ironphoenix (ironphoenix) wrote,
ironphoenix
ironphoenix

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That book thing

Books read this year:

1. Jacqueline Carey--The Sundering vol. 1: Banewreaker: Very different from her Kushiel series, this is high fantasy seen through a different lens than the usual. It's a well-conceived, thought-provoking concept, and even though the style didn't always agree with me, it was a fascinating and worthwhile book. I was somewhat surprised that the female characters weren't stronger than they were; overall, they felt very much like Tolkien women. This may not have been accidental: it's possible to read the whole thing as a turnabout of The Lord of the Rings.

2. Terry Pratchett--Making Money: A fairy tale of political economics, with funny bits. Pratchett's knack for inverting conventions comes through yet again. I enjoyed this book, the however-many-th in the Discworld series, more than the previous one, Thud, perhaps because I might just identify a bit with the main character of this one.

3. Valentin Tomberg--Lazarus, Come Forth: Meditations of a Christian Esotericist: Tomberg has a lot to say about quite a few mysteries, and ties it together with symbolism and theology, mostly Christian, but leavened with quite a bit of Jewish and Kabbalist work, a fair bit of early twentieth-century esotericism (Theosophy and Anthroposophy in particular), and a smattering of Eastern religion. Part I is the most substantial, in which he relates the miracles of Christ, the days of creation, and the Sacraments together, and explores the nature of the Kingdom of God as revealed by these signs. Part III relates well to it, discussing the characteristics of the kingdoms of nature, humanity and God. Part II, discussing the Ten Commandments, is unfortunately saddled with, in my view, an excessive zeal for Roman Catholic hierarchy and dogma; this may have been inserted in order to forestall accusations of heresy, given the innovative thought he expounds in other areas (I disagree especially with his defense of papal infalliability, for example). Part IV is a fragment, left incomplete at Tomberg's death, in which he begins to discuss the breath of life, and its symbolic significance; it's a promising beginning, but the thoughts are sadly not developed. Broad-minded readers will find a lot to think about here; few will agree with all of it, but to me, that may be all the more reason to recommend it.

4. Jacqueline Carey--The Sundering vol. 2: Godslayer: I was happy to have a break before embarking on the second half of the work: Godslayer is heavier, darker, and more fatalistic than Banewreaker. Fatalism, as some of you may know, rubs me the wrong way, so this was a book I rushed through a bit, looking forward to putting it behind me. Your mileage, of course, may vary, but this is not an upbeat tome. All in all, I'm glad to have read it, but there were times I wished I was reading something else.

I'm currently reading Ellen Datlow and Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant's 20th Annual Year's Best Fantasy and Horror; the second story, Nik Houser's "First Kisses from Beyond the Grave" is one for torrain's must-read list, in my opinion, along with any other zombie afficionados on my flist!
Tags: books
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