Category Archives: Books

I Hate Peter Jackson’s Vision Of Middle Earth

None of his movies portray a version that matches the one I’ve had in my head since I was…9?….I think.

It’s a fine cinematographic portrayal and I sort of  enjoy them but I also have my usual low-level seething rage about life in general boiling up whenever he does something that I specifically disagree with. And I’m pretty sure I’m a better scholar of Tolkein’s work than he is *g*.  Still dead to me ;-).

 

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Since Everyone Is Doing It

I might as well too.
NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels – ones in bold face type I have read:

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert – I have read the Trilogy
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Thank goodness there was only 1 Peter Beagle in there.

I had dinner with Neal Stephenson (and probably 15 other people at the same table, but he sat just about across from me) once – interesting fellow.


Weeding

No, not in a garden. Sheesh.

Fine – deselection as a facet of collection development. Not everyone realizes that librarians are perfectly happy getting rid of books if A: there is a more current version available, B: the information in it is just so outdated as to not be useful or reliable, C: it hasn’t circulated in a very long time (and there’s other titles in the call number since you have to account for in-library use), and/or D: <insert reason that you feel is valid but that you can also justify to any combination of:  your library director, other librarians, administration, faculty, staff, students, community users , random people on the street, cats, dogs, and birds – not necessarily in that order>

So, I’m at the library trying to weed the reference collection. And I keep running into this problem – I’d dump print resources if there is a good online version in  a heartbeat. A good example is the Statistical Abstract of the United States. It’s available online from the Census Bureau, it is much more usable than it was even a few years ago, and *all* the data is there; slice-able, dice-able, easy to manipulate.

And then I remember that not everyone is comfortable with technology, especially web-based searching a web-based database searching, the way I am (which is unfortunate but true). And that we receive a print Statistical Abstract from the GPO every time it comes out at a relatively low cost, and there will be that person who doesn’t want to deal with the website, or just wants to see it in print, or whatever, so I should just leave it alone.

And yet it takes up a whole shelf of a 5 tier unit. Real estate…having it available in print…real estate…

When in doubt leave it alone. I guess *sigh*.


What I’m Reading

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

From Amazon:

Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost.

It’s quite good. I liked the premise, and once I started it I sat up til 12:30 burning through the first 5 chapters in one sitting. It’s gotten 2,209 4- or 5-star reviews on Amazon out of a total of 2,405 which I usually find to be a good recommendation  (and the 1-star reviews were the sort of lengthy, well thought out negative reviews that are so personal you either agree with them or ignore them, and which I also find useful and a good recommendation because they usually mean the book has sufficient substance for people to take the time to write them).

It is the first of a trilogy – I have my doubts about the story’s ability to hold up across 3 books but we’ll see,

Evidently it is being made into a movie, which should be interesting. I’m not entirely sure about the casting but I haven’t seen a lot of the younger folks act in anything (I may have seen Jennifer Lawrence on the Bill Engvall Show when she was younger, and of course pictures of her at the Oscars last February cluttered my RSS feeds for weeks *g*) so I just don’t know. Woody Harrelson as an obnoxious, drunken former Games winner intrigues me; I’m thinking a drunken version of Tallahassee from Zombieland.


What I’m Reading Part ?

Just in case you’re interested *g*.

Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, in the order they were published and without all the filler/edits/etc. I haven’t read them in years, I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed them.


Currently Reading…

I think I’m going to start doing regular posts about what I am currently reading. This presupposes that any of the 7 of you out there who read this blog care about what I’m reading *g*, but it’s also partially because as an academic reference librarian I see LOTS AND LOTS of book reviews and often come across some very interesting items that I think deserve some web promotion (hey, nice run-on sentence!).

Saturday I started on this:

Urban theorist Davis takes a global approach to documenting the astonishing depth of squalid poverty that dominates the lives of the planet’s increasingly urban population, detailing poor urban communities from Cape Town and Caracas to Casablanca and Khartoum. Davis argues health, justice and social issues associated with gargantuan slums (the largest, in Mexico City, has an estimated population of 4 million) get overlooked in world politics: “The demonizing rhetorics of the various international ‘wars’ on terrorism, drugs, and crime are so much semantic apartheid: they construct epistemological walls around gecekondus, favelas, and chawls that disable any honest debate about the daily violence of economic exclusion.” Though Davis focuses on individual communities, he presents statistics showing the skyrocketing population and number of “megaslums” (informally, “stinking mountains of shit” or, formally, “when shanty-towns and squatter communities merge in continuous belts of informal housing and poverty, usually on the urban periphery”) since the 1960s. Layered over the hard numbers are a fascinating grid of specific area studies and sub-topics ranging from how the Olympics has spurred the forceful relocation of thousands (and, sometimes, hundreds of thousands) of the urban poor, to the conversion of formerly second world countries to third world status. Davis paints a bleak picture of the upward trend in urbanization and maintains a stark outlook for slum-dwellers’ futures.

It’s interesting, and more than a little frightening. If you look at how fast urban populations are growing, and how this growth largely has NOTHING to do with modernization or income increases, you start to get a sense for how much of the world lives in a fashion of which I, as an upper middle class American, have exactly ZERO knowledge or understanding. While I was intellectually aware of this, I hadn’t given it any actual thought – now I am starting to do so.