On the other hand, having a little lady in the rental car who will get you to any address is pretty cool. That and a credit card are a dangerous pair. Come to think of it, a credit card and anything is a dangerous pair. :) And I've learned something: Tell the little lady in your rental car where you are staying before you leave. And if you go anywhere incriminating while you're out and you tell the little lady about it, push the buttons that ask her to please forget where you went. Otherwise, the next renter of the car will be able to scroll back and see where you were. I know, it's not much of a security hole, but you can never be too careful. ;)
So where should I go in the next few days for lunch or dinner that's within easy driving distance of Stanford/Menlo Park, CA?
Having plowed through the Aubrey-Maturin series, I'm really ready to sink my teeth into something different. I'm currently reading Calvin Trillin's Tummy Trilogy -- a $mas present from a friend (most of my $mas presents are still unread due to my addiction to the previously-mentioned series). However, in the past few days, I've also managed to pick up
The Doctorow will be fun, but it's not very long. I could even read it on the net if I wanted to. I think I'm feeling obligated to read it, which is never a good way to get me to read anything. But it's still a strong contender.
The Hamilton blind-sided me: Some friends and I had just been saying we thought it was time for more Peter Hamilton, but none of us knew it was coming out. Today my copy of Locus arrived, and the back cover had an ad for Pandora's Star. I immediately went and got a copy.
I've been waiting on the Holdstock book for a while, and it just came out. His last fantasy was very good, possibly at the level of his Ryhope Wood books.
The Lethem I've been resisting buying, hoping I could hold out until a trade or mass market release, but I didn't make it. His last book, Motherless Brooklyn, was possibly the best book I read in the last half of 2003.
Nothing to do,
Nothing to do?
Put some mustard in your shoe,
Fill your pockets full of soot,
Drive a nail into your foot,
Put some sugar in your hair,
Place your toys upon the stair,
Smear some jelly on the latch,
Eat some mud and strike a match,
Draw a picture on the wall,
Roll some marbles down the hall,
Pour some ink in daddy's cap --
Now go upstairs and take a nap.
I'm a little sad. Sunday night, I stayed up and read the last few pages of Blue at the Mizzen, the last of the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. I think I started reading these in early November 2003, so I finished all 20 books -- about 6,200 pages -- in under four months. I even re-read one.
I've never felt sad at reading the last of a book or series before. But I've never cared so much for a book's characters. I really wanted Jack to escape his legal troubles. I really wanted things to work out between Stephen and his wife. And I was upset when people died.
O'Brian was still working on the series when he died in January 2000. A couple of the last books were not quite so good as earlier ones, but they were still good. And the original planned extent of the series was over anyway, as the Napoleonic wars did end: no more history to winnow through. And O'Brian did a lot of winnowing and research. In one of the forwards, he said that if he'd known the series was going to be so popular and go on for so long, he would have started earlier in history, so as not to run out of source material.
There's plenty of material about O'Brian and his books on the WWW. I'll note just one: O'Brian's US publisher, W. W. Norton, has an O'Brian site.
Mr. O'Brian: A glass of wine with you, sir. And thank you.