Reading 2010 vol 5

Didn’t do a lot of reading while working and on the road…

God’s Mountain – Erri De Luca

Picked this up quite at random from the library. A delightful light coming of age fable, gorgeously written; sort of warm and fuzzy without sucking.

Save the Cat – Blake Snyder

Pragmatic practical book on screenwriting for commercial success. Both a map of everything that is wrong with a Hollywood movie, and a description of why they are that way (they work, and make $$). Both loved and hated it, and would definitely and strongly recommend it to screenwriting types. It certainly changed the way I think about movies, and to an extent, stories.

Neuromancer – William Gibson

A rare re-read. Was probably at least 13-15 years since I read it the first time. At that time, it didn’t have much impact – I read it after Count Zero and Burning Chrome, and it all blurred together, diluting the originality of vision. I didn’t get why the legend status.

This time, I was surprised by how fresh it felt. A lot of the detail and references that would have washed over my younger self made sense, and the curve it was way ahead along at the time stands out. I enjoyed the first half a lot, the characters, setting and setup – the Straylight run itself was just the working out of things, and less interesting. Its influence on SF and culture since becomes clear, as do its influences – Alfred Bester looms heavily in the background.

But yeah. Good shit. Think I still prefer Pattern Recognition as a novel, but now I ‘get’ Neuromancer. (And what the hell was Gibson on when he wrote this?)

Shadows in the Sun – Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire by Wade Davis.

Wade Davis is fucking amazing. Have been binging on him lately, because it is just so good. I highly recommend his 2009 Massey lectures and TED talks.

This collection so far contains the best essay I’ve ever read on Haiti/voodoo, one of the best essays on shamanism I’ve ever read, and a pretty excellent one on psychedelics…

Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky

The intersections and evolution of social media, communications tools, and group behaviour. Skimmable but brilliant and necessary if you are interested in this area. (Looking at you, Morgue.)

2 Responses to “Reading 2010 vol 5”

  1.   morgue
    August 23rd, 2010 | 6:30 am

    Heh. Shirky’ sbook has been on my list since before it came out. Must track down a copy one of these days.

    billy Reply:

    Yeah, I was surprised how recent it was given how long I’d been aware of it…