Orion Reads
a diary of books etc.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Twain, LeGuinn, Robert Oppenheimer, The Strand

It's been a while since i wrote here,
mostly because i thought i wasn't really reading anything,
but it sneaks up on you.

I finished reading Twain's Roughing It. I didn't actually read the last fifth or so, but i was finished with it anyhow. It's nice, but i finally got bored a bit before he goes to Hawaii.

I'm nearly done with The Compass Rose by Ursula LeGuinn. I think one of my favorite things about LeGuinn is how i continue to find books by her which i haven't read. This book is a collection of short stories from about 1972 to 1985 or so. Most of them are typical LeGuinnian excellence, but there's a couple duds. My favorite so far is Intracom, which portrays a goofy spaceship crew on a goofy interstellar mission. The crew are all basically comically incompetent, and there's lots of simple gender humor. (The only male is named Mr. Balls, for instance) Finally an alien develops on board and threatens to waylay the entire mission, but the crew decides to accept this and pretty much sacrafice their unknown mission to the well-being of the alien monster. Altho there were many clues i only realized pretty close to the end that it's an allegory for pregnancy. It's a rare sample of 'clever' writing which satisfies rather than annoys. If you can grab that story, it's super. Even tho i've now given it away. Oh, The White Donkey is also one of the most beautiful unicorn stories ever written. And shortest; it's like three pages. It was included here.

I've started American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. It's a 2005 biography of Robert Oppenheimer, whom i feel like i should know about for some reason. I think i want to identify with him. This is only the second biography i've ever read, i think.

I once saw a movie that was just a collection of films of nuclear explosion tests. It may have had a classical music score. I'd like to get hold of it again. If you totally remove them from any context they're amazingly beautiful. And thus crushing, because you can't remove their context.

Over the weekend Michelle and i visited Patrick and Janina in Philadelphia, and went to The Strand bookstore in New York. - I'd apparently never been in a bookstore before. In about an hour the four of us spent close to $500. ($200 being Janina) Basically that store has every book, cheap.


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