Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nicholas Harberd, Seed to Seed

Nicholas Harberd, Seed to Seed: the Secret Life of Plants. A journal sketchbook about plants: growth, life, reproduction, and death. The life cycle of a thale cress plant in an English graveyard describes global growth and development. An explanation of transcription factors and how genetic material connects the growth of the plant to the world. A discussion about science, communicating a series of minute observations, and how to connect them back to the encompassing world. How one scientist can hold the world as sacred, and view it in awe and wonder for its order and beauty.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Virginia Woolf, Orlando. A flowery and playful story of a young nobleman/noblewoman, aspiring poet, hero, patron, and general dreamer and layabout. I loved the gender and time-stretching nature of Orlando and the settings. The style was pompous and sly - toying with literary biography and period literature - but sometimes too half-there, too elliptical. Moments of wit surprised me - for short stretches, the book was so funny, so insightful - but there were also tedious expositions that sapped the story.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

China Miéville, Perdido Street Station. This book grew on me like a harmless and grotesque tumor. At first I was annoyed by the florid language, but I stopped noticing, and then deep into the story it seemed a piece with the fecund world of New Crobuzon. Likewise the sprawl of settings and variety of organisms was messy and distracting early, but settled into complex and satisfying patterns.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards! and The Light Fantastic

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards! and The Light Fantastic. Silly, snorkly, and endlessly entertaining. I'm glad there are so many of these to read - I'm going to ration them through med school as emergency fun.