In spite of the 100 books-a-year goal, I rarely post about books. Possibly because I'm pushing so hard to get through 100 books a year. This year, thanks to the back, I hit my goal pretty early, so now I can pick anything.
Interestingly, I thought reading (or listening to) more books would make me more tolerant of "lesser" books, but it didn't. It has made me more willing to explore new authors or genres, but actually MORE intolerant of bad writing. I have even stopped canning in order to rip disks out of our new 5-cd-changer because the book was so bad. But occasionally there is one that surprises or delights me, and a few of the latest:
All Creatures Great And Small. Every guy I ever dated in the 1990s seemed to have this book. I don't know why exactly, but it's true. And when EVERYONE is reading something, that has generally meant I'm not going to like it, so I had ignored this book. Then Andy and I watched some of the old British TV series of the book and I was enchanted. I'd found a copy in the clearance racks meaning to get to it, then I ran across it as an audio book in the library...........and I was enchanted. It isn't every author who can allow you to chuckle at the interesting personalities one encounters, but not in a mean way, but James Harriot (James Wight) does. You laugh with him--at himself, the animals, the characters, the situations--and you care about every single one of them. Of course, as in everyone's lives, there is the occasional lout, but I found it even more charming than its purported reputation supposed.
Hunting Eichmann. I love history, even when it's rather dry. This was well-researched and even though I knew the outcome, had me on the edge of my seat. In spite of all the books I've read on Hitler and the holocaust, I still learned a great deal from this book. Did you know even General Patton vomited when he saw the survivors in the extermination camps? I know next to nothing about Patton, except that he was probably even tougher than George C. Scott who plays him in the movie, and that very fact has always scared me just a little. That even HE was overcome with the horror of the camps says both a lot about the camps and I personally think about the innate goodness of most human beings. If you can still be that appalled after a lifetime in the military and war, don't you think that means people believe in an underlying basis of decency?
Lost for Words. One of my favorite authors died this year--Deric Longden. He wrote simple stories about his life and made people laugh--sometimes at things that were hard to live through. This is the book he wrote about losing his mother, and while it was a sad event, she was such an interesting character that the book is truly happier than sad. There was a movie done in England with Pete Postelthwaite and Thora Hird based on the book and using the same title, but so far the only way I know to see it in the US is on YouTube.
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