Art is long, commutes are longer (Book recommendations, 3)

I read these books in mid-2016: fiction and nonfiction, high- and low-brow, more or less in this order. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.

  1. HEYER, Georgette. Regency Buck. Heyer’s another of my go-to escapist authors.
  2. GREENWOOD, Kerry. Cocaine Blues. The first Phryne Fisher mystery. I loved the TV adaptation, but this is one of those rare cases where I liked the book far less. Maybe I should skip a couple books ahead in the series and see if she’s stopped shifting point of view in a distracting manner.
  3. CIALDINI, Robert. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Informative and useful for me, as a marketer and a potential sucker. Highly recommended.
  4. HOLLAND, Barbara. Gentlemen’s Blood: A Thousand Years of Sword and Pistol. I skimmed this for a Hamilton post on dueling. It’s relentlessly flippant, snide, collectivist (women are smart, men are slaves to testosterone), and has no footnotes whatsoever. Don’t bother.
  5. CHILD, Lee. Without Fail. Sometimes Jack Reacher is exactly what I need. Yes, I enjoyed the latest Reacher movie.
  6. CORDAIR, Quent. A New Eden (Idolatry series, 2). Excellent, and I’m not just saying that because I’m Quent’s editor.
  7. KIPLING, Rudyard. Stalky & Co. I enjoyed all the Kipling I’ve read before this one, but I only made it through the first two stories of this collection: I had the feeling I was missing too much of the British humor.
  8. FLEMING, Thomas. Beat the Last Drum: The Siege of Yorktown. Fleming is a very good storyteller, but his lack of footnotes exasperates me.
  9. JOHNSON, M. Zachary. Emotion in Life & Music: A New Science. In progress. As an Objectivist, much of the introductory material is familiar to me, but what’s new is really good.
  10. BRYSON, Bill. The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain. A disappointment. I’ve been a fan of Bryson for years (At Home, History of Practically Evertying, etc.), but in this one he comes across as angry and vicious.
  11. HUGO, Victor. Le Roi s’amuse. This is the play on which Rigoletto is based: I was curious to see how much of it Verdi kept. (Lots.) Amazon also has a few English translations.
  12. WILDE, Oscar. Selected Prose. Amusing, but to be taken in small doses. I’ve left it on my Kindle as back-up reading.
  13. ROWLING, J.K. The Cursed Child. I was going to skip this, since it’s not actually written by Rowling, but my daughter (who used to fight with me over who got to read the latest HP first) recommended it. It’s a rather nice twining of Harry’s grown-up present with his Hogwarts past. On the other hand, I do NOT recommend the “short stories” published under the Pottermore imprint, which seem to be character studies for the Harry Potter series. I kept flip-flip-flipping through the two I purchased (this one and this one), seeking in vain for anything substantial and enjoyable.
  14. ROBB, J.D. Apprentice in Death. A well-paced detective story. I like Dallas and Roarke very much. There should have been more Roarke in this book. There should always be more Roarke.
  15. MEE, Charles, Jr. Genius of the People: The Making of the Constitution. An old favorite, reread for upcoming Hamilton posts on the Constitutional Convention. If you read it during an election campaign, do not hold me responsible for your mood swings.
  16. WOLFE, Tom. The Kingdom of Speech. In progress, but so far, I’m loving it. He tells history the way Simon Winchester does (and Bill Bryson used to), but with far more exclamation points. Caveat: I have a Ph.D. in Classical Philology, so I’m a language geek.


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