Reading - November 2019

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)
A seminal novel, which for some reason I don't appear to have read for over 10 years. I keep recommending it to B (who would love it), and I finally thought I should probably remind myself what's in it. It's surprisingly pedestrian in places, with a lot of exposition via the device of an AI librarian to explain the somewhat involved background, which involves Sumerian religion and draws an analogy to programming. It's all quite involved and probably presented in unnecessary depth for the purposes of the plot, but it's characteristic of Stephenson. Once we get past the background, we can enjoy the pre-Internet "Metaverse" (clearly influential on subsequent developments) and the thriller aspects, although I'm a bit hazy about what actually was being fought over. Still, a great read.
The Guitar Magazine (Dec 2019 / Issue 375)
Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams (2019)
Found in the book exchange at work. A sweet chick-lit romcom where the man and woman don't actually meet properly until the final pages, and alternately narrated from his and her perspectives. Nice, with a few awkward scenes but a pleasant enough cast of characters and a very romantic ending.
How Not To Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg (2014)
This is one of those books I've been quoting at people for the whole time I've been reading it. It's mostly about statistics and how it applies to real life - whether that it's analysing how lotteries work or how votes can be counted in elections (as an aside, a subject nicely summarised here) - but also on lots of other subjects. It's needed quite a lot of thinking about at times as the maths and concepts are pretty involved, but it's written in an engaging, if somewhat wordy, style. Very enjoyable.
From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming (1957)
A silver lining of being ill is getting to read more. I was listening to a John Barry collection and Matt Monroe's theme song to the film came on. I hadn't read the book in ages, I was feeling like something simple, and so I grabbed it off the shelf. The edition I have is the film tie-in, from 1963, and belonged to my parents (before I took it), and I particularly like it because the photo of Daniela Bianchi on the cover looks a lot like Alison, a girl I was at school with. Anyway, the book itself is excellent - dated, of course, but it is over 60 years old, and it has a lot more references to sex than I expected or remembered. A good read.
Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett (1991)
For some reason I remember the ending of this book very clearly, even though I'm not sure I follow it very well. Something about a city spawning itself due to all the unspent life-force lingering around, due to Death taking a holiday. Jolly fun etc.

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