Books read recently

Since I don’t read nearly enough, naturally I feel like bragging when I do.

Nobody Move by Denis Johnson (12 Nov 2011)
A book equivalent to a film noir. Hilarious and irresistibly compelling the way Johnson’s writing tends to be. A quick read, entertaining the whole way, even if the highly literary ending frustrates you to no end.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (? Dec 2011)
Lent to me by a friend to complete my reading of the series. As I’ve always maintained, Paolini is not a subtle writer. Everything happens in a very straightforward fashion, and I saw most of the major plot points coming from a mile away. Also, Eldunari = biggest deus ex machina I’ve ever seen. The online writing community hates Paolini with a passion, which I think is rooted in two places: 1) he managed to write a book, something most of the online writing community hasn’t done, and 2) he borrowed a little too generously from Tolkien. I don’t hate Paolini — I think the Inheritance Cycle is an undeniably entertaining and thoughtful series. I just wouldn’t call it great; it lacks the complexity and depth of great series like Harry Potter or His Dark Materials.

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (17 Jan 2012)
Amazing. Compelling, thought-provoking, and true. Recommended reading for everyone. Another relatively quick read, and it definitely got the cogs turning in my mind about human capacity and limits, and how to maximize efficiency in many walks of life.

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (24 Jan 2012)
I’m embarking on a reading of all the Sherlock Holmes stories (somewhat inspired by my obsession with the BBC series Sherlock, a modern reimagining of the world of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson). It’s odd reading this older style of writing, but it goes down easy enough. The middle section that jumps over to Bringham Young in Utah threw me off for a bit, but it all fit together quite well by the end, as Sherlock Holmes’s mysteries often do.

 

Currently on the nightstand:
Sick: the Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis–and the People who Pay the Price  by Jonathan Cohn
The Eden Hunter by Skip Horack
The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

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