Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vacation Reading

I had a fairly broad selection, helped by lots of trains and a family that goes to bed early: two historical novels, a King novel, a literary thriller, a spy novel and a book on the Supreme Court. This hopefully will make up for reading almost nothing in February (in addition to not working out or studying German, Feb was a waste of a month). Also, none of the pics have links to amazon, I just stole the cover shots. But feel free to go to to buy them. How it sorted out:

"The Club Dumas" - Arturo Perez Reverte: Very good, fast read with just enough literary allusions and references to "The Three Musketeers" to make me feel intellectually superior to those around me -- always a plus. B+

"The Name of The Rose" - Umberto Eco: Much better than I remember it from 15+ years back. Fast-paced murder mystery interwoven with plenty of papal intrigue and religious and philosophical discussions. I only wish Eco'd translated all the Latin quoted but it's still an A

"The Gunslinger" - Stephen King: I finally read this, mainly because it was in the apartment we were staying in in Rome, and I figured it'd be a good challenge to finish in 3 nights. It wasn't that hard, as it's short and a quick read. I'm interested in his quest for the Tower, but I'm not dying to read it. I feel confident that I can wait until the next trip home to pick up the next few in the series. Of course, the last time I did that with a series of books, I'd lost interest by the time I returned. We'll see B

"The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America" - Jeffrey Rosen: One I've been waiting on for a while, this was mixed. His basic thesis that temperament, not ability or political views, defines a successful justice, is the key to 3 of the 4 profiles -- the other is interesting, but both justices are basically lone guns railing against their (perceived) ignorant cohorts. It also doesn't help that he varies his definition of "successful" -- at times equating it with predicting future decisions and others as having the ability to swing other justices. Overall, an interesting surface look at how the court works. I'll be reading others to compare B-

"The Angel Of Darkness" - Caleb Carr: The sequel to "The Alienist", this has been sitting on my shelf for 10 years due to a coworker's dismissal as less enthralling. I enjoyed it, but it got to be a bit convoluted and the ending was too much. But if you like the idea of CSI or Law & Order set in 1890s NYC (with plenty of historical figures making cameos), go for it. An easy read, if overly long B-

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