This was my first reading month as a parent. I was glad to see that I was still able to get a fair bit done while looking after the little one. I think in the next month I’m really going to concentrate on fiction. It’s been a while since I’ve been blown away by a novel I hadn’t read before, and I’d like to come across something really wonderful.
1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (5.0/5): This is probably my favorite book. I love it. It manages to be enormous without having anything that feels superfluous. Everything in the book adds to the plot and enhances the characters. The characters are my favorite part. They are all flawed, but you like them all. It’s just a wonderful book, and the ending kills me.
2. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (3.5/5): I was let down by this book. Everyone I know gets so breathless when they talk about it, and it just didn’t do that much for me. The writing is certainly good, though McCarthy’s odd style did wear on me in places in a way it did not in The Road, and the story is interesting, but, ultimately, I just didn’t care about the characters enough. They send most of the book being epically stupid for bad reasons, and I can only forgive that so much.
3. The Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (5.0/5): Very good popular science book. He not only explains if all the things you’ve seenin science fiction are possible, but he tells the story of scientific development in that area and gives asides that often tell the stories of the scientists involved. It is the story telling that makes it excellent instead of just interesting. There are a few writerly things that bug me, but those things are forgiven (as long as they aren’t egregious) when I’m not reading fiction/literary nonfiction.
4. The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien (4.5/5): I’d read a version of this before, but it is still a very good story and very well told. It’s not nearly as difficult of a read as I’d been led to believe. It is very depressing, though. The only stuff that really bugged me were a few phrases that were repeated a bit too often and Chapter titles that give a little too much away.
5. 1984 by George Orwell (3.5/5): This is one of those books I kept meaning to read, but never had. Now that I finally have, I’m conflicted about it. Certainly, it’s interesting commentary on society and for the most part the story is rather compelling. However, there are long stretches of the book, especially at the beginning that are pretty superfluous. Overall, I think it’s okay, but not fantastic.
Book Queue Update:
Tomcat in Love by Tim O’Brien
Gun with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku
Summerland by Michael Chabon
The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta
Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy