Mostly I use it to keep notes for Rock and Roll Archaeology, but today I stumbled across some dashed-off blather, which I do not hesitate to put before you:
George Finished the Book! Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire, the saga of which Game of Thrones is but the first part, have been waiting for George R.R. (which stands for exactly what it should stand for) Martin to finish Book 5 (really Book 4 1/2, but who's counting) of the series. The length of the wait caused no small amount of reader acrimony, and I can see why. The Internet breeds contempt. When authors were faraway geniuses who you might meet at a signing if you paid attention, you had no choice but to wait like a cat left home alone for the weekend. But when an author has a livejournal of his own, and regulary updates it, it's hard to avoid thinking "Yeah, that's nice George. Now is Dance of Dragons gonna write itself, or...? And while we're at it, a few miles on the NordicTrac wouldn't kill you."
For myself, I got tired of reading Martin's dull football commentary, his middlebrow center-left political statements, his self-congratulatory merchandising for his less-interesting books (Fevre Dream: there's $16 I'm never getting back). So I stopped reading them. I left his site alone until a wikipedia blurb suggested some chatter from his publishers that he might get around to being done soon. And now, having devoured it on my Kindle, I issue a hearty "Enh." Not wretched, but a determined feeling of Get On With It kept needling at me.
On the other hand, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom: a Novel is a nicely-woven character study of a finely dysfunctional family. It is that rare novel that deals of politics honestly, by giving no quarter to liberals or conservatives, uncoupling with ruthless economy the links that hold either ideology together. The conservative son, Joey, in rebellion against his liberal father Walter, goes to work for an Iraq war contractor and slips into the kind of moral repugnance for which American war contractors have long been known. But Walter's disdainful environmentalism is equally repugnant, especially as it climaxes into a bloodthirsty cri de couer against the whole human race. Every character hits rock bottom, and every character scratches his way back. That's the kind of social novel that makes me want to write one.
- Genre Confusion: I don't normally like bands with clever names, but in the case of We Were Promised Jetpacks I'll make an exception.
- Revolutionary Nonsense: I play the Race Card. Again.