Sunday, September 16, 2007

What I Read on My Summer Vacation

OK, so this is a little late - in fact, a lot late. What can I say - I've been busy reading!

So, my summer vacation (in cabin with no electricity) reading list:
1. Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters - the nth in the Amelia Peabody mystery series. Amelia is an Egyptologist from England, and these books cover her escapades (and her family's) in Egypt in the early part of the 20th century. I enjoy them for her wry humor, and watching Amelia, a liberated woman, struggle to be treated as an equal. As an added bonus, I pick up a smattering of history and archeology while I read. These books are just plain fun, and great to take on a vacation.
2. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich - Another mystery series with a female protagonist. These, however, are not exactly educational - unless you want to learn about the culture in New Jersey. Stephanie Plum is the (rather inept) bounty hunter in this series, which is chock full of very memorable characters. This series is definitely "junk food" reading, and just like food, it's fun to let go and indulge every now and then!
3. The Bug by Ellen Ullman - This is sort of a mystery, and also an exploration of life in the software industry and an interesting character study. The titular 'bug' is randomly popping up in a soon-to-be-released software application. It is set in the 80's, at the beginning of the PC revolution and the birth of Windows. This book does a wonderful job of showing what life is like for a programmer, without succumbing to intimidating jargon or code. I thought the en was a little thin, but otherwise I enjoyed it.
4. A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge -These two books are just about the best treatment of alien cultures that I've encountered, in a lifetime of reading science fiction. Absolutely believable and definitely alien. Vinge's imagination of alien life and societies is absolutely brilliant. The human characters are not the only focus - the alien characters are fully developed, and I found myself relating to them, despite their incredible alienness. Absolutely BRILLIANT. (Thanks, Dave R. for the recommendation!)
5. Apropos of Nothing by Peter David - A satirical fantasy (though light on the "fantasy", which is good for me, not being much of a fantasy fan) that was impossible for me to put down. Very, very funny! I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Woad to Ruin.

I think I read one other book during vacation, but since that was in July, I don't remember! :-)

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