AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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weekend update

Rodeo Saturday!  Woo! It was fun.  It was exhibition rodeo, so it was only a couple hours, like 8 rides in 3 events.  We cheered for the Navajo guy and the kid from Washington state.  The crowd seemed relatively uninterested and it became clear later that most of them were there for the Blue Oyster Cult concert afterwards, which we left during the first song.  I mean, yeah, we wanted to hear "Don't Fear the Reaper," but surely they played it last and I didn't want to spend the $8 on a second beer I'd need to make it through a BOC concert.  We wanted rider autographs, but again, not enough to wait in line.

Friday night I worked till about 10, then Jami, Holly and I went for a drink at the nice bar across from our house where they now have three cute waiters (two new ones and the gay one we always have who used to work at the Wash).  We chatted up the waiters as the restaurant emptied out and had a nice girls night out with martinis and all (one never drinks too much when drinks cost that much, yikes).  

Saturday during the day I worked on my new jewelry projects will hopefully I will have pictures of today or tomorrow.  Then Holly and I went to Sephora and the Whole Foods body store and bought good smelling girly things.  Then the rodeo! Wheee!

Sunday we did nothing.  NOTHING!  We manage to buy some groceries and eat and otherwise did nothing but read.  I read Middlesex cover to cover and while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it in the way I expected to. I'm not sure I can pin down why, but while it was immensely readable, interesting and all there wasn't anything that grabbed me about the characters or the story specifically.  I dreamt parts of it last night, but I imagine I'll have forgotten the whole thing in the next 30 hours.

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50 Books: Book 41

Pattern Recognition
William Gibson

Pattern Recognition, William Gibson

I know it's like all Gibson all the time around here lately.  But hey, makes me happy so I'm good with it.  I had to re-read this after reading Spook Country, as it's in the same universe. Timmy Mac says PR is better than SC. I'[m not sure I agree.  I maybe love Cayce Pollard, the lead in PR more.  I recall not being completely satisfied with the ending of PR the first time I read it.  I didn't feel that way on this go round.  And yes this book was wildly enjoyable on the second read, but I really loved SC.  Jet lag is a continuous theme through this book and read it while traveling, in airports, on planes and stranded in Detroit.  I found myself dreaming myself into the story, way over identifying with Cayce's jet lag. Desert island and only one author, fuck yes it would be Gibson.

And man, 9 books in 34 days?  I need to go shopping for some seriously short fiction.

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50 Books: Book 40

Solitaire : A Novel
Kelley Eskridge

Solitaire, Kelley Eskridge 

Nice bit of SF.  Future world in which corporations have become nearly nations.  Ostracized from her corporation a girl must rebuild her own life after spending years inside solitary confinement. Not spectacular, but Eskridge builds worlds well and the book is very engrossing.  Definitely enjoyable for an afternoon's read.

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50 Books: Book 39

Serving Crazy with Curry
Amulya Malladi

Serving Crazy with Curry, Amulya Malladi

Based on the title I was expecting something light-hearted and funny. I did not expect and intense examination of suicide.  It was pretty well written, starting with the suicide and working back toward explaining what led up to it, revealing the story to us as the girl's family beginning to understand. Very good, not as depressing as it sounds and definitely owrth reading.

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50 Books: Book 38

Widdershins (Newford)
Charles de Lint

Widdershins, Charles de Lint

I have long been told to pick up Mr. de Lint's books.  I haven't been avoiding them or anything, I just only finally accidentally picked one up and was immediately sucked into this universe.  Here old world fairies, elves and mythical creatures have been transported to the new world with immigrants who came to our shores.  Old world myths and spirits from the native people's myths also exist.  A group of musicians and artists get pulled into a battle between the old a new world spirits causing them to be pulled back forth between worlds in an endless series of fantastical and often dangerous places. The book was a little darker than I expected, but greatly, amazingly, wonderfully enjoyable.  It is part of a series, or at least continuing stories from past characters.  Thrilling, I tell you, to know there's even more of this Newford universe out there to throw myself into.

I have 62 days to read 12 books.  Roughly a book every 5 days.  Yikes.  I might not make 50 this year, dammit!

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50 Books: Books 35, 36 & 37

Mona Lisa Overdrive, William Gibson

In anticipation of getting my hand son a copy of Gibson's new Spook Country, I picked up Mona Lisa Overdrive.  This was the first Gibson book I ever read in 1991 or so.  I devoured it and immediately went a read the reset of the Neuromancer trilogy in backwards order.  The story still engaged my after all these years.  Indeed, maybe I found a little more in it, since I could actually get all the references it made back to the initial books.  Great, amazing fiction.  If you have even the vaguest interest in this genre and you haven't yet read this trilogy, you should totally pick it up.

Spook Country, William Gibson

Oh, Mr. Gibson, I've had a nerd crush on you for so long.  I know other love you devoutly for the characters you've given us and the worlds you you so perfectly create, but for me it's all in your use of language.  Your writing is spare, clean and tight and yet more evocative than almost anything I've ever read.  I read your books and despair that I should ever try to be a writer and am re-invigorated again to at least try to approximate some of your magic.  Spook Country is an amazing commentary on our current world.  It contains spectacular metaphorical descriptions on the use of information and the net in our world.  Your characters seems fantastical and completely out of this world, yet so fully formed and so perfectly real that it seems impossible that you created them. Please never stop writing.  All the love in my heart, Cracker Jack Heart

Count Zero, William Gibson

Stupidly, after finishing Spook Country, I sent it off to a friend.  I needed to share it with someone, but alas, I didn't have it to read it all over again.  Fortunately I found a copy of Count Zero in used bookstore in Philadelphia.  This middle in the Neuromancer trilogy is one that I lost long ago.  It's the only book of his I've never re-read over the years.  It stands up as well as Mona Lisa did.  You can actually see the proto-Hollis (from Spook Country) here in Marly.  Gibson's prose hasn't yet reached perfection here, in the intervening 29 years he;s certainly perfected it, but the bone so fit are visible in Count Zero and it's no less enjoyable for being one if his early works.

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50 Books: Book 34

Collected Stories
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Collected Stories, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This was 26 of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short stories in chronological order of their original publication originally in Eyes of a Blue Dog, Big Mama's Funeral, and The Incredible and Sad Tale of lnnocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmother.  I kept this by my bed for a while reading one or two a night before I slept.  Because apparently I didn't think me dreams were weird enough already?  I don't know, but the book seriously gave me some crazy dreams.  The stories as Marquez's trademark magical realism, though many are more surreal and out there than others.  Especially the earlier ones.  The book as a whole is very dark, filled with death and suffering and loneliness.  Certainly what one expects from Marquez, though here it seemed quite amplified.  Like he packed the same despair into a single short story as he usually does into a book.  Despite the sadness and darkness or it, I loved this collection.  The translation was good, I rarely found myself guessing if that word was the one the author intended.  And the stories were certainly worth it for the spark to my imagination if nothing else.

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