Thursday, September 3

Book Talk Quad: The I'm Too Lazy to Insert Covers Edition

The Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson

What do the Ferris Wheel, the tune to "There's a place in France where the naked ladies dance," Buffalo Bill Cody and grisly serial murder all have in common? Read this book and find out.

Seriously, though, it was brilliantly done narrative history. It read like a (really well-written) novel. Fifty points to Erik Larson!


Blindness
by Jose Saramago

Okay. This is one of those books that you're supposed to be impressed with. But it's also one of those books that you have to inject the deep meaning into, in my opinion. For someone like me, who despite my sarcasm likes to believe that people have some goodness in them, this book was so nihilistic. Maybe someone with a darker side would appreciate it more than me (although The Devil in the White City was plenty dark, and I liked it...so, it's a mystery.)

I was quite hooked in the beginning, with the sudden and seemingly random epidemic of blindness overtaking the world. But after a while, there's only so much overemphasis one can take (They can't find the toilets so they poo wherever! They're all blind! BLIND I TELL YOU!) without the plot moving anywhere in particular.

Fine. I get that the lack of punctuation and character names mimics the confusion a whole society might feel if they suddenly went blind. But...meh. Again, maybe if the plot went somewhere other than excrement I could have managed to get through to the end. Anyone else out there actually read the whole thing? Thoughts?


Outliers
by Malcolm Gladwell

I was skeptical when Tony mentioned this book and how good it was, and I was skeptical when I received it in a package from one of Idaho Dad's drawings. But then I read it.

If you haven't read it, you'll probably be skeptical when I tell you what it's about: It's about success, and how people become successful. I know, believe me. It sounds self-helpish and gimmicky. But it isn't! It so isn't. This book gives credit where credit is due—which apparently is mostly to being in the right place at the right time.

What did I take away from this book? I was born in the right place at the right time. And so were you! We just have to figure out...for what?


Julie & Julia
by Julie Powell

I'm one of those bloggers that kind of sort of knows there's a big business out there associated with being a mega popular blogger, but seeing as I'm not one of them, I try not to pay it much mind. Which is why when I picked up Julie & Julia at a charming little bookshop in Avalon, on Catalina Island, I had no idea that the book sprung forth from a blog that the author kept while cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

I didn't follow the blog while it was still operational, so I can't say for sure, but I'm going to put this out there: I think this was a great representation of how a blogger can turn into an author, using her blog as a platform and/or subject without putting into print the exact content of her blog, just prettied up a little. Plus, I think Julie is a good writer. It'll be interesting to see where her career goes from here, and whether she can stand on her own merit and writerly grit from here on out.

I'd like to think that she can.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

Loved Outliers.

A recommendation: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.

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