Sunday, December 28, 2008

Reading update

You wouldn't know it from this blog, but I've been reading a ton of books lately. I just haven't found time to write posts for each book. So here's a quick re-cap.

Boomsday, Christopher Buckley - I decided to give his fiction a try after hearing him talk about endorsing Obama. I also really liked the movie "Thank You For Smoking." I tried to find that book at the library, but it was checked out, so I settled for this one. I'm generally not the biggest fan of modern fiction, but I loved this book. The plot was kind of silly, and like Hiaason, whom he quotes, he has too many characters, but the story zipped right along. Best of all, Buckley can write! I usually read books and grimace at errors or awkward sentence structure, but not this time. It was a pleasure to read such good writing.

Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean - I like Orlean's articles in The New Yorker, and I really liked this book, upon which the movie "Adaptation" is based. I was particularly interested in the history of orchid collecting. Victorian orchid hunters wiped out entire species of orchids by collecting every specimen they could find to take back to England with them. I only wish the book had pictures of the orchids Orleans describes.

Kingdom by the Sea, Paul Theroux - This is the third travel book of Theroux's that I've read, and it's the first that has made me want to take a similar trip. The book is an account of Theroux's trip, clockwise, around the coast of England, Wales, Norther Ireland, and Scotland. He walks much of the trip, travelling on paths that connect seaside villages. When there aren't paths, he takes buses or branch-line trains. The trip sounds just lovely, especially in Scotland. My goal is to someday visit England and walk some of the paths.

When You Lunch with the Emperor, Ludwig Bemelmans - Yes, that Ludwig Bemelmans of the Madeline books. It's a somewhat fictitious account of his life, from his childhood in a small German town to his life working at the Hotel Splendide (really the Ritz-Carlton) in New York to his travels, often with his young daughter in tow. The books is one of the most charming I've read in a long time, and Bemelmans' little illustrations only add to the charm.

The Migraine Brain, Carolyn Bernstein, M.D. - My mom sent it to me, and I started reading it with a grain of salt. I was diagnosed with migraines 13 years ago and have done lots of reading and research about triggers and treatments, so I figured there wasn't much more I could learn. But once I got past all the self affirmation-style writing - "Migraines are real!" "Migraines aren't your fault." "You can improve your life." - I did learn a fair amount. I think I took away some tips that will help me - like staying hydrated and getting enough sleep and other food triggers to watch out for. The book also gave me some questions that I can ask my doctor on my next visit. I highly recommend the book for anyone who gets migraines. I'll be sending it along to my sister next.

To Have and to Kill, John Glatt - I'm a sucker for true-life crime stories like those on 20/20 and by Skip Hollandsworth in Texas Monthly. I picked this book up when trolling the aisles of the drug store waiting for a prescription for B after one of his neck surgeries. The book is about the murder of William McGuire, whose body was found floating in Chesapeake Bay in three waterlogged suitcases. The writing is terrible, and the storyline is sometimes confusing, but I couldn't put the book down. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I read the thing.

Free-Range Knitter, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee - Mom sent me the book after she had finished it, and it's a charming little thing. Definitely only for knitters.

Wow - seven books. That's more than I thought I had read. Right now I'm reading a book about the first climber to explore the Alps and a book about Marco Polo. Plus there's this week's New Yorker, which looks like one I'll read cover-to-cover.

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