Recently read

Here’s some books I’ve read recently and don’t have a lot to say about. About which I don’t have a lot to say. Whatever.

  • The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki, 2005. Pretty interesting. If you want to find an answer to something, apparently it’s better to get a lot of opinions from a lot of slightly-informed people than it is to get one or two opinions from experts.
  • The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly, 2006. I picked it up because I liked the scherenschnitte-style cover. A story of a boy who gets drawn into the world of fairytales, where stories are alive. Somewhat entertaining, but the coming-of-age epiphany is predictable and uninteresting because the story doesn’t develop the kid’s feelings and personality enough. I think modern urban fantasists like Neil Gamain have done this sort of thing better.
  • Marley & Me, John Grogan, 2005. Another book club selection. It was heartwarming and cute, as expected. I laughed and cried. If you like reading about the adorable exploits of large badly-trained dogs you’ll like this book.
  • Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons, 1932. This was a great antidote to the Victorian stuff I’ve been reading lately. A modern young woman appears in what is essentially a story, a rural melodrama, refuses to play by the melodrama rules, and fixes all the crazy English eccentrics. It reads like what’s running through your mind while reading something like Adam Bede or Wuthering Heights: “Arg, why doesn’t he just leave?” and “Would someone please tell these people about contraception?” and “Get that woman a psychiatrist!”
  • The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay, 2001. Exactly the kind of fantasy I detest. Hated pretty much everything about it. Read the first 50 pages, skipped to the end, checked the Wikipedia entry to see if I’d missed anything. Last time I try this author; he’s just not my cup of tea.

    That’s everything since the beginning of December. Right now I’m re-reading, for the umpteenth time, Fritz Leiber’s Swords Against Death. I can’t get enough tongue-in-cheek badassery in my sword-and-sorcery.

    I’m also bogged down in Spook and probably won’t finish it. Read too much nonfiction lately, and for some reason the author’s style is pissing me off, even though I loved Stiff.

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