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07:21 am: Books
I can't seem to get my act together to write these more often. Sorry. And of course I always forget the majority of what I've read since the last time by the time I get around to writing again.

Excuses, excuses. Anyhoo.

Harlen Coben was always a favorite of mine. Play Dead, which I think I picked up at an airport book store, was just (re-?)released in paperback recently, though it's apparently one of the first books he wrote.

It shows. It's ok. Relatively engrossing. Some interesting characters. But nowhere near Myron Bolitar (or Windsor Horne Lockwood III - I do love a deadly sidekick).

I can't believe that David Crystal has never hit my radar before. I watched some videos (sorry, no links, but a search on YouTube yields a gabillion, especially on his recent ideas that texting helps the language) and was intrigued, so I ordered The Stories of English, which I've not yet finished. Fascinating material, but dense and slow-going. Debunks lots of myths (most originated by Bede, from what I can tell) about how English evolved (and is evolving).

I couldn't resist Portia de Rossi's Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, because I love Ellen DeGeneres and so figured de Rossi must be something special. She's sure been through hell. I sympathized with anorexia on a level I never have before (not eat? what? SO foreign to me). It's quite well written, for a celebrity memoir (I write that with the [lack of] authority of having read perhaps a dozen of them).

There wasn't as much Ellen as I would've liked (almost none), but worth the read nonetheless.

There's been much to-do about Emma Donoghue's Room and I think it's deserved. Deceptively simple in the telling (and it's clear she's been quite close to a five-year-old or two), it's really interesting. It's told from the perspective of Jack (the 5YO), who was born two years into his mother's seven-year captivity (timely, with Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard in the news). Donoghue has so many deceptive little details covered. She's also a plain ol' good writer. I highly recommend it.

Gene Doucette's Immortal is a terrific, terrific book. Adam, the protagonist, is a cheeky, irreverent, often very funny, untrustworthy fellow who stopped aging at around 32 and can't get sick (though he can be injured or killed). Although there are elements of fantasy (pixies, dragons), it is most emphatically not a fantasy... more of a mystery/adventure. One of the best novels I've read in recent years.

Lise Eliot's Pink Brain, Blue Brain is fascinating in small doses and tedious in large ones (rather like her last book, What's Going on in There). I've almost finished it, but it's one of those books that I keep putting down in favor of re-reading something smutty I've read a dozen times before (Deveraux, McNaught, Gabaldon, Coulter). Yet when I pick it up again, I'm riveted for another chapter or two before I've had enough. A lot of it comes down to hormonal differences at key points, unexpected lack of differences in many points, and the overall importance of nurture over nature (the differences between the genders are significantly smaller, in most cases, than the variation within gender).

Sheri Koone's Prefabulous+Sustainable is sort of a coffee-table book showing that prefabricated houses can be beautiful and quite green. I don't buy many coffee-table books, but I'm glad I bought this one. The pictures are beautiful and the text gives just enough detail (including construction costs). It's a bit expensive, so feel free come visit us and read mine instead of buying your own. I admit to repeated episodes of new-house lust while reading it, but I think that's a desired response.

I wrote that I wasn't going to buy Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest until it came out in paperback. I lied. I am weak. It's good. Solid addition to the Larsson canon. And, alas, the last.

I read John P. Kotter's Leading Change and Douglas K. Smith's Taking Charge of Change to help with The Project at work. I've used both over the years since business school and found them moderately useful when I'm dealing with change initiatives (which is to say: often). This time, as before, I prefer Kotter to Smith, as his advice is more specific and actionable.

David Nicholls' One Day (which I would've sworn I wrote about months ago but now can't find) is quite good. It's a novel set on the same day each year for twenty years, looking at the relationship between Emma and Dexter. Recommended.

I don't remember how I heard about Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone, but I'm glad I did. It's rather long, at 658 pages, but doesn't feel long. Mostly, it whips right by. It's the story of a surgeon who's an identical twin with adoptive parents living in Ethiopia (mostly; he moves to the U.S. as a young adult). Riveting in places, always at least interesting. Quite good.

I have a stack of others to be read sitting in the bedroom, though I must admit I get through the fluffy stuff lots faster than the non-fiction or even the "good" fiction... or even the parenting stuff. Oh well.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: okayokay


Date:November 16th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)


I never could keep up with your reading (well, maybe in the beginning) "Was the word," right? I would love to read your recommended ones (except The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, which I've finished, thanks!) Do you own the rest? May I? And I'll look forward to your coffee table, soon!

[User Picture]
Date:November 16th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)

but of course!

Don't bring any books with you when you come this weekend. I'll have 'em ready & waiting.
Date:November 18th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)

No books?

Sorry, but I MUST return at least the last batch I borrowed!

[User Picture]
Date:November 18th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)

please do bring those!

I love gettin' 'em back.
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