Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Since I’m sort of pressed for time at the moment – yet still want to post something – I’ll go back to one of my old copouts: a reading list. Before that little hiatus I seem to have taken, these lists used to interest people, so I’ll bring them back periodically and see what kind of email rolls in. I’ve had some very good, “if you like those, you should try reading this…” responses in the past, so that’s kind of what I’m going for here.

In no particular order:

The Secret History of the American Empire, by John Perkins: Very nearly unreadable, and not because of the subject matter, either. I’m sure John Perkins is a very smart man, and I’m sure he’s done a lot of the things he refers to in his books. What he doesn’t have, however, is his finger on the pulse of the people he’s trying to reach. I can’t get past his self-congratulatory tone or his inability to convey a reasonable emotional context for the things about which he writes. The subject matter is fascinating. The writing is horrific.

Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson: I’ve made no secret of the fact that Neal Stephenson is my favorite author. This go-round with Snow Crash was, in fact, a rereading, and as always, it was worth the time. As “Clint” once pointed out, it’s still a dream of mine to trap Neal in a HarperCollins elevator and demand that he “say something smart.”

Spook Country, by William Gibson: Not bad, but definitely not Gibson’s best effort. In Spook Country, I think he’s trying to create the same sort of tableau he nailed down in All Tomorrow’s Parties, but it doesn’t work nearly as well. This book should’ve been a hundred pages longer for purposes of character development. I finished it knowing nothing about any of the main characters and felt a little shortchanged considering how excited I was to get my hands on a copy.

Turing’s Delirium, by Edmundo Paz Soldan: If it looks like I’m big on Cyberpunk and Cypherpunk stuff, I am, but it’s not what you think. I really have no interest in science fiction and never have. Stephenson, Gibson and others are simply terrific writers who put out some of the most engaging material I’ve ever read, regardless of genre. Turing’s Delirium is translated from Spanish, so the writing is a bit off at times, but it’s a good story and it kept my attention.

Homicide, by Martin Daly and Margo Wilson: I now know a lot more about why people act like assholes, especially in Massachusetts. Homicide isn’t about people from Massachusetts, and it doesn’t really reference people from Massachusetts, but when I pretended that certain sections involved Massholia, the whole thing made sense to me. There’s a certain evolutionary aspect to it that I hadn’t considered until reading this book. This is a scholarly work, but it’s a fairly interesting read.