A whole lot of books

The last few months have been busy; enough that I haven’t updated much, but I’ve managed to fit in some reading. In no particular order:

  • The Gift of Rain: Was an intriguing idea, but disappointingly executed. 
  • Snow falling on cedars: Was pretty great. 
  • In a sunburned country: Was fun, but ultimately disappointing. Perhaps I’d just been expecting more of Bryson after reading his pieces on the English language and on science; this just felt self-indulgent. I have only so much interest in his visits to coffee shops, and his writing came over as trying too hard – about jokes, rather than anything real. 
  • Their eyes were watching God: Was good, although in different ways than I’d expected. As one commentary I read noted (I forget whether it was preface or an afterword), its value lay in being a woman’s story that wasn’t overshadowed by racial issues, but still acknowledged them. 
  • The thinker’s toolkit: Had some marginally interesting content, but would probably have been better as a medium length blog post.
  • The dance of legislation: I haven’t finished yet, but seems good. It’s unapologetically parochial and partisan, but it’s a fascinating look at the legislative process from the inside. And while I’ve never worked in the US Congress (now nor in the 60’s), from what I’ve seen of other processes, the dysfunctionality and internal politics ring very true. 
  • The ocean at the end of the lane: Was just great. Neil Gaiman did a truly excellent job of capturing that fear that can be so strong in childhood – that the people we depend on, particularly parents, will let us down. 
  • Warm bodies: Was just a fun read. I’m embarrassed by how long it took me to realise the parallels to an earlier piece that’s quite central in the English language literary canon, but I got there eventually. 

There were a few others I read as well, but the titles escape me. These’ll do for now.


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