Monday, February 22, 2010

What's That You're Reading?? February '10 Edition

Well once again, the days have become weeks, weeks have become a month, and I haven't checked in on my blog...sigh.  I need a personal assistant to hound me into keeping up with this thing.  It's not for lack of ideas of what to write about that I let my poor journal languish...I seem to always find something else to do.

So for an awesome Christmas/Birthday present, my mom got me a Kindle!  This is the perfect gift for a serial reader like myself.  It's easy to read, easy to use, has free wireless internet (super handy for those of us without iphones/androids), has incredible battery life, and delivers me books in under a minute.  It's so awesome!  I fired it up, and immediately ordered...

The Lost Symbol - This is Dan Brown's latest Robert Langdon tale, and what can I's obviously interesting in its conspiracy theory stylings, similar to Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, but this one really seemed to fall short.  I loved that it all took place in DC, and down the street from our old house.  I liked the initial plot.  It's pretty much everything else that took place that really didn't do it for me.  I thought it was too long, that the badguy was almost comical, and that the way everything shook out was just a little over the top, even for a fiction.  The ending wasn't even earth-shattering.  Sigh.

The Last Dickens: A Novel - this was a novel by Matthew Pearl who also wrote the Dante Club, which I really enjoyed.  This one is about Dickens' last manuscript, and the trials and tribulations of a small publishing house in Boston that held the rights to Dickens publishing in the US.  It's a pretty decent mystery until the end, when it all of a sudden turns out that the entire story was based on a premise that more ridiculous than I ever could have imagined.  Fairly disappointing book for the last 20-30 pages...

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance - this followup to the big blockbuster Freakonomics is more of the same - irreverent discussion of real-life things and how they relate to economics.  It's worth a read, quick, and provides a reader with a few more decent 'hmm didn't think of that' moments, but certainly not anything astoundingly good.  I'd say it's well written but not really extremely well thought out stuff.

Simple Genius - Ahh, another David Baldacci book.  No need to write much.  They are always pretty good without being great.

The Whiskey Rebels - Another historical fiction from David Liss, whose books I really enjoy.  This one is a story about a couple that is tricked into buying a plot of useless land in western Pennsylvania after the Revolution, and a disgraced spy in Philadelphia who gets roped into a crazy plot to bring down Alexander Hamilton's Bank of the United States.  Inevitably and rather smartly, the two plot lines intersect in what is a very enjoyable novel.  David Liss really has mastered the historical novel (and the non-historical, as evidenced by another book I really liked - The Ethical Assassin).

The Girl Who Played with Fire - This was another really good book by Stieg Larsson.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was an immensely enjoyable novel about a disgraced investigative writer in Sweden on the trail of a really juicy story, and his collaboration with the young and troubled investigator Lisbeth Salander.  That book was very well written with great character development, and had a great cliffhanger of an ending.  This book was even better!  A great story that fell into place at a nice pace, with more great writing, interesting characters, and a crazy ending.  I can't wait to read Larsson's third (and sadly last) book soon.

Now that I finished those, I am working on these:

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World - this is a (so far) easy to read history of currency.  The first fifty pages have been full of interesting information and it's delivered in a very accessible manner.

All the Pretty Horses

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals - All you can say every time you finish a chapter of this book is 'WOW'.  I can't believe that the things we eat have such a colorful (and mostly disgusting) history.  Really makes you think about the things you eat.
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