I finally got to read Neal Stephenson's latest book, REAMDE. (I had put a hold on it at the library shortly after it was released, but the wait list was forever.) It's only out in hardback at this point, and it's massive. I put it on the kitchen scale. 2.8 pounds. Undaunted, I lugged it all the way to Irvine last week for a work trip. And back, of course.
Spending the weekend trying to fight off a cold give me a good opportunity to read it, and I finished it Sunday night.
What I'm left wondering is, how can 1036 pages feel so thin? When I finished reading Snow Crash, and when I finished reading Diamond Age, my mind was all a-ferment with ideas. The burbclaves. The philes. The Rat Thing (poor Rat Thing!) The Feed, and what does it mean to be an artisan in a world of mass-produced items? All kinds of ideas and issues and nifty concepts to play with and think about.
Ending REAMDE left me with a feeling of "yeah, okay, whatever. Oh, that character survived? And that one didn't? Eh, whatever."
Color me cranky, and not exclusively because of this cold.
In the discussion thread on MetaFilter, one commenter said, "I closed the book, walked into my husband's office, thumped it down on his desk, and said, 'I cannot recommend you read this book.'" I have to agree.
Another commentor on MetaFilter said, "I should remember that when mainstream reviews call something an author's most accessible work, it means the people who actually like that author's work probably won't."
So I downloaded Anathem from the library as an e-book, and I think I'm going to take it (and my cough syrup, and another jumbo handful of Chinese herbs) and go to bed. From what I've read about it, Anathem is anything but accessible. Excellent. At the moment, a book with heavy inclueing and as little exposition as possible is what I'm in the mood for.