Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The System of the World

After nearly three long years of reading these books by Neal Stephenson I have finally completed the final volume. The System of the World contains the final three novels in his huge Baroque Cycle a “project” read that I began back in 2008. This volume contains these three novels: Solomon's Gold, Currency, and The System of the World. All told there are nearly 3000 pages of historical fiction, historical fact, irreverent humor, and a bit of science fiction thrown in.

I don't have too much to say about the story itself as there is just so much here. Lots of main characters and hundreds of lesser characters, combined with a verbose hi-brow style of writing make these books a viable read only for those who really want to tackle a challenge. Neal Stephenson is one incredibly intelligent human being and he allows his intellect to permeate his prose to such an extent that large parts of these books are almost unreadable. I plowed through them as a "project." That is, I work on them in between other reading with the ultimate goal of just getting through them. I am also a completist and so refused to give up on these books even though I see by reviews that many others did indeed given up on them. I didn't start out planning these as a project but after I got through about 100 pages of the first one, I decided I just couldn't read them in the normal fashion. I would have dumped them. I must say I'm happy that I made it through them but, at the same time, I won't be taking them with me to that proverbial deserted island.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire