Extra Books – March 5 to 11

Hmm, my last four posts on books have all been ‘extra books’ posts…my weeks are busy now with kendo, classes and tutoring so I’ve been finishing up books on Saturday/Sunday, but I’m still writing as much as I would had I written this as a ‘full’ book post (and you’re probably wondering why I don’t just do that, it’s ‘cos I’m a sucker for things staying the same and orderly and proper. A full book post on Sunday?! *gasp* Never! But maybe I’ll rethink how I do this for school next year…no point in changing it up with only a few weeks left :P)

  • Perdido Street Station by  China Mieville
    • Published: 2000 
    • Genre: Steampunk
    • Why I picked it up: The book I got when I did NPR’s scifi/fantasy ‘what to read next’ map
    • Rating: 4 stars
    • Challenges: TBR Double Dare
    • My Thoughts:
      • I can’t think of a book I’ve read that could be classified as steampunk (until this one). Perhaps Neverwhere comes closest? I’ve been interested in the steampunk genre since I first came across it in high school – mostly the art and aesthetics of it, I loved seeing paintings and steampunk inventions (the coolest I ever saw was a great steampunk computer mouse, it had an awesome design). Anyhow. Now I can finally say I’ve read a work of steampunk literature!
      • One of the things I noticed pretty early on was that Mieville uses some crazy words here and there. It’s nothing overwhelmingly or too frequent, in fact, now that I’ve read the whole book it’s pretty rare…but there are maybe a dozen times when I saw a word and went ‘What the heck is that! I’ve never heard anything like it’, then I would turn on my Merriam-Websiter app and look it up. This happens ocassionally when I’m reading, particularly when I read older works, but it’s never happened as frequently as with this book. Some of the words I hadn’t heard: pusillanimous, bathetic, obstreperous, priapic, desquamate, atavism and insouciance.
      • I loved the idea of the Ribs. When it was first mentioned that a character was looking for the ribs, clearly a landmark of sorts, I wondered what sort of building would get that nickname. Turns out, the Ribs are actually Ribs – mammoth, huge, enormous ribs reaching out of the ground of some ancient creature that no one has been able to identify. A pretty neat idea, that.
      • I was surprised to find a number of passages that were rather emotional for me (a similar experience to Artemis Fowl). I felt choked up and proud when Derkhan was communicating with Ben. I felt queasy and uncomfortable when the slake-moths claimed certain victims. I felt heartbroken by what happened to Lin. It’s hard to get me to emote when reading a book, so this was a neat and unexpected experience.
      • What’s best about Mieville’s storytelling is that he (usually) knows just how much to share, just how much I like to read. Some people may find he expands too much, but I enjoyed reading a few pages on what Pengefinchess did after she was no longer needed, for example. Note, however, that I did use the word usually there – most segments are intriguing, but a handful just really dragged on for me (notably the hand lingers and putting out the cable [although if the segments about laying out the cable were condensed then it would have felt awkward given the previous establishment of expansion. or something.]). All is forgiven, though, in a book this length – I can put up with a few slow parts.
      • A good solid read. A book I enjoyed reading in bunches of 30 to 100 pages at a time. Always holding my interest but not screaming to be devoured. Honestly, how I felt when I read this book is how I feel when I read Artemis Fowl: I don’t need to – not that I didn’t, I just didn’t feel the ‘pressure’ to –  learn anything, feel anything, gain writing insight from it, it’s just a great book to read and enjoy and delve into. I didn’t feel like this wasn’t real (as I often feel, but that’s just fine with me), or was a real world somewhere that was created by an author (as I feel with the Lord of the Rings), I felt like I was reading a ‘true story’ told by a friend.  Rarely do I find a book like this, just a good book, a good read. I’m always gaining something when I read a book, but it’s nice to have one just to read. Not that one way is preferable over another. Just sayin’. If you know what I mean, you’ll know what I mean 😉