Liv Tyler

Wednesday reading — outer and inner space

What I've been reading

I read A Modern Mephistopheles, which is my favorite of Louisa May Alcott's "thrilling" works. It feels like by far the most mature and accomplished example that I have read so far. The twisted sexual tension among every possible combination of the characters involved is delicious. Reading books is made to stand in for having sex, which is pretty much a kink in itself.

I read The Martian, which won an Alex Award. I really love logistics porn, and on that front this book 100% delivered. The characters not surviving on Mars seemed fairly cardboard and perfunctory, all the better not to interfere with the more important logistics porn.

I read And We Stay, which was a Printz Honor book, and I was not ultimately impressed. I was interested enough in the backstory that was gradually being revealed to keep reading, but I felt like the present-day story was a mess. There's a moment where the protagonist lampshades the fact that she, her roommate, and her one sympathetic teacher at her boarding school are basically the only characters who have any presence in the present-day story at all, and I realized, wow, no wonder this feels flat.

I read Over Seventy (also published as America, I Like You), which is loosely as though Wodehouse had put aside writing humorous fiction and taken up writing humor columns along the lines of Dave Barry or similar. Quite a lot of funny bits, occasional aged grousing.

I read The Three-Body Problem, the first volume of a Chinese science fiction trilogy. It reminded me more of Neal Stephenson than anything else. Definitely looking forward to the next two books being translated.

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