Tuesday, September 01, 2009
The Year of Good Books: August
While the good weather in August lent itself, in theory, to lots of reading on the balcony, the monthly book total doesn't really reflect that. It was odd that the 2 non-fiction books had far less believable stories (Oppenheimer tried to poison his tutor? and wasn't even expelled?!?). September is looking like it might be dominated by "Anathem", which is fine by me -- I love me some Neal Stephenson.
Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe - Laurence Bergreen's story of Magellan and his apparently cursed crew of lusty, wine-swilling sailors is riveting. The tripe we were fed in school about his trip can't match the real story. Wow. Make sure to read it only when you have a steady supply of vitamin C on hand.
A Most Wanted Man - John Le Carré weaves an intricate tale of a lawyer and a banker fighting for personal redemption and the freedom of a man either on the run from torture in multiple countries -- or a terrorist. Or both. While there's almost no action until the end, it's gripping throughout. Though I have to say, "heavy-handed" doesn't quite fully describe his description of the American intelligence community.
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell. Unlike some people*, I do love his books -- even when I get annoyed with his random departures from the subject at hand. A great read with some interesting tidbits for thought.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Martina Lewycka's novel got rave reviews as hilarious, but I didn't laugh all that much. The twentieth century Ukrainian history was fascinating**, the humor wasn't all that funny. An easy read, but overrated.
* OK, not "some people". Just "a person" -- Schmubb.
** Possibly less fascinating if you're not dating a Ukrainian