Book Log #37: Headlong

Headlong by Michael Frayn (loaner from Curt)

My friend Curt loaned this to me ages ago. I’ve read it in fits and bursts.

Curt had paralleled it to Cryptonomicon, except substitute art criticism for computer nerdiness. That’s probably apt.

There’s a lot of art nerdiness going on here which I was wholly ignorant about. So now I know how non-technical folk feel when reading Cryptonomicon.

Even though I only read it in bits and pieces, I will still say it is a fine book. To own the truth, I read the second book in the Baroque Cycle in fits and spurts over the course of a full year, so that isn’t a good barometer to judge a book by.

Books Read: 37
Weeks: 35
Ratio: 1.06:1

Book Log #36: The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume One

The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume One: Microeconomics by Grady Klein & Yoram Bauman, Ph.D. [Powell’s Books, $8.95]

Picked this up used on a recent trip to Portland.

A nice, simple intro to Microeconomics. A lot of it most folks know just from existing in our culture, but some stuff it was nice to clarify and lay out in a well-done manner.

Not quite as strong as Larry Gonnick’s “Cartoon Guide” series, but still a worthwhile read.

Read: 36
Weeks: 35
Ratio: 1.03:1

Book Log #35: The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate [Little Shop of Stories?]

Katherine Applegate is a ridiculously prolific author.

She does not shy away from the dark and the sad. The first part of this book, while mingled with hope and levity, is mostly really sad. It documents various animals living in a mall zoo.

I understand this is based on the real story of a gorilla named Ivan who resided at the Atlanta Zoo.

In short, it tugs at the heartstrings, but is well-written and engaging. This was a book I read to my daughter in the evenings, and she loved it. Even when it was sad.

Book Log #34: Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins in the book… is kind of a jerk.

It seems the affection of the children is almost entirely based upon the fantastical magic she employs and then completely denies.

Still, very interesting to read when all you know is the movie. I decidedly believe the movie is a great improvement in plot. Plus, music!

Book Log #33: The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros [Little Shop of Stories, $11.00]

My son’s 8th grade reading list may prove a fruitful ground for good books. This is a riveting short collection of vignettes about the coming of age of a young hispanic girl. File it under less is more, the author manages to pack a lot of meaning in a page and a half. Both whimsical and touching, this book makes for a nice evening’s read.

And now I can talk intelligently with my son about his homework.

Week 34
Book 33
Having squandered by big lead from the beginning of the year, we have now fallen below the 1:1 parity of books:weeks. No more Bleak House sized books for me!

Book Log #32: The Time Traveler’s Almanac

The Time Traveler’s Almanac by Ann VanderMeer, Jeff VanderMeer [Amazon, Kindle, $12.99]

If one is trying to complete 52 books in 52 weeks, then The Time Traveler’s Almanac, like Bleak House, is not a good choice. It is quite a tome, though I didn’t realize it since I was reading in Kindle form. The paperback version is 960 pages.

HOWEVER, if one is looking for a really fantastic compilation of time travel short stories, then this book is the bomb. Each story was a fresh perspective, most were extremely well written and engaging. The editing was superb, as each story was fresh and different than the one before.

Really enjoyable.