Monday, January 14, 2013
Heard any good books lately?
A while back I read an excerpt from The Passage of Power, by Robert Caro, in the New Yorker. I found it riveting. I still remember where I was the day JFK was shot. This was back in the day when most of the mothers in our suburban village were stay-at-home moms and the elementary school day was structured such that we could go home for lunch. I had run down to the five and dime to buy some school supplies. A classmate there told me about the shooting. At first I thought he was making it up, but the store PA system was tuned to a local radio station which broadcast the news right then. I pictured JFK being shot in the arm, like the good guys on TV. Sadly, not so. Interestingly enough, though, Caro's book makes it seem that few of Kennedy's programs would have ever come into existence without Lyndon Johnson's knowledge of the inner workings of Congress to push them through, knowledge Kennedy and his staff eschewed while LBJ was VP.
Yes, I am reading the book. Or, rather, listening to it. This one falls into the category of I-am-interested-but-probably-will-not-be-able-to-slog-through. Fortunately, this one is also available from my local library on CD. Originally I pictured myself spending the winter curled up under an afghan, knitting while I listened to not only this book but all the preceding ones Caro has written on LBJ. The others were not available on audio, though, and quite frankly, 27 disks on one topic is quite enough for me.
Once upon a time, if I started a book, I finished it, no matter how dull or tortuous that might be. No more. I like reading Alain de Botton, and had high hopes for Religion for Atheists, but for some reason, it did not hold my interest. No Death, No Fear, by Thich Nhat Hanh, is another one I could not get through. World without Cancer I skimmed, as a good part of it has to do with altering public policy (good luck with THAT, Dr. Cuomo). I did read all of May Sarton's Plant Dreaming Deep and Journal of a Solitude, and also Maragert Roach's And I Shall Find Some Peace There, a title I find awkward. Is it a sign of my age that I am more interested in memoir these days?
I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey and most likely will not, but I am nearing the end of Gone Girl. About the only fiction I can tolerate these days is mystery/detective novels and certain sci-fi/fantasy. Occasionally I stumble across something good, like Steve Hamilton's The Lock Artist. I try to read Haven Kimmel, but her more recent books go right over my head.
So, what are you reading these days? Any recommendations?