Question of the Day: I’m reading (or about to read)…

27 08 2006

altered-carbon.jpg
What books are on your nightstand?

I’m currently reading a sci-fi novel, Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan. I don’t usually read science fiction, but I saw a favorable review of AC a couple of years ago and the book went into the queue. (It takes a long while for a book to bubble to the top.) I like it because it’s as much an old-fashioned detective novel as a sci-fi novel. When I started it, I kept having to re-read paragraphs just to figure out the “science” behind AC‘s universe. Soon though, I was just enjoying the murder mystery—or, at least, the kind of murder mystery in which the victim is still alive. (Really.)

It took me a few hundred pages to warm up to the “hero,” Takeshi Kovacs. I want to root for him, and—at least in some respects—the novel sets the reader up to do so. On the other hand, in one particular scene, Kovacs committed such startling violence that I wasn’t sure for awhile whether I wanted him to win in the end. How sympathetic is a leading man who generously and wantonly levels “Real Death” (as opposed to the not-so-real death suffered by the murder victim) to many who don’t even really stand in his way? Not so much. So I’ve still got some doubts about Takeshi Kovacs. I’ll let you know what I decide in the end.

What might I pick up next from the nightstand? I’m not sure. I haven’t read Joan Hess’s Malpractice in Maggody, the latest in one of my favorite series of cozy mysteries. (I’m actually a bigger fan of Hess’s other series, the Claire Malloy novels. Shouldn’t one of those be coming out soon?) I also recently picked up Miss American Pie, a memoir by Margaret Santor; I heard Santor interviewed on NPR, and I was completely taken with her stories of coming in age in 1970s Alabama. Other options: A Mathematician at the Ballpark, Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, and a biography of Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis that I’ve been intending to read for years.

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One response

3 09 2006
Jay

In case you were wondering, I decided—in the end—that Takeshi Kovacs was more redeemable than not. I might even read the sequel, Broken Angels.

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