Bitching Brew

Friday, December 14, 2007

Recent reading.

On average, I read about thirty books a year. (Yes, I know I could be doing better. Blame the internet and my socialising.) That works out at roughly a book per fortnight, but averages are misleading. I tend to read several books in a burst, before going through a long lull. I picked up and read a bundle of books while travelling this fall, but once I returned, my brain clogged up for three or four weeks. I've only just got back in the reading habit.

Anyway, while I redraft my next post proper, I'll tell you what I was reading over the last ten weeks. Oh yes... definitely a highlight of the blog, this post.

  • The Economic Consequences of the Peace - John Maynard Keynes
  • The Canon - Natalie Angier
  • Cicero - Anthony Everitt
  • The Worldly Philosophers - Robert Heilbroner
  • JPod - Douglas Coupland
  • The Outsider - Albert Camus
  • The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin - Gordon Wood
  • Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People - Susan McKay
  • Death Sentences - Don Watson
  • Disgrace - J.M. Coetzee
  • The Imperial Presidency - Arthur Schlesinger
  • From Babel to Dragomans - Bernard Lewis
Of the twelve, Death Sentences was the solitary disappointment. The first third was good, but the rest of the book was incoherent and muddied the writer's thesis. In contrast, Disgrace and The Imperial Presidency were exceptional works.

You can tell that I've a strong bias toward non-fiction; just three of the twelve books were novels. Continuing the trend, four of the five books I ordered last night are works of history, philosophy or politics. Sandor Marai's Embers is the lone novel.

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  • An early Merry Christmas to you!

    By Blogger Etchen, at Sat Dec 22, 09:53:00 p.m.  

  • The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin . . . that sounds really interesting. How was it? Worth picking up?

    By Blogger C the Maven, at Sun Dec 23, 03:32:00 a.m.  

  • May I make a pop nerd suggestion for you, a nonfiction lover? "Mad In America", Robert Whitaker. Also "Lives of the Poets", Michael Schmidt. I also really like an edited compilation I own of transcripts of Cicero's murder trials, which I know sounds strange.

    In closing, Merry Christmas, Martin!

    By Blogger dpineapple, at Mon Dec 24, 03:40:00 a.m.  

  • Thanks to all of you, and a happy New Year!

    Good to see you're still ticking over Etchen.

    C, I thought that book was useful. I haven't grown up with the Ben Franklin legend, so I can't judge how far the book deviated from that. On its own merits, it was very illuminating, focusing on the social hierarchy of the time and on the colonists' torn sympathies.

    Someone mentioned "Mad in America" to me before D. Now that I've had two recommendations, I'll certainly have to check it out! I'd quite like to read some concise Latin, such as Cicero. 'Tis a shame I've no knowledge of Latin. It might be still be instructive to read the translation...

    By Blogger Martin, at Sat Jan 05, 01:00:00 a.m.  

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