What I’m Reading: September 2, 2017
A couple novellas. Capote, Sanderson, and Ann Leckie’s space opera, Ancillary Justice.
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
“And I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany's” – Deep Blue Something
I knew this movie and book existed. But other than the fact that the Audrey Hepburn was in it and Mikey Rooney gave a cringe worthy caricature of Asians, I knew nothing about it. I figured it was about time I learned more.
It was actually pretty enjoyable.
The Emperors Soul by Brandon Sanderson
I'm not terribly experienced with Sanderson. I'm more a SciFi guy and he tends to write a more fantasy. But what I have read has been very good. This is a short one, but it's a really well developed and interesting story. It really pulled me into the world that Sanderson created. I'd recommend it.
Set Your Voice Free by Roger Love and Donna Frazier
I've never really liked the sound of my own voice. I think that's true of most people. I always felt I sounded a little nasal which might be due to the fact that I'm pretty sure that I have a deviated septum. But, I've always wanted to do podcasts and youtube videos. And I knew I wanted to make some changes if I was going to be hearing my voice so much. So I picked this one up on Audible. I just started this book but I feel like it's already making a difference. I've started recording myself every night when I read to my kids. It's really helped me focus on how I'm forming the sounds. I'm excited to see what I can do with the rest of the material.
The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama
Some books I can polish off in a few days. Others take me weeks to digest. This is one of the latter. Because it's more of a dense and fact filled book without a story to draw me in, I usually try to listen when I can give it my undivided attention like when I'm driving, or running, or biking. So the progress is slow. But I am still really digging this one.
One thing that stood out to me was the relationship between religion and state creation. It's had a profound influence in some of the regions that the book has talked about. It will be interesting to see what the author has to say when we start getting into Christianity.
After what I've read it seems clear that our society is built by a combination of warring influences. We have religion, which deals with the ethical and spiritual side of things, government, which deals with more economic issues as well as law and order, and families/tribes. Those seem to be the big three as far as I have read. This is very interesting since it seems like in our time a fourth factor, the corporation, has been introduced. Also, family and religion have declined. I saw an interesting article the other day about when the wage gap really started and it was back in the 70's. That was right around the time when the initial push back against religion and the traditional family started. Of course, correlation is not causation. But it is an interesting parallel none the less.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
It took me a little time to get involved in this one. I think that's just one of the downsides of starting with an audio book when you can't give it your undivided attention for a good 30min+. Once I got engaged I was hooked though. The characterization is great. There honestly was not that much plot going on. An ancillary (AI/human/thing) is traveling to assassinate an emperor. And that's pretty much it. But you get to meet such interesting and rich people along the way. It's funny, I read Rendezvous with Rama, an Arthur C. Clarke novel, about a month ago. He is very light on the characterization. It's there but it's not the focus of the story. The focus is on the cool alien things that you discover. Ancillary Justice is much the opposite the plot is intriguing but it's the people that get the light. I'm excited to move on to the next book.
I also think that Ann Leckie's story is super cool. She's 51 and just started publishing in 2006. This novel, her first, won a slew of the most prestigious SciFi awards. It just goes to show that you don't have to get started early and be a child prodigy in order to have wild success.