East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Birthday book haul, a preview: going Baroque

At the end of May I am in the habit of celebrating my birthday – because life cycles, growing older and wiser, that sort of stuff.
I usually celebrate with a fine dinner (details as soon as we’ve settled for a menu), and by spending an inordinate amount of money in books and ebooks.
This year I started early, because special offers and massive discounts don’t wait for the aforementioned cycles.
So yes, it’s still two weeks away, but I went and bought a few ebooks “for my birthday”.

And right now I’ve just finished cleaning up and setting straight my old Kindle reader, because one of the birthday books is the complete Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson.
All the 3500 pages of it.

Neal Stephenson and Peter F. Hamilton are, to me, the best reason to invest in an e-reader: the guys write great books, but also, alas, BIG books. They don’t seem to be able to keep it under 1000 pages.
This means their books, while being a lot of fun, are also heavy, expensive, and require a lot of shelf space.
And believe me, I’ve fallen asleep while reading Hamilton’s Great North Road, and it hurt.

So, I spent an hour looking for online how-tos and stuff, and breathed new life in my old Kindle, and then loaded the 4 mega file of the Baroque books.
It will be a pleasant summer night read.

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The long and short of it

I write mostly short stories and novellas. The main reasons, I think, have to do with time – on one hand, I often write to pay my bills, and writing fast is OK, but shorter works can be mailed out to publishers faster. But there is also another element, and it’s got to do with my impatience – as I often write to see how the story will go and what will happen to the characters, by writing short I get my answers sooner.

The same goes, I believe, with reading – as I grow old I find myself more attracted to short stories and novellas than to longer works, and I tend to prefer one shot novels to lengthy series.

But there are exceptions.

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