Book Round Up

Here’s some reviews of books I have read recently. Up next, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

MoneyballMichael Lewis
Highly entertaining, hugely interesting, a great read. A book about baseball that a non-fan can enjoy, and a fan can love.

Loser Goes FirstDan Kennedy
Sorry, I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t. I’m sure it got to be interesting at some point, but I got tired of waiting, I had to put it down. I found it a bit disjointed, the blurring of fantasy and reality muddled the narrative in my opinion. I hate to say this, but I found the whole thing a bit sophomoric, Holden Caulfield, he ain’t. But, just in case Dan Kennedy is reading is, it’s better than any book I ever wrote.

MiddlesexJeffrey Eugenides
An epic, a masterpiece, a truly great work of contemporary fiction. I urge you to read this book, I’d compare to it a modern day Huck Finn, I think it’s that good. The inventiveness of the plot is one thing that makes it great, and the pace of the story is another thing that makes it hard to put down. Just when you think you might be getting bored with the story, something happens, and it’s almost always unexpected and interesting (not like a thriller where they turn up the suspense to keep you on your toes). The quality of the writing is also very high, maybe not on the level of Philip Roth, but very high indeed. It’s a book that really defies classification, but it demands recognition.

BlinkMalcolm Gladwell
One of the funny things about reading Blink is that people on the subway often asked me how I liked it. The ironic thing is that depending on my first impression of them (my instinctive gut reaction), I responded differently. When somebody asks you if you like a Malcolm Gladwell book, it’s hard to say no, because he writes so popularly. While I did enjoy this book, I didn’t like it as much as The Tipping Point for a couple of reasons. First, in The Tipping Point, he seemed to devise his own theory and then set about to prove it, that was novel, that was interesting. In Blink, he just seemed to present a bunch of case studies, and then say, see aren’t these interesting. Well, yes, they were, but I think if I had culled through a bunch of old psychological journals and found some cool articles, I might have been just as fascinated. The other problem I had with the book, is that he presented a bunch of social psychology case studies and then tied them all back to his theories of rapid cognition, at times, I thought he was reaching. Just because you have a bunch of subheadings in every chapter doesn’t necessarily mean it all fits together that nicely. Anyway, read The Tipping Point first, then if you can’t resist, pick up a copy of Blink.

GuttedLawrence LaRose
Smartass Lawrence LaRose writes about how he gutted his house in Sag Harbor, NY and almost destroyed his new marriage at the same time. LaRose is not a great writer, a narrator, he is a bit arrogant, (read the author’s bio and he as much as tells you so), and as a wordsmith he is prone to making a few too many metaphors, and trying to hard to make them all funny. In the end I liked the book for what it was, a light, occasionally funny, no-brainer kind of book, with stuff in it about carpentry. Note: I don’t usually buy books like this, but I met LaRose at his reading, and a couple of the portions he read struck a chord, so I took the plunge.