Monday, February 4, 2019

2018: The Third Quarter Summary

It wasn’t too bad a quarter, at least not as measured by the number of books completed. I was helped along by the fact that many of them contained Elric stories, and I developed a certain momentum to finish them.

Books Completed

  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Daughter of Dreams by Michael Moorcock
  • Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories by Michael Moorcock
  • Elric: The Fortress of the Pearl by Michael Moorcock
  • Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress by Michael Moorcock
  • Elric: The Revenge of the Rose by Michael Moorcock
  • Elric: The Sailor on the Seas of Fate by Michael Moorcock
  • Elric: Stormbringer!
  • Jhereg by Stephen Brust
  • Yendi by Stephen Brust
  • Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey

I’ve written extensively about the Elric books in the blog. Several of these really did not seem to be worth my time, especially Elric: The Fortress of the Pearl and Elric: The Revenge of the Rose. Also, as I have discussed, it did not seem to improve the Elric stories to read them in their in-universe chronological order, the way the Gollancz Michael Moorcock Collections volumes present them.

Butcher Bird was unimpressive and is on the giveaway pile. The Stephen Brust novels were not bad, but not really great, either. These are the first two books in a series. Maybe I should jump ahead and try one of the much later books in the series, in the hopes that his chops have improved.

Icehenge was a surprise standout — a better book than I expected, and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Kim Stanley Robinson’s work. And Down and Out in Paris and London is a fascinating classic; it troubles a contemporary reader with some racial and ethnic and misogynist bits and pieces, but it remains an interesting study of the subculture of the underclass, and the author’s insights into poverty and its effects are still very much worth reading.

Books Started or Continued

  • The Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction: Arthur Machen by Arthur Machen
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (bedtime reading; re-reading for me)
  • Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump by Asad Haider
  • The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
  • Tekla by Steven Brust
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (bedtime reading; re-reading for me)
  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Tales by Terry Pratchett
  • The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason by Chapo Trap House
  • Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook by Mark Bray
  • The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin
  • The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

Ypsilanti, Michigan
January 2nd, 2019 (yes, very late — I started this summary months ago, but completely forgot to finish it.)

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