Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Machines take me by surprise with great frequency."*

I am still reading The Winter Rose because it's one hell of a long book and I didn't finish it in the hospital. But I did finish See You in a Hundred Years which I wound up enjoying way more than I thought I would, and The Tin Princess which I think was way better than any of the previous three Sally Lockhart novels.

So, having worked my way through the library books - and not able to get away to go to the library to pick up my next batch (Jennifer Haigh's Mrs Kimble, Amanda Eyre Ward's Sleep Toward Heaven, Gary Schmidt's Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, and John Elder Robison's Look Me in the Eye), I resorted to reading books I actually - gasp - own that were lying on my TBR shelf.

I started Allegra Goodman's The Family Markowitz and was disappointed to learn that it is really a book of short stories - all about the same extended family, granted, but short stories nonetheless, a form of literature I just don't appreciate, troglodyte that I am. So I put that down for the time being and picked up Haven Kimmel's Something Rising (Swift and Light), but fell asleep last night before finishing the first chapter. Doesn't bode well for the rest of the book - I might need my real brain back first before starting this book again.

And so, tonight, while nursing the baby in the bedroom, within arm's reach of the TBR bookshelf, I picked up and started both Robert Harris's Enigma and Alex Garland's The Beach. I am now seventy pages into Enigma and enjoying it greatly. Harris is a good writer, and I am intrigued by stories about cryptography. Not much of a nonfiction reader, I devoured Simon Singh's The Code Book and loved every page. Harris's novel is set in Bletchley, England, during WWII, and concerns one young mathematician's quest to break the Germans' Enigma machine code. Smart, fascinating, and fun.

The Beach started out promisingly, but since I have no idea what it's about (or even why I bought it wherever I bought it), I figured it could wait.

So there I sat, The Remora propped up on my stomach, fingers red from those crunchy little cinnamon hearts, reading about Alan Turing and the Enigma machine and German U-Boats and all sorts of other cool stuff. While H bathed the other three boys and put them to bed. Sometimes it's a bonus being the one with functioning mammary glands.

Sometimes.

*******************
*Alan Turing

10 comments:

HEATHER said...

Sounds cool. I was watching something on History last month about the Bletchly facility and all of the goings on there. I will have to look for that one.
I don't know anything about breastfeeding, so please pardon my ignorance, but wouldn't those little hearts make your milk spicy hot?

jessmonster said...

I'm sure I've said this before, but I'm glad we're of the same mind about short stories.

It doesn't really have anything to do with cryptography, but it does have to do with radio coders during WWII, which is what reminded me - you might try Tamar by Mal Peet. Excellent YA fiction.

Peg said...

It pleases me probably much more than it should when I learn that I've read a book *before* you...

Look forward to the full critique of Enigma when you're done.

Badger said...

Will be interested to see how you like Sleep Toward Heaven. I haven't read it, but I started How To Be Lost last night and so far I find it pretty compelling.

Joke said...

Robert Harris is great and so is Enigma.

-J.

ssheers said...

I've read and enjoyed several books by Robert Harris: Pompeii and Archangel. I especially loved Pompeii.

Doppelganger said...

"So there I sat, The Remora propped up on my stomach, fingers red from those crunchy little cinnamon hearts, reading about Alan Turing and the Enigma machine and German U-Boats and all sorts of other cool stuff. While H bathed the other three boys and put them to bed. Sometimes it's a bonus being the one with functioning mammary glands."

I am so terrifically jealous, I can hardly bear to talk about it. Only six more weeks. This is what I keep telling myself.

Unrelated: The Beach isn't, like, the best book ever, but it's very plot-driven, so it's fast and entertaining. I surprised myself by reading it in one sitting.

Doppelganger said...

Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS! The Remora is gorgeous.

Rogue Librarian said...

As I recall, I enjoyed The Beach while reading it, and then totally forgot about it afterwards. Enigma is good though, as is a surprising amount of Harris’ work.

Suse said...

I just finished Look me in the Eye. It's a fast easy read and I really liked it. It was especially good to hear his brother turned out ok, having already read Running with Scissors and being totally horrified and alarmed.

So that's all good.