Known Johnson

July 25, 2007

Book worm

Filed under: Books — Tom @ 10:50 am

I managed to devour two books recently, which is kind of a record because I get distracted easily. I probably got into these more than usual because they’re music-related, but they were actually just good reads all around (I did, however, have a few issues with each of them) . . .

Love Is A Mix Tape is the true story of Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield dealing with the eventual loss of his wife, a fellow music junkie like he is (I’m not spoiling anything here – this happens in the first chapter). It’s pretty heart-wrenching stuff, all written from the perspective of him going through mixtapes that somehow involved their lives together. It’s a very well-written book, but at times toward the end, I started to question whether, so many years later, he could manage to maintain such a “damaged by love” attitude. It got a little tiring after a while to constantly read how this or that song impacted him emotionally so many years later. In the condensed time-frame of a book, it’s hard to conceive how he’s still curling up on the floor, sobbing, at the loss of his wife many years after the event. I’m not saying it can’t happen, I’m saying that his writing didn’t realistically convey to me, the reader, why these songs or memories knock him down after so long. I will say, however, that her death later in the book (like I said, I’m not spoiling anything – he is upfront about her fate in the first chapter) was one of the most emotional moments I’ve ever read in a book. It was beautifully rendered, and it made it all the more difficult to deal with what wasn’t so well rendered.

Perfect From Now On is an all together different sort of read. Light-hearted and fast-paced, it’s good for those music lovers who want to read about a fellow obsessive music lover’s trials and tribulations . . . with music. It’s written basically like a blog after the gripping first chapter, and gets a little too “in crowd” in the last few chapters, which deal with his infatuation with the all-together too-easily infatuatable Guided By Voices, but overall if you don’t mind the blog-style writing, it’s a fun, rewarding read, especially for music freaks like me.

Isaac Asimov’s Prelude to Foundation I’ve just begun, but I can see I could have a hard time with this one. I opted for this one because I’ve been meaning to check out Asimove for ages and figured that the book he wrote later in the series as an introduction to it might be the best way to get started. Now I’m not sure. First things first – I’m not a “fantasy sci-fi” reader by any means. My interest in sci-fi is in the “hard sci-fi” realm, that is to say, it deals with things that have at least some semblance of feasibility according to what we know now. I don’t deal well with people who have “powers” and such crap. I’m not saying that Foundation will be like that at all, but I’m seeing less hard sci-fi than I was hoping to see. I have a short time in which I will give a book a chance. Right now it’s already on the edge of going back on the shelf for another few years, which is where it has resided since picking it up in a used bookstore a few years back. Right now, it’s all talk, and all that talk is about some guy’s ability to mathematically deduce the future. Hmm. And it’s pretty dry writing, I hate to say it. Why all sci-fi writers can’t have Arthur C. Clarke’s beautiful ability to meld the technical with the human, I don’t know, but it’s what keeps me from ever being a particularly big fan of the genre.


1 Comment »

  1. […] . . . finished two books (Love Is A Mix Tape and Perfect From Now On) and started a third (Isaac Asimov’s Prelude to Foundation.) I won’t bother with details here – I already did that over there. […]

    Pingback by Known Johnson | Born on a desert floor, you’ve the deepest thirst » Blog Archive » Various and sundry: all of July, basically — July 25, 2007 @ 11:04 am | Reply

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