Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Books read, late April

Jonathan Barnes, The Domino Men. This read like Barnes had been reading Jonathan Carroll, China Mieville, and G. K. Chesterton. Sadly not nearly enough Chesterton.

Freeman Dyson, The Scientist As Rebel. Disclosure: I had Freeman as a professor for a "Science and Society" seminar for a semester of my time at Gustavus. I was completely unable to disentangle that experience from this book. It read, to me, like Freeman himself: sometimes right, sometimes wrong, always interesting, always dear, always engaging. I probably wouldn't start with this, of all his books, but I liked it anyway.

Simon Garfield, The Error World: An Affair With Stamps. This is one of the odd ones of my grandpa's library: it was a birthday present I gave him this year, so he never had a chance to read it. Having read it now myself, I'm not sure he would have liked it much. I didn't. It was about stamps and philately, which he loved, but also about Simon Garfield. I can't say for sure about Grandpa, but the more of the memoiry bits I read about Mr. Garfield, the less inclined I was to like him. I think being an annoying ass is sort of a liability when you're writing a memoir.

Tony Hays, The Killing Way. Discussed elsewhere.

Georgette Heyer, Bath Tangle and False Colours. Bath Tangle is my least favorite Heyer so far. I really did not like it at all and do not recommend it. The hero crosses the line from "willful and unconventional" to "complete jerk" on several occasions, and doesn't get called on it for some of the largest of them. Bah. I was much, much fonder of False Colours, particularly because I like seeing characters who are sensible and have senses of humor.

Gerard Hill, G. G. Smorodinova, and B. L. Ulyanova, Faberge and the Russian Master Goldsmiths. This is mostly a coffee-table book of photos of bunches of nifty things made in pre-Revolution Russian jewelers' workshops. I am fascinated by these things without finding very many of them personally appealing. Lots of good information about the fine crafts culture of that time and place for those of us who obsess about these things.

Elizabeth Moon, Victory Conditions. A solid ending to the series, but very much a series-ending rather than a stand-alone or an open-ended. I'm not sure Moon is done in this universe, but if she returns to it, I expect it'll be a new series.

Michael Wallis, Route 66: The Mother Road. This is one of Grandpa's. We drove parts of old Route 66 together when I was just turned 13--I think before that, too, maybe, but that's the trip I remember. He was very fond of the song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66," which I sing around the house, too. But Wallis didn't have what my grandpa did: the ability to enjoy what was without romanticizing it. He was utterly oblivious to the fact that he was describing all the "unique" diners as having the same menus, for example, and did not seem to see that Route 66 itself would almost certainly have had detractors in the previous set of historians and residents just as the current interstate freeways do for people like him. I had fun with this reading it as something my grandpa was interested in. I think if you were writing something about/around Rte. 66 in its heyday, you'd want a different work if you could find it, though.
Tags: bookses precious

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