Words, Words, Words

June 5, 2000

It's been a long time since my last entry, mostly because I've been lazy, but partly because my hand hasn't been doing well and I haven't felt much like typing. Physical therapy hasn't been helping much, so last week my therapist put my hand in a cast to see if that could force it to straighten out some. We were able to get five more degrees of movement after taking it out, so she put it in another cast to see if she could get another five degrees. The bones have been pulled out of place, so she thinks that's all we'll be able to get, and it hurts enough that I'd agree. (I've been able to keep the pain under control with aspirin, but this kind of persistent ache can't be good.)

I'd like to finish the book entry I started last time, so I'll try to be brief. Down There in Darkness is George Turner's last novel. I reviewed his short story collection A Pursuit of Miracles a while ago, and recommend it highly as an introduction to his work. Code of Conduct, Kristine Smith's first novel, earned her a Campbell nomination. I found it an adequate work, not my kind of thing, but with interesting cultural and alien ways of thinking. She could very well end up with my vote. Rift by Walter Jon Williams is a huge disaster novel about an enormous earthquake in the Midwest which I'm very much looking forward to reading.

Dear Genius is a book of letters by Ursula Nordstrom, a prominent children's book editor. A Gift Imprisoned is a biography of the poet Matthew Arnold, about whom I know nothing. The Remaking of an American is the autobiography of Elizabeth Banks, an early 20th century journalist and social reformer. They all caught my fancy when I was browsing Amazon.com's reviews.

The last of my order from Amazon.com was Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature. It sounded really interesting, but I didn't realize how big it was--coffee-table size, far too big to lug around on the subway. I have no idea when I'll manage to read the ungainly thing.

Finally, I bought five books at Olsson's, the local independent bookstore. Shadow of Ararat is another Campbell-nominee first novel, this time by Thomas Harlan. I would have bought Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson simply because it made the Hugo ballot, but I've been looking forward to the paperback anyway, because it sounds like the kind of erudite novel I can really have fun with. Christopher Priest is another writer I can count on for intellectually stimulating material--this time in the high-brow literary tricksy way--so I grabbed his new paperback, The Extremes, without even reading the back cover copy. I've enjoyed Nathan Englander's stories in Story magazine, so I bought his new collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges. Finally, I bought Why We Buy by Paco Underhill on a whim. Some interesting stuff in there, but not a keeper.

There's more that I need to catch up on, perhaps in my next entry.

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