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05:47 am: vacation reading
As I mentioned before, I mostly read (and slept) on vacation. And I mostly read, y'know, trash. Revisited most of the Jude Deveraux and Catherine Coulter I have in paperback.

/whine
hardbounds were too heeeavy
/end whine

Both held up well. Only one book ended up in the recycle pile (out of a couple dozen).

I got a bunch of great books for Christmas, most of which I also read over vacation.

I'd been nervous about Deck and Herson's The Great Typo Hunt, because a lexicographer I know (and usually admire) tweeted something to the effect that running around correcting typos on signs doesn't mean you're on a quest; it means you're an asshole. I respectfully disagree. I found the book quite charming, for the most part. Yes, there are asshole components to the quest, but it seems to me that these guys had their hearts in the right place. That I, too, am driven nuts by typos on signs (as I would expect of my lexicographer friend, but perhaps not) certainly helps rally me to the authors' cause. They are a bit in love with their own, sometimes high-flying prose, but they're pretty charming when they come down to earth.

Nick Hornby has long been one of my favorite fiction writers, and Juliet, Naked stands up among his best books. It returns to the music obsession of High Fidelity, which (obsession) Hornby writes about with authority, wit, and sympathy. Highly recommend.

The title of Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies is entirely too reminiscent of Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpretor of Maladies, which is an old favorite of mine. So I started reading Mukherjee with a bit of a grudge. The book is fascinating, but the writing isn't as good as the research seems to have been. Mukherjee never met a metaphor he couldn't mix, so there's a bit of wading through the muck. I'm not done yet and may warm up to it more as I get further along.

Emma Rathbone's The Patterns of Paper Monsters is well written, compelling, intermittently fascinating and... not. I'll have to re-read it to pinpoint why I don't want to rave about it (as with, say, Room, which is not dissimilar in some ways, as it has an unusual narrator and plot trajectory). Different subject matter: a kid in a mental health facility. Worth a read.

I don't remember where I came across Richard Restak's The Naked Brain, but I liked this slim volume on neurosociety just fine. He's not the most fabulous writer, but he's accessible and straightforward and has interesting theories that seem well supported. I'd have to do more research to be certain, and I don't have the time. Funny: I'm periodically reminded how very much I wanted to be a brain surgeon. I'm glad I'm not, but the subject still holds me.

I'd been hearing and reading a lot about Mary Roach recently, so I gave some folks some of her books for Christmas. What I hadn't remembered (the upside of CRS!) was that I got Spook (Science Tackles the Afterlife) for myself. So that was a happy surprise on Christmas morning. Roach is sometimes excessively cute with the word games, but I generally thoroughly enjoy her style and love joining her for the research-based journey into the weird. Now I have to borrow all the books that I gave other people and read them, too.

There's been an enormous amount of buzz around Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life Henrietta Lacks, and I'm not entirely sure if it's justified. I did enjoy the book. I certainly learned a lot from it. But does it deserve to be on all the top non-fiction of 2010 lists? I probably don't read enough to know. Henrietta Lacks' contributions to science have clearly been extraordinary and she deserves whatever recognition she gets, and more. Skloot? Dunno. Perhaps I have insufficient appreciation for investigative journalism and clean (if not always vivid) prose.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: goodgood
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 11th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)

all the books

(Link)
are almost ready for you -- although I'm going to be diverted by the latest electronic download! Mary Roach is fun. Jim thoroughly enjoyed Packing for Mars -- I got diverted during Bonk, but happily return. Have you read Stiff? I got it as a retirement gift -- no ill intentions presumed.

YoMaMa
[User Picture]
From:katehaney
Date:January 11th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)

oh goodie!

(Link)
And no, I haven't read Stiff. Will happily do so whenever it's available.

I'm still kinda hoping Dad and Teddy will bond over Packing for Mars. Teddy finds anything space-related (and especially spaceship-related) really interesting.
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