FF: What is Sane?

When I thought about it, many of the books I’ve read recently have touched on the question of perception and sanity.  Even the otherwise “real world” The Penderwicks in Spring shows how much perception matters.

Kwahe'e Considers Max Evans

Kwahe’e Considers Max Evans

Just in case you’re new to this feature, The Friday Fragments features lists of what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include either short fiction or magazine articles.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Authority by Jeff Vandemeer.  Audiobook.  Part two of the much-discussed “Southern Reach” trilogy.  Lovecraft meets conspiracy theory meets spy thriller.  Introduces more characters and more complications without losing touch with the original problem.

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jean Birdsall.  Keeps the series solidly “middle grade” by focusing on three younger Penderwicks: Batty, Ben, and Lydia.  Alternately grippingly sad and funny.  (I actually finished this one late last week and forgot to include it!)

In Progress:

Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas by Michael Bishop.  A “fairly thorough revision” of the author’s 1987 Tor hardcover, The Secret Ascension.  I’m about three-quarters done.  This is the first novel I’ve read on our Kindle.  Not bad, but I definitely prefer print.

Island Dreams by Gerald Hausman.  A poetry collection spanning many years and many places.  I was touched to find a short poem called “Zelazny’s Advice” that perfectly captured his voice.


Various articles, including a bittersweet one in Smithsonian about jet packs.


8 Responses to “FF: What is Sane?”

  1. Paul Dellinger Says:

    Just started a slim volume of Louis L’Amour short stories (from the library’s giveaway stack), “War Party.” Some of the magazine-published shorts provided a later basis for some of his novels, much as happened with Raymond Chandler and his mystery novels cobbled together from “Black Mask” magazine shorter stuff.

  2. Chad Merkley Says:

    I read the sequels to The Raven Boys: The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I liked them both–it’s all one continuous story–but now I have to wait until next March for the fourth book and to find out how it ends. So many plot-threads to be resolved! I also read another book by Maggie Stiefvater: The Scorpio Races. Great characters, great setting, great use of mythology. I especially liked the implied depth of tradition and religion behind the events in the novel.

    I’m still reading the Iliad, at the rate of a book or two a day. I’m 14 books in right now. So far, the most interesting character is Helen, with her big scene in book 3: talking with Priam, arguing with Aphrodite, and her attitude towards Paris contrasted with her attitude towards Menelaus. Hector and Achilles also show some unique character traits and personality; otherwise, most of the characters are almost interchangeable. Also, it seems that no one in that culture ever buys anything–it’s either stolen or a gift, which seems like a bad way to run stable economy. The imagery is more sophisticated than I had remembered, but is somewhat limited in scope, mostly drawn from hunting, sailing, and nature. I’m enjoying it, though. It’s good stuff–which is why it’s survived for almost 3000 years.

    • Jane Lindskold Says:

      I’m eagerly awaiting THE RAVEN KING. Jim will be, too, when he’s caught up.

      I really hope she can pull a good ending off. As you said, lots of depth and plot threads.

      I “read” THE ILLIAD a few years ago as an audiobook, wanting to experience it more closely to how the original audience might have. Only problem was that I roamed around adding descriptive tags to everything, “Oh, Jim, hero of my heart, strong wielder of the shovel, what would you like for dinner?”

  3. Jay M. Says:

    Late reply:
    Recently finished:
    Eye of Cat, by Roger Zelazny – I’d forgotten the long stream of consciousness bits at the end.
    The 39 Steps, by John Buchan – I’d forgotten how bigoted those early 20th century authors can be

    Next up:
    The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, which I’ll begin tonight

    • Jane Lindskold Says:

      Since you’re later to the WW, you might enjoy looking at the Wandering for 7-04-12, “Awkward Realities,” which, in part looked at how routine racism was in novels of that period — and offered some thoughts about it in context.

      Did you draw the picture at the end of EYE OF CAT?

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