Four months ago, I entered here in Brick for the record a list of books I read or started to read, or heard or started to hear, for the entire year 2010, to date. You can stop here, this is just for me. There will be mini-reviews, though, for reference later.
I am not creating hyperlinks. In this sort of post, there’d be too much underlining. Want to know more? Select key phrases and Bing, Google it.
Book List through August 2010
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (book on CD). Wonderful, even if a little predictable, even if too many characters are too flat. A Brick with detail.
The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern. Didn’t finish. Is it Yiddish or pidgen Yiddish with American puns? I see where it has to be authentic, and the research, but sometimes it’s baloney. And no sympathetic or believable characters in the first 30 pages. Next!
Apparitions & Late Fictions: A Novella and Stories by Thomas Lynch. Didn’t actually start. I like Lynch and will get this out from the library some other time.
The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum by Rebecca Loncraine. Didn’t finish. How not to write a biography these days. Want to learn about someone important? Go online and skip the guessing, hypothetical scene-setting. slapdash historical background and worst of all, amateur psychoanalysis. Loncraine didn’t commit all of these sins, but why so flowery?
Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter. Skimmed through. Many other books cover the same ground. Denialism interestingly is a real term, not a coinage by Specter. I’d like to find a book that explains without patronizing why human beings seem to crave conspiracies and other easy answers.
Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene. Didn’t finish. It had charms but, well, I got impatient.
Star Island, by Carl Hiaasen. Carl’s done it again, moved a little downstream to very young pop stars partying in Miami — and the people who control them. Funny, biting and authoritative.
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (book on CD). Popular at the library, I had to wait weeks to check it out again and complete it. I’d have read the book but it has even more “holds.” Thrilling, even when the adventures of the troubled young woman and grizzled, kindly reporter become a little too fantastic. Hey, is that Stephen King saluting? Sweden’s as cold, lively and deadly as Maine.
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. This is the first published novel by the renown humor columnist. Brick has a write-up. A charming story that is more sophisticated that it first appears.
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens. Skimmed through. By the time it became available at the library I had read online lots of reviews and excerpts, and seen the ailing Hitchens on several interview programs. A joke that should be in the book: “What the serpent did say to Eve, ‘If your faith can’t take a little ribbing, lady, it’s not very strong.'”
Common As Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership by Lewis Hyde. A history and book-length persuasive essay that I intend to buy. It is at least as important as Hyde’s earlier The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. Commerce in the arts and sciences, and writing, is not always about money. The varied senses of the “commons” is not just the “free” and new world of the Internet but a longstanding, worldwide phenomenon.