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Stephenson, Neal
A VERY long novel about cryptography, computers, WWII. Very good. 918 p. The paperback I read in 2015 is 1,152 pages.





Fall or Dodge In Hell

Stephenson, Neal
Almost 900 pages of confusing story, some of it great stuff. A weep at the closing paragraphs.




"Watch your step," she admonished him, which he found curiously touching given that he had legs and feet. -- pg. 142

In The Beginning...Was The Command Line

Stephenson, Neal
Why Islam hates us, and why you might want to switch to Linux. Very interesting.




Stephenson, Neal
Started 3/15/04. Looks long... UPDATE: Too long, stopped reading March 2004. 150 pages read, continue at a later date! Reading again 7/2008.

Words I Had To Look Up:

Shawm (pg 84) -- A medieval double-reed musical instrument.

Ricercar (pg. 144) -- A musical composition, instrumental, from the mostly Baroque era.

Zargon (pg. 342) -- Apparantly the argot of Vagabonds, according to the Urban Dictionary.

Qwghimian (pg. 370) -- Language of the fictional islands of Qwghlm.

Sabotage (pg. 444) -- I KNOW what it means, I was interested in the derivation of the word, related to "sabot', a wooden shoe.

Hexen (pg. 458) -- A German verb, "to practice sorcery". So I guess in this case, used as a noun, it practitioners of sorcery.

Obnubilated (pg. 480) -- Unclear, dim, less visible.

Whilom (pg. 562) -- Former; sometime, late, formerly.

Scudding (pg. 613) -- To run or skim along swiftly and easily.

Enconiums (pg. 623) -- Probably a mispeling of "Encomium", glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise.

Conventicles (pg. 629) -- An assembly for religious worship; especially : a secret meeting for worship not sanctioned by law.

Exaltation (pg. 669) -- An excessively intensified sense of well-being, power, or importance.

Exultation (pg. 669) -- The state of being exultant filled with or expressing great joy or triumph.

Antelier (pg. 683) -- A studio or workshop.

Extirpated (pg. 742) -- To destroy completely; to pull up by the root'; to cut out by surgery.

Discursive (pg. 742) -- Marked by analytical reasoning is the best defintion I could figure out here.

Ninehammers (pg. 745) -- Only 14 hits on Google for this word. Maybe a mispelling or "affection" of "ninnyhammers", which means "ninny", and that would seem to fit.

Spanish Netherlands -- Pretty much what is sounds like, now I know where it is.

Ganymede (]g. 826) -- Not just a moon, he was a Trojan prince kidnapped by Zeus to be his lover. Hera hated him.

Lambent sky (pg. 863) -- Softly bright or radiant.

Parlous (pg. 877) -- Full of danger or risk.

Enfeoffed (pg. 891) -- To invest with a fief or fee


...Pepys core of librarian-mercenaries... (pg. 909)




Stephenson, Neal
Just over a thousand pages of thriller action!

Best Quote::

The GPS unit became almost equally obstreperous, though, over Richard’s unauthorized route change, until they finally passed over some invisible cybernetic watershed between two possible ways of getting to their destination, and it changed its fickle little mind and began calmly telling him which way to proceed as if this had been its idea all along.--I copied the quote from another source, so I don't have the page number. It's a VERY popular quote!




Stephenson, Neal
Pretty, certainly easier to absorb than that darn Cryptonomicon that I finished a couple of weeks ago! I didn't get the title until the author hit me over the head with it, in the 600s, page-wise. I spilled coffee all over my borrowed copy and so bought a new copy to replace it. Thirty-five bucks hardcover! Yikes!



Snow Crash

Stephenson, Neal
Virus crashes programmer's brains! Great story, loved Fido! I am so impressed by this guy's writing. He writes what I would if I had any brains and wasn't a lazy bum! 440 p.





The Diamond Age, Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

Stephenson, Neal
An fascinating story of a little girl named Nell and her book. 455 p.



Zodiac, The Eco-Thriller

Stephenson, Neal
Boston harbor is full of toxins and Sangamon Taylor is going after the culprits. Very good! 283 p.


When I got back, bacon was smoldering on the range, filling the house with gas-phase polycyclic aromatics--my favorite carcinogen by a long shot.



The Death And Life Of Superman

Stern, Roger
A rather long (527 page) story with way too much fighting. I did not like all the tedious battles, and I thought the various Supermen confusing. It was depressing to see Supergirl under Lex Luther's thumb, but there was hope she would eventually see through his shenanigans. I have not kept up with the Superman saga; this book clashes with what I remember, and of course the movies and television series do not follow the storyline as laid out in this book. I guess I will try to forget I ever read this.

Words I Had To Look Up:

J'onn J'onzz (pg. 66) I had to Wikilook™ to refresh my memory. He was in Detective Comics, one of my favorites, back in the day.
proscenium (pg. 93) -- The part of a modern stage in front of the curtain.
woods colt pg. 261) -- A child born out of wedlock.


"They're not dead until they're warm and dead!" (pg.525)

I ran across this sentiment before, but I forget where.



The Mysterious Benedict Society

Stewart, Trenton Lee
Four kids save the world from an evil genius. Pretty good stuff, with some good puzzles that I thought I got, but didn't, just like some of the characters in the book. Never did figure out the final puzzle, though.



The Mysterious Benedict Society And The Prisoner's Dilemma

Stewart, Trenton Lee
The third book has the group in an exciting adventure when Mr. Curtain attacks Mr. Benedict's house and steals away the Whisperer.


..."it was on that very day that the brutes showed up and threatened the librarians. Who told them nothing, incidentally."
..."You'd think these would learn their lesson--librarians know how to keep quiet."
"It helps to ask politely," said Mr. Benedict



The Help

Stockett, Kathryn
Novel about 60s women in Mississippi and the women who work for them. Might make a good movie!

Words I Had To Look Up:

degustationary (pg. 214) -- The action or an instance of tasting especially in a series of small portions


"Who are these Fedders, anyway?" Mother asks. "Where are their people from?" -- pg 324



American Nomads

Stowell, Emily
A novelized biography of the author's family coming to America and eventually settling in Oregon. Vanity published, I guess, the printing was poorly done in the beginning, and there are some editing problems, but after getting past the Dutch ancestors (WHY do they keep using the same names for everyone??) I became engaged with the story, and even teared up a bit at points. Still looking for that Huntington family chart, though!



The Water Wars

Stracher, Cameron
It is just one darn thing after another when Vera and brother Will go to rescue their friend Kai. I liked the first half of the book more than the second.



The Grays

Strieber, Whitley
A novel about UFOs. Didn't care for it. Check my blog entry for points of complaint.



The Other Hotel

Stroke, Jack
Quite a number of people find their lives intertwining in not necessarily fun (but interesting!) ways at a decrepit hotel located in Melbourne.


She was the female equivalent of a [family size] pack of Doritos. - p.177




Stross, Charles
A complicated future cybernistic world with replicators and all kinds of stuff. Robin is some sort of undercover espionage soldier. Took about 80 pages to get going. Good story. Some Prisoner references, some library stuff.

Words I Had To Look Up:

Verminous (pg. 21) -- Having to do with vermin. Obvious!

Auto-da-fe' (pg. 90) -- Act of faith.

Osmotically (pg.115) -- by means of osmosis . Another doh!

Apoptosis (pg. 115) -- A form of cell death.

Panopticon (pg. 131) -- A prison constucted so all prisoners can be seen at one time. I think I've looked this up before.

Sic transit gloria panopticon (pg. 168) --Thus passes the glory of the, well, panopticon!

Louche (pg. 240) -- Of questionable taste or morality; decadent.


Be seeing you. (pg. 275)


Neither Janis--nor I--is remotely qualified to be a real dark age librarian, with their esoteric mastery of catalogue systems and controlled information classification vocabularies, but we can run a small municipal lending library and reference section with a bit of scurrying around and a lot of patience. (pg. 127)



Halting State

Stross, Charles
Crime in near-future Edinburgh. Lots of cybertalk, very Neal Stephensonish, but about two hundred pages shorter. On Amazon a commenter says the book is told in second person. I don't know if that is correct, but it certainly is written in a different-than-usual style.

Words I Had To Look Up:

Pre-prandial (pg. 271) -- Before meals.

Haptic (pg. 315) -- Tactile, sense of touch.



Missile Gap

Stross, Charles
Earth is taken up and stuck on a big, flat disk. A really BIG, flat disk!

