Another installment in the ongoing series entitled “What I’ve Been Reading Lately.”
It’s a new year and a new decade, as good a time as any to update my Booky List. Here goes:
- Small Gods - Terry Pratchett
Pratchett has a brilliant, snarky sense of humor. I’m actually a bit peeved that I liked this book so much, because there are so many more Discworld novels to read.
- Flood - Stephen Baxter
Never mind something as trivial as Global Warming. What if something changed deep within the Earth, something that caused enormous quantities of water to be released from deep within the Earth’s mantle... enough to cover the world’s entire landmass with new ocean within the next half-century? An unlikely scenario, but one that forms the backdrop for this thoughtful SF novel.
- The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
Dan Brown’s novels are fun to read and not too taxing on the brain. Afterwards, however, I feel like I need to wash a thin but persistent coating of Stupid-Juice from my brain.
- Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes - Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
This little book was an unexpected pleasure. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more: the jokes, or the philosophical context into which the authors place them.
- Have a Little Faith - Mitch Albom
Mitch Albom is not normally my cup of tea: a
shitloadbit too much on the mawkish and sentimental side for my cynical worldview. But I had to read this, his first nonfiction work since 1997’s Tuesdays with Morrie, because half the book is about Rabbi Albert Lewis... our very own rabbi’s late father.
- Hitler’s War - Harry Turtledove
Every time Harry Turtledove comes out with yet another alternate history novel based on some permutation of World War II, I tell myself I’m not gonna buy it... and then I do anyway. Schmuck.
- The Book of Genesis - Robert Crumb
The first book of the Bible (both Hebrew and Christian), as brought to visual life by Crumb’s India ink and crowquill pens. Not exactly what you’d expect from the creator of Zap Comix... and it’s a thoroughly faithful rendition.
- The Defector - Daniel Silva
Yet another Gabriel Allon novel... and one of Silva’s best.
- Plutonium: A History of the World’s Most Dangerous Element - Jeremy Bernstein
I like reading about Dangerous Substances. Bernstein is not the most lucid writer, but the material is fascinating.
- The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite - David Kessler
You’ll never be able to look at the menu at Chili’s the same way again. This book does a great job of explaining why America has a collective Fat Ass.
- Under the Dome - Stephen King
Every once in a while, King will crank out a massive tome (this one clocks in at over 1060 pages), and I read it, hoping he has written another The Stand. This one doesn’t quite make it. It starts off just fine, with a brutal murder within the first few pages... plenty of Evil Shenanigans... and it builds to what could have been a huge, powerful climax... but then it just sorta goes flat. Meh.
- Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son - Michael Chabon
In this collection of essays, all connected somehow with the business of being a Man in Modern America, Chabon is nostalgic, wistful, loving, tender, perverse, insightful, and funny.
So: What have you been reading lately?