempt: I got to page 5. This time: page 90. I wouldn't have stuck so long, had I not read other Stephenson books (see below), and had the initial premise not been somewhat intriguing. (Other than a tiny explanation of the title, there are no spoilers here, though. You can try the 930-page tome on your own.)

Now, I really enjoyed Stephenson's early books, the brilliant cyberpunk Snowcrash and steampunk Diamond Age. I vaguely think I read Crytonomicon, although I don't really remember the book (and no, that's not a comment on the book, but rather on my memory. I can re-read a mystery book and not remember whodunit until a moment or two before s/he is unmasked.). I couldn't really get into the Baroque trilogy, but thought I'd try this one. It's a cornucopia of coined words, most of them quite clever, in terms of linguistic and sociological drift, but there are paragraphs after paragraphs of page-filling-ness (to coin my own not-so-clever word), following the best, Dickensian model (and I don't mean A Tale of Two Cities, either). The title is, itself, a play on words, combining "anthem" and "anathema." But the book is soooo slowwww, and it's really hard to care for or feel engaged with the protagonist or the characters. I got as far as I got, mostly hoping that we'd get some forward motion, and we slowwwwly did. When I find I'm skimming out of boredom and not excitement to find out what happens, and I'm not engaged by nearly the 100th page, I generally cut a book loose. So, I'm sorry, but basta cosi.

But that's okay: I've got a number of library books on my nightstand beckoning to me in the forlorn hope that I might open their pages before I leave on a jet plane (where I'll only have my Kindle, my latest Analog magazines, beloved Asus netbook, and work for company. Anything else is too heavy--but that seems like a lot already, especially the work!).

What I'm listening to: William Ludtke's Christmas Cantata. To be premiered in Berkeley in mid-December this year. My husband is an especial fan of the opening movement. ;).
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