Wednesday, August 17, 2011

books

I forgot to write these down awhile ago since I stopped reading for a few months when preparing for oral exams... except for hundreds of papers, of course.

Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn - Lest you be deceived by such a great title, this "geek" refers to the original meaning of the word: "a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake." Continuing in that spirit, this book was apparently written with the sole purpose of coming up with as much disturbing material as possible and throwing it together in a single story that could've been really good, if done in in moderation, and if any of the characters were lovable or worth rooting for. (Ok, Chick, the telekinetic angelic youngest child who bears the burden of all the world's pain, is a little lovable, but he's a side character.)

My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell - If you loved the James Herriot books, as I did, you'll love this. Gerald is a passionate naturalist who grew up on the Greek island of Corfu and wrote this (and two sequels) about his rather unique and creature-filled childhood. Very sweet. Lacking in overall plot, but who cares?

Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, by Jared Diamond - Good, and Jared Diamond is undeniably brilliant, but I much prefer the writing of Dawkins and Pinker and many others. This felt too much like a collection of miscellaneous essays that he wanted to make a book out of and came up with an overall theme of ... "all of human history". I guess that's fine but I would've liked it more if I'd been expecting that.

Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming - I love Bond movies, but had never read any of the books, so I figured I'd give it a try. Far cry from the movies.

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