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This is a blog about books and whatever else I want it to be about.

The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America

The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America - Daniel J. Boorstin At first I rated it just three stars, but I really think it deserves the extra star. It's more the fault of my poor reading habits that I lost focus in the last two chapters although the penultimate chapter was, in my estimation, overlong and felt labored (is that the right word?). Nevertheless the arguments contained regarding the vacuousness of the American experience in the last half of the 20th century and continuing into this century are hard to argue with. The cynic in me felt, at times, the book was an exercise in spitting in the wind as the pseudo-event feels like a doxology to modern life -it is,was, and always shall be. Another reviewer said that if Boorstin were still living that Facebook would have driven him mad. I think reality TV may have done a better job. Where better to illustrate Boorstin's point of being well-known for "well-known-ness."

A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki Probably 3.5 or 3.75 if I could be more specific, but I really liked this. The voice of Nao is very well done. I also enjoyed the ruminations on the strange nature of time.

The Art of Fielding: A Novel

The Art of Fielding: A Novel - Chad Harbach I'm kind of itching to give this one 5 stars. It is really fantastic in a way that not many books are. This is a book that I could imagine coming back to for a second or third reading. I can't really find a reason to not give it 5 stars. Excellent!

No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process

No Impact Man - Colin Beavan I would really give this 3.5 stars.


Habibi - Craig Thompson I really enjoyed this.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen - Christopher McDougall I absolutely loved this book. Forget about the barefoot debate, and the vegetarian/vegan athlete debate, and the how many miles are good for you debate. This is just one hell of a great story with the most lovable cast of characters. Jurek's reaction after the final race brought honest-to-god tears to my eyes.

The Dog of the South

The Dog of the South - Charles Portis This is a book that I think I will enjoy even more the second time around. I'm sure I missed some of the dry humor the first time around. I'm looking forward to a 2nd reading. I'm also really looking forward to my next Charles Portis book, but I've gotta pace myself as they are pretty limited. One a year, perhaps?

Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz - A. S. King Probably 3.5 stars. I started out expecting to hate it, but I ended up enjoying this. It wasn't the typical "problem" novel that I was expecting. I even enjoyed the more "experimental" aspects of having the dead kid narrate portions of the story along with the pagoda's humorous interludes.

Breaking into the Backcountry

Breaking into the Backcountry - Steve   Edwards Okay, so I would probably give this 3.5 to 3.75 stars if those options were available. I really like the author's description of his solitude in the landscape. I particularly liked his realization at the end of the book about how to maintain solitude among people. I think for anyone that spends time in any kind of wilderness this is part of the reason why we continue to return for reminders of that solitude and peace. It is easy to forget amid the workaday concerns of everyday life.

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood - James Gleick I'd like to rate this higher, but if I'm totally honest, there were some sections where I was just lost. I like math more in theory than in practice and much of it was well beyond my limited capabilities. That being said, there were several parts of the book that I found fascinating and illuminating. I'm a big fan of Turing, but I didn't know much about Babbage. What an interesting cat he was. Overall, worth the effort, but man it was a lot of effort.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion - Jonathan Haidt In this season of political contention and entrenched tribalism, we all need to take a step back for a second and gain some perspective. That seems a modest goal, but, in practice, one that is extremely difficult. We can't be apathetic to politics, but it is useful to understand that we are not always the rational beings we believe ourselves to be. The same is true for those on "the other side" of our political fence. I am comforted by the fact that I now realize that I'm just a rider on the elephant of my instincts. During this election cycle I'm going to borrow some advice from the old EPMD song, "You Gots to Chill."

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E.Frankweiler

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg Read this one with my daughter. She lists it as one of her favorites. I thought it was just good. Not great, but good.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Ben Fountain

I absolutely loved this book. I'm not saying it doesn't have some minor flaws, but despite them it is fantastic. In a weird way it reminded me of Super Sad True Love Story, but the satire here is so much more resonant since it is set in the present. It shines a light on some aspects of American myth-making that are unflattering at times, but for my money that is the purpose of literature. Sorry i am gushing. I just really liked this book.

Indian in the Cupboard

The Indian in the Cupboard - Lynne Reid Banks I read this with my daughter. We both really liked this one.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed

I would have to amend my star rating to 3.5 stars. I loved the description of the trip that she took, but I found myself decreasingly interested in why she was taking the trip. I found myself wanting to know more about the wilderness areas and less about the reasons that she was there. This wasn't that book. The author is exploring her grief, but I wanted more exploring the wilderness. Not her fault, I just had incorrect expectations. She's clearly a good writer; I just didn't get fully on board with the book's purpose.

Animal Farm: Centennial Edition

Animal Farm - George Orwell As close to perfect, in every way, as I've found. I just re-read it for the umpteenth time, and it is still absolutely one of the finest books ever written.