Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What We're Reading Wednesday: Aug. 3

For the WWW blog:

What I've finished reading:

"The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown": New York writer Paul Malmont follows up his pulp-inspired novel "The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril" with a sequel that involves many of the same characters, particularly the SF writers Robert Heinlein (pre-libertarian) and L. Ron Hubbard (pre-clams). This time, Malmont brings in two new  characters -- the young chemist and SF aspirant Isaac Asimov and the fantasy writer L. Sprague de Camp.. The plot involves a research team at the Philadelphia Naval Yard made up almost entirely of SF writers and weaves a tale around Tesla, the Tunguska Event, nuclear fission, the Empire State Building, the "Philadelphia experiment," Alaska, Tonga and the weird guy who started JPL. Plus, there's a cameo featuring a Air Corps pilot you'll recognize at once. It's even more fun if you're familiar with the works of the SF writers.

"Newsreel": I think I set some kind of record for the time elapsed between buying a novel and reading it. I bought this one in 1981 when it came out, and I just finished it a couple of days ago -- 30 years! It's a first edition I've hauled along with me on several moves. The novel is by Irvin Faust, who was the head guidance counselor at my high school (and who advised me on the novella I wrote as a senior project). He frequently makes lists of neglected mid-list writers. His narrator, Speed, is a World War II veteran set adrift in New York; he goes through several careers (actor, journalist, fiction writer) and a couple of marriages as he obsesses over his experiences in the "ETO" and his love for Dwight Eisenhower (he wants his daughter to marry David). It's a furious, ribald excursion through the 1940s, '50s and '60s written from the still-fresh perspective of the 1970s.

What I'm reading now:

I got an advance copy through Amazon Vine of "The Leftovers" by Tom Perrotta, and I started right in on it. The novel looks at life in a leafy suburb three years after many people around the world disappeared -- but no one's sure if it was the Rapture or not. People seem to have been taken randomly. People start veering off into cults or affairs or alcohol or drugs -- things are coming unglued. So far, so good.

What I'll read next:

I'll return to "The Indian Clerk" by David Leavitt, which I started reading after "Newsreel," then I'll probably tackle another advance copy -- first novel "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach.


Susan Oloier said...

You sound like me: I keep books on my shelves for years before reading some of them. But I don't think I have any that are 30 years old :-).
Nice list! Happy reading!

Anya Millar said...

Interesting and varied reads. I can't stop a book and read something else without having to restart the first book. Kudos to you!

WWW @ House Millar

LibrarySnake said...

I have The Leftovers in my list also, sounds really good :)

here's mine: