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katehaney

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08:16 pm: Books
I guess I'm glad I didn't love Dan AbramsMan down (proof beyond a reasonable doubt that women are better cops, drivers, gamblers, spies, world leaders, beer tasters, hedge fund managers, and just about everything else), but I kinda knew I wouldn’t. I tend to be uncomfortable with anything that polarizes along gender lines. Abrams is a lawyer, and you can tell. He has lots of citations (good!), but not convincing ones (bad!). He quotes articles from mainstream press sources about scientific studies, fer pete’s sake. The mainstream press is notoriously inaccurate in writing up scientific studies. (And I’m too lazy to look up the articles to find the original studies.) He doesn’t make a solid case, alas.

I should note that the first thing that set my spidey sense a-tingling was when he quoted a rabbi (IOW, one, single person, not, AFAIK, any sort of authority) on why Orthodox Jewish widows are permitted to marry so much sooner than widowers (because the men take longer to get over the trauma, according to the rabbi). But I’ve read in far more authoritative sources (namely Faye Kellerman’s books, which are mysteries that expound upon various issues of Judaism and whose information I have never once verified) that widows are permitted to marry sooner because they need the financial support of a husband.

Ha! (DIS)PROVED!

OK, not so much. But I don’t know why I should trust Faye Kellerman any less than I do Abrams’ rabbi, y’know?

Bottom line: It’s interesting, but not convincing.

Sophie Hannah’s The Dead Lie Down is a weird mystery novel (I wouldn’t call it a straight mystery, because it reads more like a novel that happens to include a mystery – at least for the first half or so). I ultimately enjoyed it, but I very nearly put it down several times before it got going (about 150 pages into a 470-page book). For those who read more slowly, it might be a challenge to stick with it long enough. I’d read another Hannah if I stumbled across it, but I wouldn’t buy one unless the alternatives were a bit grim.

Tony Hillerman edited The Mysterious West; I bought it because it has a Dana Stabenow story in it and was happy to stumble across Marcia Muller, J.A. Jance, and Karen Kijewski, all of whom I’ve read and enjoyed in the best. I skipped a few of the stories (all male, but I think that’s coincidink) but generally liked the collection. I do think Stabenow’s is the best of the bunch.

I tend to love Nick Hornby, and Slam is no exception, though I’d forgotten I read it (I pegged that vaguely familiar feeling to having read all his other books) until I got to Roof. Hard to forget a kid named Roof. I love the protagonist’s description of wanting to climb into his Mum’s lap when he’s feeling scared and uncertain. I hope Teddy always thinks of my lap as a refuge too.

Dunno how it landed in my “dude, why the hell haven’t you read this yet?” pile, but I’m glad to have revisited it. Now it goes onto my “read this again someday shelf” instead.

Despite the occasional gore and other bad taste, I also tend to love The Oatmeal. I hadn’t planned to buy 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (and other useful guides) because I’ve read all his cartoons, but was sucked in by the “25 new cartoons” tag line on his website. Good gracious this guy cracks me up. I actually stayed up late (after 10, even!) to finish it. I’m particularly fond of his guides to grammar.

Lori recommended Richardson & Schuster’s Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask): The Secrets to Surviving Your Child's Sexual Development from Birth to the Teens in the comments of my disgusted post about another book on sexuality, and she was spot on. It’s a terrific resource (though it’s a bit weak on advice about sexual predators, unfortunately). I also got Harris & Emberley’s It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, which Teddy loves. He skips all the parts about kissing and sex, but is fascinated by reproduction and anatomy. Go figure.

I’ve tried Nora Roberts’ books before, but never liked them, which is too bad; she’s so prolific I could keep busy for a few weeks catching up on her stuff. So when a friend lent me 3 of her books for the trip back from LA, I was skeptical. The first was actually OK – better than a Harlequin, certainly – so I was optimistic. The next two were the first in The Bride Quartet, so I felt a tiny woo hoo (I tend to like series, such as Deveraux’ Montgomery family, especially the Velvet quartet). And hot diggity! I read them on 2 different flights and quite enjoyed them. So I got the last two of the series (actually paid for them, rather than waiting for my next visit to LA).

Well, I dunno if it’s being captive on a flight with nothing else to do or if the books are just better read individually, but I didn’t like the last two anywhere near as much as the first two. So I’ll try them again in a few months and see if they’re better the second time around.

I got Lane Smith’s It’s a Book for Teddy, hoping it would be a good one to read to his class. Alas, its repeated use of “Jackass” means it would be an imprudent choice, ‘cause damn it’s a fine book. In it, a youngster encounters a book, and doesn’t know how to use it. Well written, funny, and cool illustrations too.

Dana Stabenow edited Wild Crimes and hers is the only story I’ve liked in it. Bummer. I’ll keep picking it up periodically to try others, but I’m not optimistic. Too bad.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: okayokay
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Comments

From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 24th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)

Books

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I'm always grateful for the time you save me!

I like Nora Roberts most of the time, as well as her persona, JD Robb. But I'll skip the Abrams, thanks. And maybe most of the advice on kids books. (I finished mine, after all.) But thanks for The Oatmeal, whom I'd not encountered. Funny!

Thanks again.

YoMaMa
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From:katehaney
Date:March 24th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC)

excellent!

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I didn't know you liked Nora Roberts! I didn't know you even *read* Nora Roberts.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 24th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)

Re: excellent!

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I got at her backwards (through JD Robb) -- and haven't read a lot, but some, and I've enjoyed what I read. Now all I need is a title . . . rots a ruck. Can't remember.
[User Picture]
From:katehaney
Date:March 25th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)

I have the same problem

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CRS.
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