about a week ago i finished the baroque cycle. after about…oh…5 months. neal stephenson is known for writing long books, but the baroque cycle is one huge epic story spanning eight books in three volumes. about 3000 pages total. for 5 months i hauled one of those books to and from work, reading bits and pieces during my commute and before going to bed. i read all three volumes in a row, one after another so i wouldn’t forget anything. except i forgot that the whole thing is 3000 pages, so inevitably i had to flip back and forth a lot. plus neal stephenson is the best at dropping these bombs that completely change how you consider the past 300 pages you read (more flipping back, re-reading, etc).

anyway, the baroque cycle was great. i’ve discovered that i really like historical fiction. it also had a shockingly almost-satisfying ending. i’ve read almost all of his other books and each one was an amazing beginning and middle with a last 10 pages that felt half-assed and completely frustratingly devoid of closure. if any of you have a few months to spare, or maybe you want to take it slower and immerse yourself for a year or so, the baroque cycle would be an excellent choice. as i neared the end of the system of the world (the last volume) i was sad to see it all come to an end – this little universe that had been living in my imagination for the past 5 months – but also excited to finally be able to read something else.

something more light-hearted, maybe.

something lighter.

something i could fit in my messenger bag without ripping out the stitching that holds the strap to the bag.

thus, in the past week i’ve taken a leisurely jaunt through the akhenaten adventure, a kids’ book i bought last year (first in a series called children of the lamp). it was great and satisfying and so blissfully short. after my next few books i’ll be able to tackle the blind watchmaker or that brian greene, or maybe the 1000 page or so philippa gregory.