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June 24, 2004

Summer Reading Lists

Dear Michael:

While trolling Romenesko, I clicked on a link by accident and found this useful article which is Chip Scanlan's summer reading list plus a whole bunch of links to other people's summer reading lists; here.

I'm going to attempt to read a whole book this summer: Robert Kurson's "Shadow Divers," about two wreck divers off the coast of New Jersey who found that mysterious U-boat full of Nazi skeletons. It got a big ole slobbery kiss from Janet Maslin in today's New York Times; here.


posted by Vanessa at June 24, 2004


The Wife and I head off on vacation next week, and are taking along a bunch of noir and detective novels: David Goodis, Jim Thompson and Ross MacDonald. Highclass stuff. I wonder how many we'll get through. Summer-reading season usually means summer-snoozing season for me.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 24, 2004 5:17 PM

That's a good and interesting set of reading lists you linked to, BTW.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 24, 2004 5:47 PM

That's what I call Slow Reading...

Posted by: Tatyana on June 25, 2004 9:34 AM

Michael, from the article on Neuromancer: "I'd never, ever choose to spend fantasy time in a drizzly, silicon-implanted, cyber-decaying, back-alley Tokyo. This world looks like a nightmare to me, and not an alluring one. It doesn't turn me on and make me want to battle it out with bad guys; instead it makes my brain hurt."

Michael, here: "...taking along a bunch of noir and detective novels...."

So you're OK with drizzly, cigarette-smoking, booze-soaked-decaying, back-alley Chicago, LA, New York, wherever? I guess I'm curious about what you see as the difference.

For me, one of the more striking things about Neuromancer was the minimal difference in tone and atmosphere between it and, say, Chinatown. Sure, the props are different, but the dominant theme is "little guy versus the corrupt establishment".

And the language, "The bartender's smile widened. His ugliness was the stuff of legend.... She looked [protagonist] in the eye and made the softest possible spitting sound, her lips barely moving. But she left." William Gibson or Dashiell Hammett? If you hadn't just listened to Neuromancer, could you be sure?

And FWIW, I'd probably put Sam Spade into the group of men who see women as accessories, along with most hard-boiled action heroes.

Lest I be misunderstood, I'm not trying either to denigrate your choices of what to read or to change them. I'm just curious about your (seemingly) visceral dislike for anything that smacks of SF.

Posted by: Doug Sundseth on June 25, 2004 12:19 PM

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