Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What I'm reading

After looking at a friend’s Web site and reading her literary reviews, I got to thinking about my own life as a bookworm. I currently have four partially-read books lying under my nightstand. I’m reading all of them in bits and pieces – some more than others. I also have a pile of books to be read and a long list of books I plan to read.

The books under my nightstand are:
• “Lady Blackrobes: Missionaries in the Heart of Indian Country” by Irene Mahoney – an interesting subject but written in such a dry manner, with letters to and from the bishops and nuns involved, that I’m having a hard time getting through more than a few pages at a time.
• “Notes from a Big Country” by Bill Bryson – in one volume with “Notes from a Small Island.” I ready “Notes from a Small Island” quickly, enjoying the passages about parts of England I visited last year. “Notes from a Big Country” is about Bryson moving back to the U.S. and writing about the country and his experiences for people in England. Bryson is funny and a great story teller, but I guess I’d rather read about England. As the chapters were actually written as stand-alone articles, I don’t feel bad only reading one or two every few days or so.
• “Clarkson on Cars” by Jeremy Clarkson – the host of Top Gear has been writing about cars for a lot longer than I have and I aspire to be as witty and scathing. (No chance I’ll ever be as big – the man is over 6’ 5” tall!) Again the chapters were written as stand-alone articles for British newspapers, so I read one or two when I need a laugh or just want to imagine being in England again. Clarkson is a hoot, even if all of the humor doesn’t directly translate to American.
• “Hidden Prey” by John Sandford – part of his long list of “Prey” books featuring investigator Lucas Davenport. A mystery/thriller with twists and turns and the (for some reason I can’t explain) likable Davenport, I consider the “Prey” books brain candy. Sandford can weave a tale and, as I said, I really like Davenport. I’ll probably have this one done by next week.

On deck:
• “Ship Fever” by Andrea Barrett – a collection of stories that won the National Book Award in 1996.
• “Human Traces” by Sebastian Faulks – Faulks wrote “Birdsong,” a book about World War I which I read recently and thoroughly enjoyed.
• “The Double” by Jose Saramago – Saramago wrote the Nobel Prize-winning “Blindness,” which was a tough read but a great book. I’ve read mixed reviews about “The Double,” so we’ll see.
• “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy – I loved “All the Pretty Horses” but have never been able to get through “Blood Meridian.” I’ve heard really good things about this book and just ordered it from
• “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” by Max Brooks – I’ll let the title of this one speak for itself.