It's up for debate

Books, Old and New!

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Looking back through old posts, I couldn’t help but smile while perusing the ‘Tis the Season to be Reading” blog blurb; this time last year — pre-157th Street, pre-Hostelling International, and mid-Scott era — I was freezing my booties off in the wastelands of Bushwick, Brooklyn, not a caring landlord in sight. To cope, I immersed myself in books, from weighty reads attempting to explain the expansion of the universe to the ever-favourable (Need to drop these Britishisms if I want a proper copyediting job) Bill Bryson and his investigation of the English language.

Now, the story is the same, but in a different format: electronic, baby! It was a tough decision, but I graciously allowed my mother to buy me a Kindle, yet with much trepidation even after the sale. Light, cold, scentless: the lack of all the opposites made the Kindle seem…sad. Then – fast forward a few hours – I was hooked after only a few downloads. Here’s what I got into:

At Home
by Bill Bryson

The age-old phrase is true: “Too much of something can be a bad thing.” Or something like that. In any case, B-rye lost his luster and so the book was put on hold…until now. All I needed was a little time – and fiction in the meanwhile – to fall right back in love with this clever man with the most adorable American-British accent.

Decision Points
by George Bush

Judge not, lest ye be judged. I bought it because it’s an important historical documentation of a man whose presidency I unfortunately had to live through. The first few hundred pages are basic: See Spot. See Spot Run. See Spot’s publicist take over to write the rest of the book after realizing Spot had piddled all over the pages. Bad Spot. Bad. Spot.

by Oliver Sacks

Not going to lie – haven’t even gotten past the first twenty pages. But I can tell it’s a keeper. No returns allowed on Amazon Kindle books anyhow. I checked.

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris
by Graham Robb

This drool-worthy historical narrative was suggested by one of my colleagues at the hostel. I’ve only made it to the third story, and, although I’m not entirely impressed by the style of writing, I hear there’s a perspective (fictional, of course, but based on historical facts) from Adolf Hitler on the city of Paris. Oh la la, mein Herr!

Son of a Witch
by Gregory Maguire

The second part in the series of The Wicked Years, Son of a Witch was certainly an enthralling read as any fantasy roots-exposing fictional work can be, but I ended the book with a feeling that a few pages had been ripped out, along with the point of the entire plot line. This puts into question whether I’ll continue on to the next part of the series, A Lion Among Men.

So is my cumbersome, back-and-forth reading load this winter. Prospective future reads include The Girls With the Dragon Tattoo – suggested to me by an interviewer at Rockefeller University Press (fingers crossed!) – and The Hobbit. And as much as I hate to admit it, these selections as well as the last book listed on my cold weather collection, are not in e-form with the rest. As fantastic as my Kindle may be, it lacks the mildewy smell and the tactile pleasure I receive from flipping through the pages of a yellowing tome. No matter the format, though – these books will all keep me warm throughout the blustery New York winter, mainly because each day I burn a page of George Bush’s memoir. Sublime.


Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

January 12, 2011 at 2:49 am

Posted in Books

One Response

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  1. […] sets A Walk in the Woods apart from Bryson’s other books, such as At Home and The Mother Tongue, is its attempt (and success, I think) at capturing the dynamic between […]

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