Another batch

Sigh… been in another writing slump. Too bad, because there have been thoughts I wanted to write about as I read many of these books, but the backlog is hanging over me so I’m going to catch up with batches of brief listings. I keep telling myself that just a list of what I’ve read is more than I ever did before I started this blog. And who’s reading it, aside from people who think I’m Hilary Duff? I am going to try putting at least a brief comment on each title; 2x better than nothing!

Watership Down – Richard Adams, 1972. Still holds up; a true epic. Notes I made: “his face…was a mask of blood, foam, vomit, and earth…” No no no! Rabbits are physically incapable of vomiting, which is why hairballs are a problem for them. Adams relied on R.M. Lockley’s The Private Life of the Rabbit for his research (which I read many years ago), and it must not have mentioned that. I marked another page, but I don’t remember why. The climactic moment when Bigwig tells General Woundwort that his Chief Rabbit has told him to defend the run still gives me the thrill it did when I was eleven.

The Look of Architecture – Witold Rybczynski, 2001. I like Rybczynski as a writer, but parts of this book reflect what I think is wrong with modern architecture. He seems blind to the truths Christopher Alexander recognizes and shares.

Gifts – Ursula K. Le Guin, 2004. Brilliant. I want to re-read this anyway & will write about it then, I hope.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke, 2004. As others have said, slow going to get into, then grabs you. A wonderful book. Captures the eerie, scary, not-at-all-cute true meaning of “fairy” like nothing else I’ve read. Beautiful and haunting; scenes I will never forget, like the stone statues in York Cathedral talking, and the ships made of rain.

A Calculated Risk – Katherine Neville, 1992. Not-very-good thriller with lots of unbelievable stuff about “teckies” (one of the reasons I read it), although the author supposedly was a systems consultant for IBM, Honeywell, etc. The heroine goes from a “computer ignoramus” to a “full-blown technocrat” in one weekend. If only!

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell, 2000. Believe the hype–this is a fascinating book. I can’t wait to read Blink. My favorite kind of book, full of amazing tidbits to talk about. I need to read it again!

French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure – Mireille Guiliano, 2005. Basically the same message as The Fat Fallacy, more fun to read, but not as explicit as the typical American probably needs on the COOK FROM SCRATCH, DON’T EAT PROCESSED JUNK message. (She does say that; but IMO lots of people believe a frozen entree which claims to be “natural” and “heathy” really is, and don’t fully realize how different it is from the same dish cooked at home). The recipes look good, though I didn’t try any. My favorite thing about the book is how distinctive and French her voice is; it made me nostalgic for my years there.

This “brief comments” format seems like a decent compromise… I’m starting with the library books (except Watership Down) so I can return them!

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