@cgrajko I would be interested in adding Homo Ludens to my List of Things I Will Someday Read Given Infinite Time. 🙂

Also, yes, I know very well what is involved when you invoke Russian authors generally, and mid 18th-19th century Russian authors in particular. There are certain…commitments one must make. (I learned my lesson about this not with the Russians, but with Victor Hugo. One summer, a mid-high-school me decided – God knows why – that it would be a fine idea to read The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables back-to-back. And, being the sort who is fussy about trying to track down the originals of things, I hauled home the unabridged versions of both works. While there was much in both that was solid and worthwhile, it was the only time I have ever regretted this preference of mine for unabridged books, and left me with a desire to hunt down the spirit of Victor Hugo, if only so that I could throttle him a bit and tell him that life just does not suck that much. So I guess I have him to thank for showing me I am not really as melancholic deep down as all that. 😉 And I STILL grumble about that damn chapter regarding the Battle of Waterloo.)

I have a somewhat mixed relationship with Neal Stephenson. I have read both Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon, in that order. Both of them are okay, but I did not fall madly in love with either, largely because it felt to me as though Stephenson was constantly looking over my shoulder as I read, pointing out something that had just happened and whispering gravelly-voiced into my ear “Wasn’t that cool?” And, often, it was, but it left me with an intense desire to whack my imaginary backseat reader and say “Will you shut up already? I’m trying to read your damn book!” Stephenson is undoubtedly smart, and there are things in both books that are clever, but so far I’ve found the experience of reading his work somewhat frustrating because he seems to me to be always doing that: tugging at my sleeve and asking “Wasn’t that cool?” I believe I am in the minority in finding this irritating, though, so by all means give it a go.

This weekend’s reading: Joseph T. Hallinan’s Why We Make Mistakes – interesting, though I have read much of the science elsewhere. However, it’s a good overview of the lore of error, and a generally pleasing little read if you are the sort of person who likes to read about why terrible things can happen because someone labels the bottles for one drug in light blue and another in dark blue, or why poorly designed control panels cause planes to crash. I also got distracted by Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which book clubs everywhere have discussed in more volume than I need to here, but now I can actually respond semi-intelligently if asked about it. The main attraction is the unusual “voice” of the main character, who is autistic; I have no idea how authentic it is as a representation of the autistic experience, but it’s interesting to be picking up on elements of the larger story that the main character is less capable than I of understanding unaided.

Oh, yes, and I’ve started I Believe in Yesterday as well, the saga of one British man’s adventures in the world of historical re-enactors. So far he’s had an uninspiring experience with some people running an “Iron Age” settlement – not very well. Next up: He looks for a Roman legion to join. Should be amusing.