Shiny New Books

088[Monday, September 22, 2014]

What books are you hoping to read this Fall?

I’ve been reading quite a few books so far this month. Here’s what I’ve read so far for the month of September.

Nonfiction

  • America on Wheels, Frank Coffey – a nice history of automobiles in the US, though the layout is a bit obnoxious
  • Bumping Into Geniuses, Danny Goldberg – great memoir about life as a music journalist and music industry professional
  • Media in Terror, Muhammed Adeel Javaid – very poorly constructed book, not recommended, though the author’s published papers in peer reviewed journals might be worth reading if the sociology of terrorism is of interest to you.
  • The Gibson Les Paul, Dave Hunter – not a book recommended for everyone, but if you like guitars and want a book about them, this one’s nice. It might make great light reading while you are waiting in airports mid-tour, and it has some pretty pictures of guitars.
  • Simplexity, Jeffrey Kluger – This book might jog some ideas for you if you like thinking about the shapes of problems and how complex systems work, but this book covers too many topics too shallowly to be very satisfying.
  • Building an Opportunity Society, Lewis D. Solomon – Another book I do not recommend. This is a very political book that uses statistics very badly and irresponsibly to try to bolster a campaign to bring US society closer to the good ole’ days of the 1960’s when women had fewer rights and stayed home more, and racial inequalities were attributed to laziness and inability rather than complex socioeconomic handicaps.
  • At the End of the Road: Jack Kerouac in Mexico, Jorge Garcia-Robles – I highly recommend this book. It is a fast read, but covers a lot of material very elegantly in its thin stack of pages. This would be my choice if I were looking for books to read while waiting at airports mid-tour. Kerouac was a very modern artist, and many current artists, musicians, poets and writers will relate to his story. This book is not yet published, but it is coming out in just a few weeks.
  • Dancing on the Head of a Pen, Robert Benson – If you are a writer, or any sort of creative person, really, this little book is a nice addition to your library. It is a lot like having a chat with the writer late at night in some bar, one of those long rambling conversations about writing that writers enjoy when they are procrastinating writing. It has a few really good ideas, but is mostly geared towards inspiring readers, not advising them.
  • Body Respect, Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor – This is a holistic, fairly sensible approach to weight and health issues, definitely geared to overweight readers.

Fiction

  • 086Valhalla Rising, Clive Cussler – This book to me was a bit weaker than most of what I’ve read by Cussler so far. The various elements he strings together aren’t as well-woven as I expected, so the result felt too artificial. It was still fun, though, and a fast, easy read.
  • Knitting Under the Influence, Claire LaZebnik – There was not much knitting in this book, so folks who want to read about knitting might wish to try something else. This book addresses autism, though only more severe autism and without any nod towards the broader autistic spectrum. The characters are the light, flat cardboard creatures one may come to expect from the ‘chick lit’ genre, and their goals seem ultimately to revolve around finding boyfriends. As light waiting-room reading this could be ok, but otherwise this book is not highly recommended.
  • The Faithful, S.M. Freedman – I really enjoyed this one. This is a fairly new pre-apocalyptic SciFi/Fantasy/Thriller adventure. If you like Stephen King, you might like this book.
  • Lord Athina, Danny C. Estes – This series is a contemporary version of the style of fantasy Andre Norton created. It is more modern in that it deals with gender identity issues, as its central theme, and while this is not always successful, it does work within the story fairly well. Book 3, which I do not plan to read, is Mother Athina.
  • Lady Athina, Danny C. Estes
  • The 100, Kass Morgan – This book is now on TV. I haven’t seen the show, but I’m told it is good. The books are written for teens, and as a result they remind me a lot of Lord of the Flies, but I hated Lord of the Flies, and I actually enjoyed this series. Day 21, which is book 2 in this series, just was released last week. Where it leaves off, I have to wonder how many books this series will include by the time it is finished.
  • Day 21, Kass Morgan
  • Quartet for the End of Time, Johanna Skibsrud – This is a lovely book, not a fast read by any means, but a well crafted novel that feels like a classic. The book title is also the title to a piece of music that does turn up in the story. Olivier Messiaen composed the “Quartet for the End of Time” while he was a prisoner of war in a German camp. This book and the music that inspired it would make for a great topic for a literary book club, I think. It is coming out in November, but it looks like an edition is available through Book Depository from a smaller publisher, if you can’t wait till the Norton edition comes out.
  • Home, Toni Morrison – Here is a short, very recent novel by one of our great contemporary authors. I always like reading new books by authors I know can be relied upon to craft beautiful stories. In this one, a man returns from the Korean War to deal with the problems he escaped years earlier when he enlisted. Read directly after Skibsrud’s novel, Home was sobering reading, because the poverty and discrimination that turns up in Skibsrud’s novel set mostly in the 1930’s and 1940’s is so similar to what the characters in Toni Morrison’s book, set mostly, but not entirely, in Georgia in the 1950’s.
  • Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King (currently reading)
  • The House of Velvet and Glass, Katherine Howe (currently reading)
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About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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