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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Thoughts

Yes, I'm still reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson and will be reading it for at least another week.  I'm liking the WWII parts much better than the more current story line.  I enjoy Stephenson's sly humor and there are sections that make me stop and ponder how much research he did before altering history, must have been pretty exhaustive.  This sends me to the internet to check out events and characters in actual history.  The section on Yamamoto is some of his best tongue-in-cheekiness.

Reading the Stephenson version of Yamamoto's thoughts makes me wonder what Yamamoto was actually thinking as he considered  Japan's Imperial Army vs the Americans.  Anyway, here is an excerpt of Yamamoto's fictional thoughts:
The Yanks call this type of plane "Betty," an effeminatizing gesture that really irks him [Yamamoto].  Then again, the Yanks name even their own planes after women, and paint naked ladies on their sacred instruments of war!  If they had samurai swords, Americans would probably decorate the blades with nail polish.

To say the novel is complex, however, is understating the situation.  Stephenson slips from one character to another, from one time period to another, from one location to another with little warning.  He indulges in detail that obviously tickles him, but that I often have no clue about--especially when talking computers in the modern sections of the novel.

Earlier in the novel, there was a section that most certainly referenced Operation Mincemeat (Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory).  The actual body used for the real Operation Mincemeat was not a butcher frozen to a pig, but the idea speaks loads for preservation.

In the meantime, I'm also reading Elizabeth George's Believing the Inspector Lynley mystery which reads a whole lot faster than Cryptonomicon.

I have a third Once Upon a Time review scheduled.  I checked the library for several books I was looking for with no luck.  I guess I'll have to order a couple of them and get the rest on interlibrary loan.

The ARCs are piling up.  Most are unsolicited and many don't appeal to me, but this one looks interesting:  A Silence of Mockingbirds -- arrived Thursday.  Except this book is nonfiction about a child murder--I don't usually want that kind of reality.  An article in the Huffington Post gives the author's reasons for writing the book.  Maybe later...but not now.

At the moment, I'm looking more for escape literature, not reality.  The world is harsh, give me fictional drama, hopefully happy endings.  Fairy tales and fantasy and mysteries.

What are you reading?


  1. I've always wanted to read CRYPTONOMICON, but my word, the length of it. Glad that you are sharing some of it. I have the new Lynley book as well and will get to it at some point. It hasn't gotten very good notices, but I still love Lynley. He looks like Nathaniel Parker in my head now though.

  2. Kay - It isn't just the length of Cryptonomicon, it's dense!

    I love Lynley, too, but have had quite a few quibbles with the last few books, and this one is no different. My favorite character is Barbara Havers--she always interests me.

  3. I'm a little afraid of Neal Stephenson, but I've got at least one of his books in my chunkster stacks. Someday I'll get to it. I linked up to your review of Operation Mincemeat and added it to my wishlist. It was fictionalized in a Persephone book I just read, a couple weeks ago, but I didn't want to give it away since just saying what it's about is a total spoiler so I just linked up with a warning
    . I've got to get my mitts on that book!

  4. Nancy - Today is April 11, and I'm STILL reading Cryptonomicon, but I'm still enjoying it.

    I love it when synchronicity kicks in-- the fictional references in Cryptonomicon and the Persephone book and the nonfiction account-- form a little cluster of synchronicity.