What I’ve been reading

Keeping the photo/video books out of this list – see the appropriate posts for them.

Ebooks:

– The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  Nice light fantasy.  If you know Gaiman, well, it’s in his standard style.

– How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman.  More Gaiman.  This one is little more than a short story.

– Collision 2012 by Dan Balz.  A recounting of the 2012 election.  I enjoyed it.

– Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.  Another recounting of the 2012 election.  I also enjoyed this one.  The Balz book is better on details on how the campaigns were run, this one a bit better on gossip.

– Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson.  Actually about the actions of the various great powers in Arabia during WWI, focusing on some of the major agents of the various governments in the area, including notably Lawrence of Arabia.  I learned a lot more about Lawrence than I knew – my knowledge was mostly from watching the movie.  Enjoyable book.

– The Good Lord Bird by James McBride.  A historical fiction focusing on John Brown.  What an amazing, enraging, complicated man Brown was.  The book just about does him justice.

– Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen.  Pretty standard Hiaasen, meaning it’s about strange folks who live in Florida, the bad guys hurt the environment, it’s funny and odd, and something bad happens to someone’s hand.  Skin Tight is still my favorite Hiaasen, but this one was pretty good.

– Duty by Robert Gates.  I loved this book.  Gates has a remarkably nuanced view of his experiences as Secretary of Defense under both Bush and Obama.  He has positive and negative views of just about everybody, but his true loyalty is to the troops.  Recommended.

– Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss.  An extremely well written true-crime book in the style of In Cold Blood.  The central figure, who McGinniss believes is guilty, is fascinating.  However, it’s worth noting that this book is quite controversial, and Erroll Morris among others has written books disagreeing with its conclusions.

– The Pursuit of Italy by David Gilmour.  A survey of Italian history that has the interesting point of view that the unification of Italy in the 19th century was a mistake.  A good read, though I was hoping for more details on Medieval and Renaissance Italy, which are glossed over a bit herein.

Five Came Back by Mark Harris.  Okay, I lied.  This one’s about movies.  But a history of five directors who left their Hollywood careers behind to join the US military during WWII and make propaganda and training films for the government.  An excellent read about some men who put service to country ahead of making entertaining movies.

Audiobooks:

11-22-63 by Stephen King.  Mostly time travel, with a bit of supernatural thrown in.  I liked it, didn’t love it.

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