Saturday, January 17, 2009

More multi read books

And not a knitting book among them.

This one popped into my head just a few minutes ago. Aztec by Gary Jennings. I first read it while in college taking Pre-Columbian Civilization. Aztec is a very long book - 800 to 900 pages long. I read it in a week, taking every waking moment when I wasn't in class or lab. My roommate wanted to kill me as I don't think I spoke to her all week long.

Aztec is a historical novel set in time just before and during the Spanish conquest. Aztec provides a fascinating look at what life may have been like during that time, told from the point of view from Mixtli. I'll warn you that it's full of sex, human sacrifice, war, and some gruesome revenge. It will also grab you and not let you go until you've read it cover to cover.

I do like to read historical fiction as it brings bare facts to life. It's one thing to read about a Wiki entry about Xipe Totec, and quite another to see the ritual richly imagined enough to (unfortunately) picture it. Or to see the images of the pyramids gleaming white in the sun except for where blood runs down from the sacrifices taking place at the top. In some ways Jennings reminds me of Tolkien in that the description of places creates an amazing picture in your mind. I can as easily picture the crowds on the day of the installation of the sun stone as I can see Isengard or Minas Tirith (and I don't need Peter Jackson's interpretations as the way I've pictured it for years still works for me).

So take some time, if your tastes run that way, and read Aztec. If you prefer the excesses of the Roman Empire, then may I suggest The Kingdom of the Wicked by Anthony Burgess. I won't go on and on about it as I think I've blogged about it in the past.

One other book I'll mention at this time is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. I may have blogged about it before too. To summarize, the moon is a penal colony. A bit of rebellion is started, and those who are involved include a sentient computer - oh hell, go read the Wiki about it and buy the book. Heinlein also wrote Stranger in a Strange Land, another great read.

These are all books that will have you thinking about them long after you've finished reading them.

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