Thursday, January 31, 2013

January '13 stats

For most of January, I was on break from school. Although, half of this time was spent at my internship, I felt I still got a fair bit of reading done. One goal was to finish some books that I had started months earlier. The first of these stragglers was Syndrome E, the international thriller by Franck Thilliez, which had been a birthday present from Mr. Bibliotonic. Syndrome E was instantly engaging. Short chapters made the novel a page-turner. For the most part, Syndrome E delivered a unique storyline and two strong characters, but it was not without flaws. Perhaps something was lost in translation. A few plot turns were hard to stomach and suspend disbelief for, but I also believe Thilliez's voice is promising, especially if he brings back Lucie Hennebelle and Franck Sharko.

By contrast, Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, a collection of modern stories, knocked my socks off. The coldness of technology and human psychology form a thread running through all these stories. In fact, most seem to be about rockets or astronauts. The Veldt is prescient in the way it reveals technology and permissive parenting gone amok. This story has been a favorite since I first read it as a high school junior. Many of these stories read like Twilight Zone episodes. I'm looking forward to reading more long-form Bradbury, such as Fahrenheit 451, as well as more stories.

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