Archive for May 28th, 2008

Books I’m At Least Half-Heartedly Reading

May 28, 2008

This post, much like me, is all business.

Thirteen, by Philip K. Morgan. Besides just knowing it has to be good since the author’s name includes his middle initial….this is science fiction of some sort. They have special categories involving cool words such as steam and punk and post-steam and cyber. I haven’t the foggiest what any of those labels mean. I don’t care enough to wiki it to find out. This is of the murder mystery variety. Involving genetically altered humans with whom you absolutely do not mess. Except for some people do. And end up dead. I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story, by Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman sets out on an epic journey to visit interesting (maybe even important) sites of death involving rock stars. Ostensibly — and this is a really cool idea for a book — he is going to try to understand why some rock stars seem to take on a greater cultural meaning only after their death. Fun to read. Klosterman is funny and smart. The book, a third of the way in, really has nothing to do with rock stars killing themselves. But the journey is sufficiently epic enough, and Klosterman is funny enough, that it doesn’t really matter.

Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson. Set during the Vietnam War. Only 100 pages into the book. Johnson’s characters are amazing. He creates military characters that are not the typical depiction of rough and tough characters. They are rough and tough, but they are also compassionate and intellectual. And the novel has way more dialogue than most novels. Dialogue is hard to pull off, I think, especially when writers depend on big chunks of the story being told strictly through dialogue. Johnson does this brilliantly.

Shakespeare: The World as Stage, by Bill Bryson. This is a history of the histories of Shakespeare. It’s short. It’s funny. Bryson is a wonderful story teller. I realize I’m a dork, but I’m having a hard time thinking of people who wouldn’t enjoy this book — including the majority of people I know, people who care nothing about Shakespeare or plays or English history. One of the few books I’ve read in a while that I’d recommend to just about anyone who asks me for a book recommendation.

The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud. This is the first book in a trilogy. Think: Harry Potter. It’s children’s / young adult fiction. I’m a Harry Potter fan, so I kind of want to like this book. But it’s about a young magician. In London. Who outwits all the adult magicians and assorted ne’er-do-wells. I’m sure there are better young children’s / young adult books to be read.