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03:47 pm: books
Blargh. In the rapid transition off my company laptop, I apparently lost the notes I'd taken on books I've read recently... well, not so recently now, as I'm terribly behind. :sigh:

Oh well. Perhaps I'll remember those I've since put away (HA HA HA FAT CHANCE). In any case, there are enough left to put together something reasonably substantial.

So. Books.

Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational is quite wonderful. It examines the way we make decisions and describes how we (as the book blurb says) "consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate." Good stuff.

I bought and read the first three Nikki Heat books "by" Richard Castle after getting hooked on the TV show.* I don't know if Andrew Marlowe, Rob Bowman, or the ABC publicity department actually wrote them. They're not very good books, but they're reasonably good pulp fiction, which is what they're supposed to be. And very elaborate cross-marketing, too.

"Moonlight Masquerade" is the latest in the Edilean series from Jude Deveraux. Sadly, it's probably the weakest in the series... or perhaps it just feels that way because Sophie is built up in the other books and doesn't live up to the hype. Dunno. I'll re-read it (Deveraux at her worst is better than many others near their best), but I wasn't delighted by it.

It took me a while to get into Roger Ebert's memoir, Life Itself. It has a stream-of-consciousness feel, which I don't ordinarily like (I prefer books a bit... tidier, more deliberate). But it grew on me, and Ebert's certainly had an interesting life. It's rather longer than it had to be, I think - could've used some editing - but still reasonably compelling.

I only bought Ken Follett's Fall of Giants because there was one of those buy-3-get-1-free deals and it popped up first on the list after I'd picked the 3 I'd wanted. As with Pillars of the Earth, it took me a couple of hundred pages (~20%) to get into it, but I did enjoy it. I'm not usually all that interested in history, but his characters are vivid and compelling. It also fit in with my recent enjoyment of Downton Abbey and rekindled my interested in Maisie Dobbs (I re-read all of Winspear too).

Robin Harvie and Stephanie Meyers edited The Atheist's Guide to Christmas, which I found intermittently delightful. Not all the essays are wonderful, but some are. And almost all are at least interesting.

Roger Lewis' Seasonal Suicide Notes is not. I bought it because he was my tutor at Oxford and I'd struck up a minor correspondence with him when I heard (on Stephen Fry's Twitter feed, of all places) that he was ill. I'd read some of his newspaper columns and found him fairly amusing. There's some buzz around his supposedly hilarious Christmas emails, and this book captures them.

They're not amusing. They're crabby and self-aggrandizing and generally boorish. Also boring, which is the unforgivable bit. Ugh. This one goes to the Swap Shop.

Susan Mallery's Already Home is an amusing romance about a chef who strikes out on her own to open a cooking store. It made me hungry. The romance is sweet if a bit silly. I'll re-read it before deciding whether to keep it.

I apparently read and enjoyed Lydia Netzer's Shine Shine Shine, but I can't remember it. Dunno if that says more about me or about the book... probably me, as I've crammed a whole lot of other books between then and now. In any case, now I have something to read (and presumably enjoy) again. Score!

I have mixed feelings about Alice Ozma's The Reading Promise. I thought it was a lovely idea, until I realized that this memoir about a woman whose father read to her every night for 8 years was a book about a woman whose primary interaction with her father was his reading to her. Reading is lovely! I love reading! y'think? But her father was (and apparently is) so emotionally detached (stunted? abnormal?) that he paid almost no attention to his daughter other than through reading. So that's very sad and disturbing. Which I'm sure it's meant to be.

I'm also not crazy about all their book choices. Nor about his censorship.

But it is a lovely idea and it's reasonably well written.

I was crushed by the ending of Dana Stabenow's latest Kate Shugack, Bad Blood. I thoroughly enjoyed it up until the last page. Now I can only hope that someone else reads it so we can talk about it... and that Stabenow writes the next one soon.

* I don't know who suggested it, as the comment didn't have a name. Lori, perhaps? CURSE YOU for suggesting it. Also, THANK YOU.

Current Location: Longmeadow, MA
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated


Date:March 18th, 2013 02:00 am (UTC)

The Reading Promise?

Yes, that was me (Lori). I haven't read any of the others, though I'd really like to read the Ken Follett one - Pillars of the Earth is one of my all time favorites. But now my curiosity is piqued for Bad Blood.
[User Picture]
Date:March 18th, 2013 12:01 pm (UTC)

Re: The Reading Promise?

Oh, please do read it! I'd love to get your take on it.
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