More Bedtime Reading

June 11, 2009 at 8:02 pm (Reviews) (, , )

As long as I can remember, I have read in bed.  When I was young I thought I was pulling one over on my parents because I’d ask to have my bedroom door left open and the hall light on.  That way, I could continue to read after my allotted 1/2 hour.  If someone came by, I’d stuff the book down between my mattress and headboard, and pretend to be alseep.  My mother now tells me that she knew I was still reading, but that it wasn’t something to be upset about.

Due possibly in part to that habit, I find I read almost every night before I go to sleep.  It doesn’t matter how late I go to bed, or even if I’m a bit squiffy because I’ve had a couple of drinks…I always take a book to bed with me.  For the most part, I’ve leaned not to take hardcovers-since I sometimes fall asleep while reading, I’ve discovered that being hit with a falling hardcover book, or rolling over onto one can sometimes really hurt.

I’ve just finished a re-read of The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.  Its an alternative reality historical novel; a dystopian world where Charles Babbage was able to build his difference engine, essentially the first computer, and changed the course of history.  I’m more familiar with the way that William Gibson’s work is often set in an undefined future and how scarily accurate his predictions are.  Frankly, I’m a wee bit afraid of William Gibson-I think he knows things.  Unlike Horatio, there don’t seem to be any things that aren’t dreamt of in his philosophy.  (apologies to Shakespeare)

I’ve enjoyed this book a lot more this 2nd time.  It’s almost a series of connected novellas, so can be a bit difficult to follow the thread of the story.  I very much like how you cannot tell which part was written by which author-it is a seamless, cohesive whole.  I also very much enjoy the changes to the stories of historical figures.  Poor Wellington doesn’t turn out so well, here.  It’s less science-y than other works, so it is more to my taste as well.  If you are a fan of steampunk, William Gibson, or Bruce Sterling give this book a try.  I do recommend it.

What’s up next?  Ian McEwan’s Saturday.  I’d gotten halfway through before, and I can’t remember why I didn’t finish.  Maybe it will come to me.


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