More or less. I’ve got a lot of books to catch up on. Here’s the first batch.
Beartown — Fredrik Backman (2017)
Dropped it after just a couple of chapters. I like hockey but not this much. And I don’t simpatico with the characters. The idea of an entire town’s future resting on the backs of a bunch of high schoolers is just to familiar. Small town football and the predictability of the thing…. Etc. Anyway I didn’t read it past about the 20% point.
* Just didn’t care what happened. *
Paris in the Present Tense — Mark Helprin (2017)
More academics behaving badly. And late life existential crises. There are some lively descriptions of music, a young woman, and Paris. The side kick is helpfully vapid but don’t actually know why I finished this one. It’s been highly praised but I found it predictable. And the ending well, it’s far too pat for me. Though the murder mystery from the murderers point of view is kind of amusing. The writing is nicely competent.
* I read a lot of stories about Paris lately. *
On Imagination — Mary Rufle (2017)
I’ve read this twice and will read it again. There is a small goat with a silver bell on a blue ribbon around it’s neck living in Mary Rufle’s attic. How she (he? Rufle never do says if her goat has a gender) got there is the matter of the essay. On creativity, the muse, and what imagination actually means.
Rufle says that asking a poet to describe imagination is like asking a fish to describe the sea. It is that in which the creative swim and it doesn’t ever stop being a part of the thought process if not the entire thought process. She goes on to characterize the relationship between the thinker and imagination in startling deep ways.
It did feel a bit predatory to pay 8 dollars for what amounts to a mid-sized essay But I think that there is enough meat here to make me feel like I got value for the money.
* I might by the paper copy just to have the illustrations done up nicely. *
The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds — Micheal Lewis — Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris (2016)
Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman invented the field of behavioral economics. This book, sadly, isn’t about that, it’s a biography of an intellectual collaboration that derails in spectacular fashion and frankly it’s a little bit creepy. I’d have rather heard a lot more about the things that they are researching than the gruesome details of their lopsided working relationship. When the end of a relationship between two researchers is characterized as a divorce… And while I appreciate the effect that the Holocaust, the German occupation of France, and their experiences in Israel after WWII had on the two men, I really didn’t need the in-depth history lessons. If you’re looking for a book that will bring you up to speed on the various tricks and illusions that your mind brings to the decision-making process (and that is what these two men were studying) look elsewhere.
* There must be a better resource than this. *
The Graveyard Book — Gaiman — Narrated by the Author (2008)
I love this story of Nobody Owens raised by his Guardian and looked after by the denizens of a cemetery after the (in true fairy tale fashion) grisly death of his family while he is a toddler.
* It magnificently satisfies the urge to be told a story. *
Lincoln in the Bardo — George Saunders (2017)
Also listened to Lincoln in the Bardo — having read it recently. The audio production includes dozens (hundreds?) of voices and is fun to listen to but if I hadn’t already read the book I would have been utterly lost. This one is best read in the format it’s designed for — the large pages of the hardback edition.
* so many voices, so much fun *