A few weeks ago I joined my local library, the Marcus Gavey library in Tottenham Leisure Centre. It's a big building with a swimming pool (which I don't visit often enough) and gym classes (I keep meaning to investigate their beginners' yoga), and it also has a library which I'd managed to fail to visit in my two and a half years of living nearby. In the end it was Denny's good influence that persuaded me, with all his talk of having big piles of sci-fi books to read next to the bed in a tantalising, delicious stack. Like pancakes. Or sci-fi books.
I'm quite tired.
Anyway, I have a running list of sci-fi I want/need to read, which goes something like:
- everything by Charlie Stross except Glasshouse and Singularity Sky, which I've already read. (Glasshouse is one of the best science fiction books I've ever come across. Beautiful, thrilling, awesome book - also the most intelligently feminist work of post-humanist fiction I've read by a male author.)
- All the Culture books by Iain M Banks (which I haven't read any of, although I've read a couple of the Iain Banks novels)
- The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, about which I have heard great things from steerpikelet and cyrus_ii
- Everything good by Neal Stephenson (including the non sci-fi ones like Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle), probably starting with Snow Crash.
The library is quite nice, but the fiction seemed to all be jumbled up together. I couldn't find most of the stuff I was looking for, although I picked up The Family Trade by Charlie Stross and Anathem by Neal Stephenson - the only book they had by each author. I also grabbed The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (because I love most of her stuff and I think apart from her new one that's the only novel I haven't read) and Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (which looked like cheesy girly fantasy and I figured I'd want to give my brain a rest after Anathem). Then I found Denny in the sci-fi section, which consisted of two columns of shelves - not much, but better than nothing. Still couldn't find any of the Bujolds, but I did grab both of the Philip K Dicks they had in - A Scanner Darkly (which I need to read so I can watch the film) and Valis (in case I like A Scanner Darkly and want more Dick. As it were). Denny got one out for him - Air by Geoff Ryman - and then it was closing so we hastily checked them all out with my shiny new library card and their shiny new digital system (probably not that new, but new since I last used public libraries).
Now I have a big tantalising pile of sci-fi and fantasy books to read, and it makes me feel happy in my happy place.
( reviews (and spoilers) so far - 'Air', 'The Family Trade' and 'Wildwood Dancing' )
One disadvantage of shiny digitised library systems: no datestamps in the front of the books. Instead there's a web address where you can login and check your account and renew books online. Which is pretty cool. I kept meaning to check the due date but didn't get round to it. Then I finished Wildwood Dancing today and it occurred to me I'd read nearly half of the books I'd got out, and I should probably find out before I started incurring fines. For some reason, it seemed easier to find the twitter I posted on the day I withdrew them and do some mental arithmetic than to actually find my card, register on the website and check there. Turns out they're due back Monday. Good job my subconscious is paying attention to the passing of time, even if I'm not organised enough to set reminders in my calendar.