Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Books I Still Haven't Finished

If you have been monitoring my goodreads.com profile, you will have noticed that there are a couple of books that have been on the 'currently reading' list for more than a year: Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver and Halldor Laxness's Independent People. I haven't ruled out finishing them, but I'm not actively trying to read them now. I also started the novel version of Isaac Asimov's Nightfall more than a month ago and haven't finished it. Why haven't I finished reading these books?

I can pinpoint the answer for Quicksilver:

The year is 1713, and Enoch Root goes to visit Dr. Daniel Waterhouse and the institute he has founded: the Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts. It's only page 16 of 916 and it's unbearably cute. I didn't make it past page 50.

Independent People came highly recommended. It just seems to require more attention than I can give to it. Basically all my reading gets done on airplanes and it's just not airplane reading material.

As for Nightfall, it is hilariously direct in the analogy between fictional astronomical conundrums and real-life counterparts. But it's only been a month and a half, so I might still pull through.

Anyone want to make a case for taking another crack at any/all of these books?


Tim said...

Nightfall! I read that like a billion years ago! My twelve-year-old self thought it was pretty interesting, but I have no idea if it would hold up today. I vaguely remember the science parts at the beginning were more interesting than the ending, so that's probably not going to convince you to finish it.

FWIW, I thought the Confusion was more fun than Quicksilver, but I've never gotten around to reading the 3rd book.

Jackie said...

Well, the science parts would be really interesting if it were still 1990 and I didn't, you know, have a Ph.D. in astronomy. If you have a copy, you should skim through those science parts at the beginning that you remember. I bet you'll get a kick out of it: `my god, could it be that our astronomical measurements don't match our predictions because there's some thing out there that we -- gasp! -- can't see?!'

Eugene said...

Heh, Independent People is definitely not airport reading material. I am on the 7th Laxness novel now, and IP is still the toughest to get through. Still the best though.

Tim said...

Haha, good point. It's almost like some sort of matter, but... dark!

Jackie said...

Eugene - So you started me on the hardest one? That's no fair!