Wednesday, January 19, 2011

books

The Flight of the Iguana, by David Quammen - Beautiful book. Every time I read one of these naturalist books I have to fight back an uncontrollable desire to buy a ranch in southwest Texas and make just enough money to drop out of society. If Mr. Ingalls can build a house by hand, I sure as hell can do it with borrowed power tools. Anyway, back to the book. It's a collection of essays that combine personal life stories with natural history in a wonderful way. The last section, which includes the story "The Same River Twice" is the best. In fact, that particular essay is so amazing that I intend to post it here later when I can compile the full text. It does not appear to be online anywhere except in fragments on google books...

Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem - Great story, and Lethem is one of my favorite wordsmiths ever (I might say the favorite but I started reading a book by an even better one last night...). Not as psychologically complex as Fortress of Solitude (and therefore not as engrossing and moving), but it is nonetheless an amazingly vivid portrayal of a man with Tourette's syndrome working as a detective in Brooklyn.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon - I really have no idea why this book is so highly recommended. It was irritating from beginning to end, because it's written in the voice of an autistic character. I don't like reading dialects and the same principle applies here.

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