Thursday, June 11, 2009

Light Reading round-up

Hmmmm, what have I been doing with myself? Reading interesting things about cognition and counterfactuals (Lisa Zunshine's Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel seems to me very good - she has quite a lot of stuff up at her website if you are curious), obsessing about bicycles and triathlon-related matters (uncharacteristically I wrote a full-on review of a triathlon training book at my other blog), generally going crazy in the way that I always do as I try to make the transition to my own work after the end of the school year...

I enjoyed Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child and Barbara Hambly's Stranger at the Wedding - this sort of thing is my ideal light reading (I think both were recommendations of Jo Walton's at the Tor website).

At a loose end, I delved into the shelves of paperbacks here and found several unread used ones that clearly had been deemed not so immediately compelling that they had to be gulped down instantly and yet proved thoroughly satisfactory on the light reading front: Sheri Tepper's The Family Tree (I loved it, why did I not read it sooner?!? I am sure I purchased it with a bunch of others - $2 a pop - years ago from the fellow who sells used books outside Milano Market on Broadway, and then just tucked it onto a shelf and never got to it); Reginald Hill's Exit Lines (plucked from my adopted grandfather's New Jersey shelves for train-reading purposes, and never called upon for such).

I have a strangely large number of books on the go, I can't seem to settle into any of 'em properly - Ross Macdonald's Blue City; Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm, which strange to say I have never read; Daniel Mendelsohn's The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million. Better finish one or two of these before I start any others - and I am also reading (it is resting at the kitchen table where I eat my meals - books set aside for this purpose, when I have run out of New Yorkers and New York Reviews of Books and so forth, must be interesting enough that I want to read them at every meal and yet put-down-able i.e. non-narrative enough that I do not just end up reading the whole thing instead of going back to whatever else I was doing, which pretty much rules out fiction!) Toby Tanser's More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way, which would have benefited from more professional editing and copy-editing but which is nonetheless an enthralling read...


  1. Do, please, give Cathy Gallagher my very best, though presumably we will communicate before you go. Also, I am reading Julia Strachey's Cheerful Weather for the Wedding which I picked up from the library this afternoon and will finish in bed in a few minutes, and which would take you maybe a breakfast, but I think you would quite love it, it is very lovable.

  2. You need to get on that "Cold Comfort Farm."

  3. You make me wonder: New York Reviews of Books or New York Review-of-Bookses?

    I'll have to look at that Zunshine site. Could be fascinating, could be fatal.

  4. I like The Family Tree very much too!

  5. I'm reading the latest Jack Reacher, and am FINALLY into it. I had started and discarded about 3 books right before that, which was kind of disappointing and disconcerting. And I have for my husband, for Fathers Day, (but I've read parts of it, because it's so fun) a book on big-time sports blunders that changed sports history, called "What Were They Thinking?" You can tell the author is a fan and sportswriter! He's got a great collection of different stories about big mistakes and how and why they happened, whether it was the coach, or an idiot general manager or even, network executives. And you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy it, which is quite the plus. You can learn such things as what Evander Holyfield's ears taste like, and that you shouldn't cruise for prostitutes the night before the Super Bowl...