alethiometer

I have comments on three things I’ve been reading.

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman – I really enjoyed this book. After a discussion with a good friend in Dallas about the Harry Potter series, she gave me all three books in this trilogy – this being the first. I’d say it’s appropriate for a slightly older reader than the early Harry Potters. And other than the lead character being a young girl, I wouldn’t have pegged it as a “child’s book” at all.

You should pick up a copy (I saw several at Half Price on Westheimer, recently).

I won’t comment entirely on the plot, but one thing I will comment on, is the alethiometer. It is a somewhat mysterious device that Lyra comes into possession of. It has all kinds of symbols on it, and many hands. By placing all but one of the hands on various symbols and concentrating, a question can be asked. The remaining hand “does a dance” between the symbols to deliver the answer, which must be interpreted.

But each symbol has multiple levels of meaning, and determining which one is the trick.

I feel the same way about icons on LJ. For instance, my mosquito icon. Sometimes, it represents annoyance. Sometimes, that I’m trying to annoy you. Sometimes, that something is being inspected at close range. Sometimes,…

So, my goal is to eventually attain a perfect collection of such icons.


The King of Torts, John Grisham – My sister gave my this book because I’m currently working at a personal injury law firm. I’m 50 pages or so into it (and I will finish it) and I have to say it’s is extremely boringly written! The plot is trite and predictable. The characters are 1-dimensional. The setting (DC, where I have lived) is entirely uncompelling.

I think if you laid out the plot to a graduate level writing class and asked them all to write the novel, at least half of them could do a better job.


Searching for Eddie Peabody, Zanto Peabody – Appearing in the Houston Chronicle today [article] and continuing for 8 days, this is the story of one of the Chron’s writers searching for his father, who has gone missing in the war-torn Liberia.

This is usually the kind of thing I don’t like, as it usually seems self serving. And it would be easy for any Chronicle reader to not know there had been problems in Liberia (and continue to be). But I though the first installment was very interesting. I’ll be reading all week!

There’s also an online multimedia version which I haven’t looked at, so can’t comment on.

-b