The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Tag Leni Zumas

Readings for February 2018

In which expectations are challenged.

There Are Doors by Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe's There Are Doors tells the surreal story of a man's inter-dimensional quest to regain his true love. Here's what I love about Gene Wolfe: the obvious twist in this type of story is that the protagonist is crazy. Well Wolfe addresses that in the first chapter by telling us that the protagonist is indeed a mental patient. But that's not the whole story.

Wolfe's style of narration is perfectly suited to this sort of story. He always has this dreamy style of writing which requires the reader to pay close attention, and leaves you questioning what exactly was described. I love it, and I recommend it.

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

I absolutely loved Leni Zumas' The Listeners. When I saw that she finally had another novel published, I sought it out immediately. However I must admit I was a bit put off when I learned that abortion was a major theme of Red Clocks. Luckily I decided to stick with it really enjoyed it.

Zumas is really skilled at story telling, and her characters are very compelling. Plus, this book is set in a fictional Oregon coast town, which is not too surprising given that Zumas works at Portland State University. So what's not to like? Well, the theme of the novel is fairly difficult at times. And there was no Juno-esque cheerful ending per se. But it was a significant read and I recommend it.

Readings for July 2012

You have to love summer reading.

All Clear by Connie Willis

I took a long break in the middle of this two-part novel. I liked Blackout pretty well, but I was worried by the fact that the first volume did not provide a strong hook for why I should start the next one. Then as I was starting All Clear, I felt the same minor frustration that I was not getting enough explanation of the why of the plot.

My concerns ended up being groundless because the whole of the story as concluded in All Clear is fantastic. Willis does provide the payoff, and it is excellent. The combination of the great setting with the intriguing plot makes for a great overall read. Therefore it is definitely recommended as an excellent science fiction novel.


This month I enjoyed Tin House #52. Holly Goddard Jones' "The Right Way to End a Story" was truly brilliant, and the overall offerings were excellent as usual.

The Listeners by Leni Zumas

The ListenersI asked for this book for my birthday solely based on its presence in an advertisement in Tin House. I do not often go with something totally random, but I was not disappointed. I was not sure if I would really like it based on the publisher's blurb:

Hypnotic and profoundly disquieting, The Listeners explores a far-out world where a patchwork of memory, sensation, and imagination maps the flickering presence of ghosts.

Yes, the novel is stylistically unique. Yet what actually makes this a great read are the characters and relationships. I was genuinely touched by the story, so I recommend it.

The Peaceable Kingdom by Stanley Hauerwas

I had read much Hauerwas without reading his seminal work. I was definitely pleased with it. I agree with many of Hauerwas' positions, though I still find the ethical framework and methodology of Richard Hays more compelling. This is an important book in Christian ethics, and so I recommend it to all.