What I Just Finished Reading

The Strangler Vine – M.J. Carter
Because The Devil's Feast was officially released in the US today. Where is my package, Amazon?

Also, GUYS, THERE IS A BLAKE & AVERY TAG IN NIGHT ON FIC MOUNTAIN.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones – Paul Reps & Nyogen Senzaki
I'm glad I read this, but it is a bit dated and I don't know that I'll ever return to it again.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer
I deeply enjoy Schumer's comedy and social commentary; she's right up there with Caitlin Moran. It takes a few pages for Schumer to translate her style into this medium, but once she gets going, it's amazingly good.

Until the second half of the book, where she states the following: “Definitely end it with [a] guy if he and his mother have one of those dynamics where you can tell the mom always kind of thought she would end up with her own son.” Not bad advice, except it becomes increasingly clear that Schumer always kind of thought she would end up with her own father, in ways that frequently undercut her pointed cultural observations. It's a blind spot big enough to sink the Titanic in, and an unfortunate drag on an otherwise excellent book.


What I Am Currently Reading

The Original Dream – Nukila Amal
The stream-of-consciousness narrative continues in the second chapter, which centers on a disorienting but well-written dream sequence. More intriguing yet, it morphs halfway through into a deconstruction of the “Original Face” koan. I'm intrigued to see if this is intentional on Amal's part, or if she's figured it out on her own.

Japan and Korea – Frank Carpenter
In which we discuss how policemen are woefully underpaid but compensated in respect, Imperial succession politics (which are no closer to being solved today), the “soshi” gangs-for-hire (precursors to today's yakuza), and are treated to this jaw-dropping insight: “The way in which the Japanese have sat for generations has had a great deal to do with making them such a short-legged people.”

Trump's America – Scott Dikkers
Subtitled Buy This Book and Mexico Will Pay for It, it is, like the object of its satire, best digested in small doses.

The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
WE HAVE WOMAN IN REFRIGERATOR SIGN! Three whole female characters have appeared in the first 44 percent of the novel; one of them is now dead so that the male characters can Feel Things about it and be Motivated.

In larger developments, our titular character is currently being menaced by the Gray King—a thief with more resources and superior bastardry than Locke. I get the sense Lynch wants me to hate this guy, but I'm rooting for him hardcore. After all, if Locke's willingness to lie, cheat, and fuck people over is what I'm supposed to like about him (and “Lamora” is an anagram of “amoral,” so come on), why would I not like the “villain” who's beating Locke at his own game?

I hope this is setting up some major soul-searching, but: “I wonder, I really wonder. Is this what other people feel like when we're through with them?” Lamora asks after he finds himself in the Gray King's sights, only to be told by his best friend, “I thought we'd agreed long ago that they get what they deserve, Locke.” Which makes me fearful that it isn't, and that Lynch just wants me to ignore the hypocrisy behind the curtain. But we shall see.

The Iron Flute – Nyogen Senzaki
Steve Hagen's introduction is the single most cogent presentation of Zen I have ever encountered. It alone justifies the cover price.

The Light and Shadow Tarot – Brian Williams & Michael Goepferd
Kinda crapped out on this one this week; have made it partway through the aces.


What I'm Reading Next
The Devil's Feast, Bezos willing. Otherwise, my goal is to get through my heaping pile of Wired back issues.


これで以上です。
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