OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN MUSIC > Art and Literature, Movies and TV

Now Reading, pt 2

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--- Quote from: Dave Michuda on September 04, 2013, 06:15:47 AM ---
I just started another Max Barry book - "Lexicon."  So far so good.

--- End quote ---

Just started this too! Eager to hear your thoughts when you're done.

Finished Lexicon, by Max Barry. Excellent novel. The basic premise is that there is a secret organization of linguists (or modern "wizards") who have uncovered ways of manipulating language in order to bypass people's normal psychological defenses and, thereby, control their behavior.  The story is focused on one girl, Emily, who is recruited into the organization and, depending on which characters you identify with, either loses her way or transcends the organization. The narrative structure is quite clever (I wont' reveal the details). The only downside for me was that the "magic" of the world requires too many sky-hooks (just take the author's word for it kind-of-stuff). In addition, many of the themes reminded me of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash--maybe too much so. Recommended, nonetheless.

Dave Michuda:
Literally just finished "Lexicon" this morning.  I really enjoyed it.  I agree on the structure, definitely kept me on my toes.

Having read two Max Barry novel's, and liking both, I will definitely check out some of his other work.

Recent reads:

Agatha Christie - And Then There Were None
A classic in the mystery genre. One of my favorites as a kid and one that I revisit every once in a while. Ten individuals from different walks of life are invited by a mysterious host to an island. One by one, each of the ten is murdered. No one other than the ten were present on the island. Clever, suspenseful, and quite terrifying at times.

Daniel Quinn - Ishmael
This was a gift from a friend. Pretty interesting philosophical novel in which Ishmael, a wise gorilla who can communicate telepathically with people, explains to a human student the mythologies that people construct about the world, their place in it, and the inevitable conclusion to the myth that that many civilized societies live by. This novel feels a bit preachy in places, but there are some profound passages that make it worth a careful read.   

Dave Eggers - The Circle
Fiction. The Circle is a Bay Area tech firm modeled after Google and Facebook--a company that is increasingly focused on making the private public as a way of enhancing social relationships, reducing crime, and facilitating transparency. The novel focuses on a young woman, Mae, who lands a job at The Circle and slowly becomes involved in its ethos. Mae eventually becomes an Internet celebrity and the "face" of the company, but at the expense of her relationships with parents and friends.

This is a pretty good read. In many respects it feels like an Orwellian 1984 for the Social Media Age, but one in which we are Big Brother. This particular story hit me pretty hard because I'm someone who can see the benefits of social media, but am reluctant to auction off my privacy. The book does a nice job at capturing that tension without being overly preachy. Eggers clearly has an opinion on these matters, but actually reserves his most sophisticated writing for the monologues of the anti-privacy advocates.


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