Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Closing tabs

A few weeks ago B. sent me a link with the subject line "A Young Scientist's Illustrated Primer," and it inevitably gave me an irresistible urge to reread what is surely my favorite Neal Stephenson novel, The Diamond Age.  I first read it c. 2001 or so, when I picked up a used mass-market paperback from the science-fiction-oriented table in front of Milano Market, and it was something of a revelation.  It  is the perfect book for me! 

(I think my two other favorites of Stephenson's are Cryptonomicon, which I read in a single sitting on the redeye flight back from Seattle when I was doing the low-budget book tour for Heredity - in certain respects, the length of Stephenson's novels is a vice, but for travel reading, it's a huge virtue, and I think I can also say with some specificity that though I bought a hardcover copy of Anathem, I didn't actually read it until I purchased a second copy for Kindle and devoured it on the trip we took last year to Costa Rica.  Snow Crash is more iconic, perhaps, but it doesn't hold as dear a place in my heart...)

Anyway, the reread totally lived up to my memory of it (I've probably read it a couple times before, couldn't say exactly).  Mouse army!  The texture of the primer passages is perhaps not quite as captivating as a different kind of writer might have managed, but it really is an excellent book.

Finally finished the last section of True Believers, which I'd stalled out on.  Also, this Black Cat Appreciation Day post made me realize that the two Carbonel books I knew very well as a child were followed by a third that I could actually obtain on Kindle.  It is not up to the standard of the first two, but it caused me to reflect on how I might obtain a copy of another book that represented a fantastically desirable and unavailable thing to me as a child, the fourth and final installment in Pamela Brown's Blue Door Theatre series, Maddy Again - I read the first three countless times, but this one I have never read.  Interlibrary loan?

The copyedited manuscript of The Magic Circle came back to me last night, which is exciting.  My favorite thing (I will scan and post a page of it, I think): the personalized style sheet, with all of my proper nouns and allusions tabulated in neat columns. 

About to have a morning session on the style book.  Slightly anxiety-provoking having two projects on my desk and the start of the semester so close, but everything should be manageable if I keep my head.

Miscellaneous other linkage: FBI files on Sylvia Plath's father; literary soap (underlying link is rather delightful); Tom Stoppard interviewed at More Intelligent Life.

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