As the reading list fluxes as if it were written on the bellows of an old accordion, I find I need to devote some blog space to the manifestation of my own personal opinion of these efforts. I’ve just recently read:
jPod by Douglas Coupland. Extracted from the gritty bowels of post-bubble apathetic technolust, Coupland revisits his fascination with Vancouver-as-subculture as he writes himself into a jarring re-exploration of the groundbreaking spirit of Microserfs that is neither unsatisfying nor easily dismissed as a cop-out novel. I found the sugar-coated nihilism to be somewhat overdone — bittersweet, if you will — but gorged on it none-the-less, and left the story feeling like a fast-food junkie after a binge.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pulman. I stumbled through a slow start on this supposedly young-adult novel that had sidestepped from a slightly askew alternative reality populated with fantastic punkish memes of familiar but abstracted inventiveness. As if slowly spinning the background into a rich tapestry of character development, Pulman eventually hooks the reader into a wild blend of action and shades-of-gray moral philosophy where no one is truly good and no one is truly evil that some reviewers have gravely mistaken for polluted indoctrination.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Outside of the light there is Shadow who struggles his way through something of a metaphysical adventure, cavorting with the demigods of cultures past as they struggle to twist the belief from a modern society of North Americans and set the stage for a battle askew from recognizable proportions. Gaiman’s writing has matured greatly since his earlier works, but my inner skeptic tasted foundations bittersweet from unnecessary quasi-deus ex machina and elaborations into the paranormal that answered questions while the author slipped out the back door.