reading 2012 vol 5

The Constant Gardener – John Le Carre

Surprisingly well written spy style thriller – apparently Le Carre is the top of the game in this genre, and based on this it seems true – mostly focused on how the West has fucked Africa, how unpleasant and corrupt it is, and how nasty and heinous pharmaceutical companies are – not really news, then, but this was written in 2000, when that sort of thing was more off the radar. Would be curious to explore what he is doing now.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Fun and vivid fantasy/romance set in a unique and wonderful circus that is the battleground between two real magicians. Smart and imaginative, a real crowd-pleaser, expect a film adaptation soon. Ending a little weak and cutesy, but the ride is really lovely.

The 50th Law – Robert Greene and 50 Cent

Author of the 48 laws of power teams up with rapper 50 Cent, whose life he uses as an exemplar of the application of the laws of power and getting ahead. A lightweight curiosity, but certainly has some good bits and bobs, and certainly left me with more respect for 50, who got dealt a pretty shit hand in life and did seem to claw his way up from nothing with a plan and a lot of balls.


Other than that, read over my travel diaries, which are longer than most books, which was pretty interesting in a self-indulgent way… and then the madness of the season descended.

Hmm. Skim read another book about consulting somewhere in there, too.


Currently on:

The Wind Up Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi

Really darn good so far. Set in Thailand in a very well realised near future post-ecological and economic collapse world with weird developments in biotech, really good and human characters. Can see why this won the big SF awards a year or so back.





2 Responses to “reading 2012 vol 5”

  1.   Pearce
    January 11th, 2013 | 2:51 pm

    I thought you might enjoy this series of posts by a queer Thai woman who really, really, really hated The Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.

    She’s one of my favourite bloggers just for the strength of her invective, but this is the angriest thing I’ve read by her.

    The third post is quotes from other people’s objections to the book, with commentary.

    “If you like this book or have nominated it for anything or have voted for its nomination, know that I am judging you. Judge judge judge. I’m calling you names. I’m insulting you personally. And I will not apologize, for you are furthering this man’s career and contributing to the exotification of my culture; you take a white man’s portrayal of my country at his word and fuck you fuck you fuck you go die in a fucking fire.”

  2.   billy
    January 16th, 2013 | 12:59 am

    Wow. That is some invective. Fairly unhinged, and seemingly lacking basic reading comprehension, but hey, she is welcome to her interpretation, and occasionally has points, when she bothers to make a point instead of just dripping venom everywhere.

    Fascinating how it seems to have struck a nerve, but also been subjected to weirdly divergent readings (eg from this astoundingly long rant about modern SF “When the American writer Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009) suggested that a future dominated by South East Asia might well be hell on Earth, few people considered his demonization of entire South East Asian cultures to be in anyway racist or exploitative.”

    Which is interesting as a summary because the first clause seems totally false to my reading, and at least the first half of the second… but then maybe I am just a clueless honky.

    At any rate, I enjoyed it, for its characters, plot, and setting, kind of in that order, but certainly don’t care enough to argue about it.