Monday, June 9, 2008

Hello, new books!

I got a couple of new books this past weekend.















The first I picked up is The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges. I bought this at the Field Museum in their gift shop attached to their new exhibit, Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids. I had looked at this book probably a year ago, and then more of less forgot about it, and then remembered about it again about a month ago, but couldn't remember the title or who wrote. I could only remember how unique the cover looked. Well, imagine my surprise when I found it sitting on the shelf at the museum! I know I'm trying to still hold off on purchasing any books right now, but I couldn't pass this one up.

The description, from Amazon, reads: "[Borges], writing with sometime collaborator Guerrero, compiled 82 one- and two-page descriptions of everything from "The Borametz" (a Chinese "plant shaped like a lamb, covered with golden fleece") to "The Simurgh" ("an immortal bird that makes its nest in the tree of science") and "The Zaratan" (a particularly cunning whale) in An Anthology of Fantastic Zoology in 1954. He added 34 more (and illustrations) for a 1967 edition, giving it the present title, and it was published in English in 1969. This edition, with fresh translations from Borges's Collected Fictions translator Hurley, and new illustrations from Caldecott-winner Sís, gives the beings new life. They prove the perfect foils for classic Borgesian musings on everything from biblical etymology to the underworld, giving the creatures particularly (and, via Sís, whimsically) vivid and perfectly scaled shape. "We do not know what the dragon means, just as we do not know the meaning of the universe," Borges (1899–1986) and Guerrero write in a preface, and the genius of this book is that it seems to easily contain the latter within it."

I think I'm going to read this one in sections. I think it might be a little tedious reading all the entries straight through.
















When I got home last night, I found that I had received another ARC in the mail, John Scalzi's Zoe's Tale. I've wanted to read Scalzi for awhile now, but I didn't realize when I requested this book that is was part of a series. It is described as being a stand alone novel, so I'm hoping that I can get into it without having read the rest of the series, but I may have to set this one aside until I can read the other books first.

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