Odds and Ends

This set of books was a mix of stuff that had been sitting in my pile for a while, some short stories (not books, I guess, but close enough) online that had been sitting around in my bookmarks and then a couple of new books.

Up next: A Hologram for the King

Bunch of books

Things I might write about if I were to write about the books I just read: The names of ‘The Passage‘ and ‘Learning How To Die‘ should be switched, comic books are not cartoons, I think there were funnier people that could have been picked.

Even More Books…

So I managed to read a bunch more books without writing anything about them, although they were all interesting. I’ll need to figure out about getting more time somewhere.

Here’s what I’ve read lately.

5 1/2 Books…

I’ve fallen way behind on blogging about books. Instead of trying to say something about each, I’ll just list them and then catch up with stuff I’m reading now. So, here goes:

* Superfreakonomics
* A Land the Size of Binoculars (I only got halfway through this one)
* The Varieties of Scientific Experience
* Einstein’s Cosmos
* The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
* The Crow Road

Next, The Pale King and Strokes of Genius.

I Was Expecting It From The Beatles

I recently finished reading You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup and Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. I wasn’t surprised how unpleasant The Beatles’ breakup was in all of its details and how nasty they could be to each other. I was surprised that David Sedaris’ book was even nastier and unpleasanter than that.

Although it was full of not fun stuff, The Beatles’ break-up is a big part of their mythology and it was interesting to read about it. It seems painful to hear about how close they got to being back together a few different times, but I’m glad they didn’t—their story wouldn’t be the same if they did keep going on and have a series of bad recordings. It seems like ultimately they knew that too. There are quotes that say they realized they could never live up to their own reputations and it seems like that is what really kept them apart instead of unfortunate timing, egos or whatever.

And then there was the book about the animals. I understand how you would want to try something different after having done a series of great books that all had a very similar format and style. I can even understand if you wanted to do something that wasn’t funny. I have a hard time seeing how cruel, sadistic and awkward stories would be what you would try for instead. Fortunately it wasn’t long and the last story was enjoyable, but reading about yet another lawsuit involved Allen Klein was better.

Up next, Superfreakonomics and something else.

Pre and Post Apocalypse Food Advice

I just finished Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and Stephen King’s The Stand. One is a very short non-fiction handbook and another is a 1,000+ page novel about a superflu epidemic but they do have some similarities—both have useful advice to how to eat in certain situations.

  • Before apocalypse: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
  • After apocalypse: Hope for the best. Eat twigs or people as needed.

Other than the food advice…

I often get impatient with novels where everything fits together perfectly (what would have happened if people hadn’t made fun of Trashcan Man at the end?) but things felt like they came together in service of the story instead of feeling contrived (compare this to A Prayer for Owen Meany which I’m still annoyed at having read).

I hadn’t read any Stephen King before and don’t feel an urge to read more, but I am glad I gave this a try.

Up next: You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup

A Road Trip and a Cruise

I recently finished reading Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace and got in the mood to read more DFW so then I read A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.

It was all great (I like tennis so I loved the tennis parts, but anything he wrote about, including math theory, is so good) and I haven’t had this much fun reading anything else lately. Not too surprising since David Foster Wallace is catnip to mid-thirties over-educated white guy types.

I feel like I had more to say about these, but I guess I waited a little too long to post after finishing the books. Maybe I’ll come back and update this later.

Up next, Food Rules and something else.

Lose Yourself?

I keep falling behind posting about books, so I’m going to do two at once from now on. The last two books I read, The One-Straw Revolution and The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana happen to be a good fit for each other so it seems like this should work. We’ll see how other books go.

Although one is a non-fiction book about natural farming practices in Japan and the other is fiction about a man in Italy with amnesia, they both cover similar ground.

The first tells you to see the world how it really is by losing yourself by growing your own food, but then the second tells how someone who has lost his memory is unable to see the world without knowing who he is.

I have no idea who is right here, but at least I learned some tricks about how to grow more vegetables in my yard and also some interesting stuff about Italy in World War II.

Up next, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace and something else to be figured out later.