This month was a miracle. It was dominated by one really huge book around which I managed to squeeze several smaller ones, all while painting half the house and going back to school. If anyone wants to come by and help me whip the yard into shape, just say the word.
1. Eaarth by Bill McKibben (5/5) – This book feels very important. It also scared the living bejesus out of me. Apparently, what with all the global warming, we are not in for a fun time. I knew that, what I didn’t know is that the not fun time started a few years ago and is only going to get worse. Awesome. He does, however, do a good job of laying out a basic plan for survival with out being miserable. Honestly, it didn’t sound that bad. It will be nice if we can pull it off. Anyway, go read this book because it will be good for you.
2. Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo (4/5) – This was good, but not Russo’s best. It is an enormous book (550 pages of tiny print), and, frankly, he could have cut a fair bit without hurting it. When it’s hitting on all cylinders, it’s wonderful, but it does miss a fair bit, so it ends up just being the kind of good book that your relieved to finish.
3. Pandora’s Seed by Spencer Wells (4/5) – A neat little book that explains exactly what happened to us as a result of becoming farmers. I was pretty constantly interested by this book, but it lacked the over-arching narrative that makes the best science books so engaging. Still, it was really neat and filled with all kinds of interesting stuff.
4. Water Street by Crystal Wilkinson (3.5/5) – This was like a lot of the short story collections I’ve been reading lately. There were some stories that were really good, some that were pretty good and some that weren’t really much to look at. What really hurts her is a tendency toward cliche that pops up from time to time.
5. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (5/5) – This is the best Bill Bryson I’ve read. He’s hilarious as usual and he makes the kind of pointed observations that he always does, but this book also has a really lovely story with nice little plot twists and an ending that I found oddly satisfying and powerful for its realism. This is one I’ll likely read again.
Time for a new queue, this one to be completed by (roughly) Christmas Break…
Fall Book Queue:
For Kings and Planets by Ethan Canin
The Prophet and the Astronomer by Marcelo Gleiser
Tess of D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood
Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Tinkers by Paul Harding
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson