February 16th, 2010

Tea-drinker par excellence

Top 50

How many of the top 50 US cities by population have you visited? I've been to 16 (in  bold) although three of them were only for changes of plane (in italics).

Rank   City   State  
1 New York New York
2 Los Angeles California
3 Chicago Illinois
4 Houston Texas

5 Phoenix Arizona
6 Philadelphia Pennsylvania
7 San Antonio Texas
8 Dallas Texas
9 San Diego California
10 San Jose California
11 Detroit Michigan
12 San Francisco California
13 Jacksonville Florida
14 Indianapolis Indiana
15 Austin Texas
16 Columbus Ohio
17 Fort Worth Texas
18 Charlotte North Carolina
19 Memphis Tennessee
20 Baltimore Maryland
21 Boston Massachusetts
22 El Paso Texas
23 Milwaukee Wisconsin
24 Denver Colorado
25 Seattle Washington
26 Nashville Tennessee
27 Washington District of Columbia

28 Las Vegas Nevada
29 Portland Oregon
30 Louisville Kentucky
31 Oklahoma City Oklahoma
32 Tucson Arizona
33 Atlanta Georgia
34 Albuquerque New Mexico

35 Kansas City Missouri
36 Fresno California
37 Sacramento California
38 Long Beach California
39 Mesa Arizona
40 Omaha Nebraska
41 Cleveland Ohio
42 Virginia Beach Virginia
43 Miami Florida
44 Oakland California
45 Raleigh North Carolina
46 Tulsa Oklahoma
47 Minneapolis Minnesota
48 Colorado Springs Colorado
49 Honolulu Hawaii
50 Arlington Texas
Tea-drinker par excellence

Another top 50

And here's the same for Europe, the top 51 cities. I've been to 28 (bold) although 7 I've just passed though by plane or train (italics). It's 51 this time only because I've been to Copenhagen.

1 London   United Kingdom
2 Berlin   Germany
3 Madrid   Spain
4 Rome   Italy
5 Paris   France
6 Bucharest  Romania
7 Hamburg   Germany
8 Budapest  Hungary
9 Warsaw   Poland
10 Vienna   Austria
11 Barcelona  Spain

12 Sofia   Bulgaria
13 Milan   Italy
14 Munich   Germany
15 Prague   Czech Republic
16 Brussels  Belgium
17 Naples   Italy
18 Birmingham  United Kingdom
19 Cologne   Germany

20 Turin   Italy
21 Marseille  France
22 Athens   Greece
23 Valencia  Spain
24 Łódź   Poland
25 Stockholm  Sweden
26 Kraków   Poland
27 Amsterdam  Netherlands
28 Riga   Latvia
29 Leeds   United Kingdom
30 Sevilla   Spain
31 Palermo   Italy
32 Frankfurt  Germany
33 Zaragoza  Spain
34 Wrocław   Poland
35 Genoa   Italy
36 Rotterdam  Netherlands
37 Stuttgart  Germany
38 Dortmund  Germany
39 Essen   Germany
40 Glasgow   United Kingdom
41 Düsseldorf  Germany
42 Poznań   Poland
43 Helsinki  Finland
44 Vilnius   Lithuania
45 Málaga   Spain
46 Bremen   Germany
47 Lisbon   Portugal
48 Sheffield  United Kingdom
49 Hannover  Germany
50 Dublin   Ireland
51 Copenhagen  Denmark

book

The City & The City

This is China Mieville's latest, now out in paperback. Later this year he's got The Kraken coming so there are no flies on him. The City is Beszel, a place in Eastern Europe where our hero Borlu is a cop investigating a murder. Things get complicated because the City, Ul Qoma, shares the same space as the Beszel in a bizarre fashion. There are clever things going on here about vision and ethnicity wrapped around a murder story. It's all very good apart from the final denouement which comes somewhat out of left field and leaves you feeling a bit cheated really. It was leading up to an Oh, wow! and all I got was an oh, ok, which is a shame really because up until then it was all good.

I hadn't read any of his long fiction since Perdido Street Station which I felt had good stuff but was a bit laboured and contrived. I've enjoyed his short fiction, notably a few lovecraftian pieces and the style has improved much since the earlier effort but the plotting is still not quite there. Perhaps he's still trying a bit too hard to bring everything together when you don't always need to do so (see MJ Harrison for the opposite approach).

But it kept me busy on the train for a couple of days so I'd say read it.