Monday, March 16, 2009

More quick reviews

I promised some new reviews a while back. I've finally decided it's time for a round up of the last several books I've read. So here are some quick reviews:

Red River by Lalita Tademy probably deserves a review of its own, but I've just been too busy. Like Cane River before it, this is a fictionalized telling of some of Tademy's family history. Red River adds some historical punch by also incorporating the so-called Colfax Riot of 1873. This is very good historical fiction, and the story of Tademy's forbears is inspiring.

A Red State of Mind by Nancy French was a very amusing book that tells about her experience as a conservative former Catfish Queen from Tennessee living among liberals on the east coast. She manages to make us laugh at the condescension and ridicule that she put up with, and her self-deprecating sense of humor makes her every day life look hilarious.

The Survivor's Club was an interesting--if slightly repetitive--look at survival. Ben Sherwood weaves together anecdotes about people who survived plane crashes, ship wrecks, animal attacks, etc. with the science of survival and hints about hot to increase your own survive-ability.

Class Matters is a compilation of the work of a number of New York Times writers. It is composed of a number of stories, about different individuals, originally published in the Times. The stories were interesting, but I found many of the premises and conclusions questionable, including the underlying premise that most Americans think that this is a classless society. I would wager that most Americans recognize that there are social classes in America, as in all countries. It also seemed to me that too many times these writers confused class with income. Paul Fussell's Class is a better look at the subject.

In a day or two I may tackle the fiction.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tally thus far

This post has no purpose, other than assuaging my own curiosity. I know how many books I've read this year, and how much progress I am making on my other challenges. But I am curious about what kind of books I've read so far.

First, I have four books in progress, all of them non-fiction.

I have read nine books this year so far that are non-fiction. Four of those are memoirs of one sort or another. One is biographical. One is history. Two are roughly sociology. I'm not sure how to categorize the final one.

I have read 22 works of fiction. The largest number of those, 11, are mystery, suspense, or something of the sort. Four are Chick Lit. Two are sci-fi or fantasy. One is historical fiction. One is poetry. One is juvenile fiction. One is more serious contemporary fiction. One is a Pride & Prejudice take -off.

One big glaring hole is that I have read no classic literature this year. I've also read less history than usual, although one book that is in progress is history. I've also read more constitutional history and commentary than the list would indicate, because I've been reading for my class, but not entire books.

As I said, this is just for my own information. Last year's challenge was in categories, and I liked that bit of discipline.