On page 86, if Lenin is one head, Stalin is another, and the big is third, who is the fourth head mentioned in the text. And I quote, "Gagarin brings his binoculars to focus on the fourth head." Not to mention that the illustration on the facing page shows three heads...

The book jackets says this is the "Signed, Lettered Edition" priced at 150 bucks. But I don't see any signing, nor lettering. Did the library get ripped off? Is this some scam edition?

Words I Had To Look Up:

Dirigiste (pg. 44) -- Directed by a central authority.
S Doradus (pg. 62) -- The brightest star in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Gnomically (pg. 78) -- In a gnomic, didactic, or sententious manner. Yeah, cleared THAT up!
Fraught (pg.84) -- . "...boring and fraught." 1. Filled with a specified element or elements; charged: an incident fraught with danger; an evening fraught with high drama. 2. Marked by or causing distress; emotional. I think, it's #2.
Instantiations (pg. 96) -- A representation of an idea in the form of an instance of it


20 books displayed
[Abadzis - Alcott] [Alcott - Anderson] [Andreae - Atkinson] [Atkinson - Balf] [Ballard - Barnard] [Barnard - Barnes] [Barnhill - Barr] [Barr - Bear] [Bear - Beaton] [Beaton - Beaton] [Beattie - Bivald] [Black - Block] [Block - Bonham] [Borchert - Brenaman] [Brennert - Bryson] [Bryson - Bujold] [Bujold - Cannell] [Cannell - Card] [Card - Caunitz] [Caunitz - Choldenko] [Choldenko - Clarke] [Clarke - Cody] [Cody - Colfer] [Colfer - Connelly] [Connelly - Constantine] [Constantine - Corbett] [Corcoran - Crais] [Crais - Crichton] [Crichton - Curry] [Curry - Cussler] [Cussler - Dean] [Deaver - Dixon] [Dixon - Dowell] [Dozois - DuPrau] [Durham - Emerson] [Emerson - Evanovich] [Evans - Farmer] [Farmer - Fitzhugh] [Flanagan - Flinn] [Flint - Foster] [Foster - Francis] [Francis - Francis] [Francis - Freedman] [Freedman - Gaiman] [Galli - Gerber] [Gibbons - Gores] [Gores - Granger] [Granger - Greenfield] [Greenlaw - Grimes] [Grimes - Haddix] [Haddix - Hall] [Hall - Hallinan] [Hallinan - Hautman] [Hautman - Heinlein] [Heinlein - Heller] [Heller - Herman] [Herman - Hess] [Hesse - Higgins] [Highsmith - Hobb] [Hobb - Hosseini.] [Howe - Iversen] [Ives - Johnson] [Johnson - Kaminsky] [Kaminsky - Kellog] [Kellog - King] [King - Klise] [Knight - Kraus] [Krueger - Larson] [Larson - Leckie] [Leckie - Leonard] [Lescroart - Lichtman] [Liebster - Lowry] [Lowry - Lynch] [MacAvoy - Mankell] [Mankell - Martine] [Martine - Matas] [Matthews - McCall Smith] [McCall Smith - McCrumb] [McCullers - Meluch] [Meluch - Moffett] [Monninger - Moon] [Moore - Muir] [Muir - Nicholson] [Nimmo - Norton] [Novik - O'Brian] [O'Brian - Oliver] [Oppel - Paretsky] [Paretsky - Parker] [Parker - Parker] [Parker - Patterson] [Patterson - Pears] [Pears - Perry] [Perry - Pohl] [Pope - Poyer] [Poyer - Pratchett] [Pratchett - Pronzini] [Pronzini - Pullman] [Pullman - Reeve] [Reeve - Riggs] [Ringo - Robinson] [Robinson - Rowling] [Rubens - Saberhage] [Saberhagen - Scalzi] [Scalzi - Scieszka] [Scithers - Scottoline] [Scottoline - Sheinkin] [Sheinkin - Simak] [Singer - Sneider] [Snelling - Standiford] [Stanhope - Stephenson] [Stephenson - Stross] [Stross - Swee] [Sweeney - Tepper] [Thompson - Turtledove] [Turtledove - Van Draanen] [Van Draanen - Varley] [Veglahn - Watts] [Webster - Werlin] [West - Westlake] [Westlake - Winchester] [Winchester - Woods] [Wouk - Zusak]