Wednesday, October 1

Temptation of Neil/Neal

I went to the bookstore yesterday. Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson both have new books out. Two of my favorite authors. Joy of joys. (I really wanted to call this post "The Two Neals" or "The Two Neils." I tried a version of "The Two Neials" but it really didn't make any sense.)

Gaiman has finally published The Graveyard Book which has yet another story that I wish I had thought of first – Boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard. It's like The Jungle Book of the Dead. But I have long come to terms that any clever idea I have will have been thought up by Gaiman first.

Compared to Gaiman's standard sized book (320 pages), Stephenson's Anathem is a beast (960 pages). It also defies easy description. Something about the far future, math monks, immortality, god I don't know what else. I have long come to terms that I could never come up with Stephenson's ideas.

I bought neither. I am still reading Infinite Jest. I am loving it but it is a work out. It is hard to read Jest "casually." I am trying to really pay attention this time and not skim over the more difficult sections (like, say, 10 pages with only half a dozen punctuation marks). It would be very easy to "take a break" and read something else... but then I'd never get back to it.

Sigh. Well, at least I have books to look forward to in 2009.