Books, glorious FREE books

Ah, the proof of the second volume of Neal Stephenson’s new series, the Confusion arrived today, courtesey of Alan from Random House. Another massive tome, just as the first installment, the amazing Quicksilver, was. And even better it is SIGNED! Woohoo, happy bookseller!

Amazing book, Stephenson’s writing is wonderfully rich – not only his imagination but his excellent descriptive powers and a range of metaphors and synonyms that would make even Will Self weep with envy (I’m sure Matthew will back me up here). His lenghty description of a Restoration rake’s dandy clothes was hilarious and biting and the pseudo-historical styling of some of the prose – such as the lisitng of the minutes of the Royal Society’s experiments – gives a lovely touch and often an amusing one. And the period in Quicksilver, the Restoration era – characters like a young Ben Franklin, Isaac Newton, Pepys… It is a fascinating period of history and reminds me very much of the biography of Doctor John Dee I read a couple of years back. It is the emergence of the modern, Western scientific methodology, yet these people still have feet partly set in the Old World of Alchemy. Magic, science, politics and intrigues, all of which lead to the Englightenment and shaped the modern world. And as a bonus the same publisher’s rep had an advance proof of a scientific history on exactly this period and the emergence of the modern mind… Now all I need is time to fit it all in… Oh and that big history of the Scottish enlightenment… And all the other books I want to read and must read…