Today’s been a write-off in terms of getting anything useful done; now I’m retreating to book reviews

Peter Watson, The Modern Mind, ‘an intellectual history of the 20th century’. Utterly brilliant: clearly written, and covers a lot of ground while switching topics quickly enough to avoid getting bogged down. I’m surprised it hasn’t made more of a splash; judging by its Amazon rank and the lack of reviews online, I’m about the only reader.

Terry Pratchett, Going Postal. My views on the later Pratchetts are skewed – I use them as an emergency emotional pick-me-up, only read them when I’m in a really gloomy mood, and so get a mainly negative perspective. Anyway, it’s a discworld book, you know what you’re gettign.

Douglas Coupland, Microserfs. Much, much, much better than Shampoo planet. Agree with just about everything sashagoblin says, on how it is totally about people rather than computers, and surprisingly optimistic.

Frederic Beigbeder, Vacances dans le coma. My sister recommended Beigbeder. Based on this book (the only one she hasn’t read) I’m struggling to see why. It’s the story of a fairly dire night on the town, peppered with petty, defensive humour. Makes Houllebecq look like he has deep insight into the human condition. Admittedly it might be funnier if I got any of the in-jokes about Parisian nightlife

Octavia Butler, Patternmaster. I don’t know what I was expecting from Octavia Butler, but it wasn’t this. A grim, violent, hierarchical world, soulless characters, no hint that the heroes are any different from their enemies. Too senselessly bleak for my taste.

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