Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Book procrastination

My continued absence reveals that I've been hard at work dissertating; my return indicates some dissertation procrastination. Some folks blog to help them keep on track. That doesn't seem to work for me; it's just one more thing I need to write and don't have time for. Anyway, today I did some thinking about books:

I wrote 8 reviews of books on LibraryThing that very few people own and no one else had reviewed, included my recent acquisition Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns. New resolution: to read as many Virago Modern Classics as I can. Just to give this post food content, I'd like to point out that I (briefly) reviewed Simple Foods for the Pack.

Also, I picked up on this sci-fi book meme (via caveat lector):

“Below is a Science Fiction Book Club list most significant SF novels between 1953-2006. The meme part of this works like so: Bold the ones you have read, strike through the ones you read and hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put a star next to the ones you love.”

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov

3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe*
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. *

13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison

18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester*
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany*
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey

22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card*
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice (I read this in French--does that count?)
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin *
31. Little, Big, John Crowley** (One of my favorite books ever)
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick*
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon*

36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys

41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson*
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester*
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein

47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Hmm. I read or started 34/50 books on the list, which is not bad odds. I may also have read some that I've forgotten about. I didn't hate any of these books, but I think I avoided reading those I'm most likely to hate, the military sf and the egregiously sexist stuff. I'm glad to see John Crowley on here; his books have recently been marketed as 'literary fiction' and I feel that reading him is enriched by thinking about his books in an sf context as well. (Hey! His new book is coming out next year on Small Beer!) This list doesn't, however, really make me want to go back and read the ones I've missed. And there are only five women on this list? Boring.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Well, I've decided to turn this from a dedicated food blog into a food/music/etc blog.

My Halloween costume was food-related: popcorn! I strung popcorn onto fishing line (and, for its second incarnation, cotton thread) and made a headdress, necklace, earrings, and bracelets of popcorn. I planned on a belt, but it proved a bit too fragile. The upsides of the costume were many: I always had a snack with me, I smelled good, I could wear whatever else I wanted, there was the possibility of sharing my costume....The only problem was that it was difficult for biking, so I had to carry the popcorn jewels carefully while me and Ol' Squeaky made our way across town. Also, at one party someone tried to eat my bracelet without permission, and I made a little fuss about asking for consent. The popcorn-stringing itself was not particularly arduous, especially while listening to the new Blow album (food reference from "Parentheses": "If something in the deli aisle makes you cry/Of course I'll put my arms around you and I'll walk you outside/Through the sliding doors/Why would I mind?"), which is fabulous and dancey, and I'm allowed to like even though DF loves them too.

Popcorn had two costume incarnations--necessary because I ate the first one, at a future-themed party. I decided I was from the time in the future when the human genome had become contaminated with GM corn, and I repeated that ad nauseum (note: get a shorter soundbite next year). For incarnation number two, on Halloween itself, me and my dear friend Triceratops went to the Triple Rock. T had a trihawk to match his three horns. Unfortunately, the place was filled with drunk straight people dressed up as sexy butterflies, and we heard some awful cover bands. At least we had popcorn to eat!