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lgpiper

Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

A Good Death
Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
A Highland Christmas
M.C. Beaton
Tales from Moominvalley
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
On The Beach (Vintage Classics)
Nevil Shute Norway
The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett
Obscure Destinies
Willa Cather
A Start in Life (The Michael Cullen Novels)
Alan Sillitoe
Mobilizing Web Sites: Strategies for Mobile Web Implementation
Kristofer Layon

The City and the City

The City and the City - China MiƩville Becca (my niece who keeps hoping I can become more literate than the average science nerd) made me read this. Occasionally, I suppose, she thinks it would be good to drag me away from so much 19th-century stuff. Fortunately, I could borrow this book from my library in kindle format. So, to make my niece happy, I requested it.

It took me a while to get into this book. I couldn't figure out what was going on. On one level, it was a sort of standard cop-procedure investigation of a murder. But I had no idea where things were happening. Eventually, I figured it all out. Basically, there are two cities that more-or-less co-exist in the same space. But they are separate and people in each city are required to "unsee" people and buildings in the other city. If they don't, "breach" happens and all hell breaks loose. Or something like that.

The problem comes up that a body is found in one of the cities, but it's pretty certain the murder was committed in the other one and the body transported across city lines. Was the body transportation breach? If so, solving the crime gets relatively easy, the enforcers of breach will take care of things. But the enforcers of breach won't act unless there is clear evidence of breach. Or something.

So the book is part weird fantasy, part police procedural, part murder mystery, and so on. Towards the end it got pretty interesting. What happens if you "sort of" see someone, but you can't tell which city he's in? If he's in your city you can see him without worry, but if he's in the other city, you're not allowed to see him. If you do, breach comes down on your head. Life is complicated in many ways, it seems.