Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reading Update

Time for another reading update!  I notice I'm reading more nonfiction than fiction these days.  It isn't a deliberate decision, but simply a function of my library holds list.  I buy most of my fiction, since ebooks are generally quite affordable, and I'm willing to pay the occasional premium price to get the latest Gabaldon/GRR Martin/Spencer-Fleming/Bujold/etc. release in my hands the nanosecond it releases.  But once a book is on my Kindle, unless it's a sequel I've been awaiting for months or years, there's no pressure to read it immediately.

Nonfiction, on the other hand, I generally get from the library.  I'll hear an interesting author interview on NPR, whip out my library's iPhone app at the next long stop light, and put the book on hold.  Once I get it, I have three weeks to read with no possibility of renewal, since everyone else who heard that interview did the same thing, and you can't renew a book when there's a hold queue awaiting it.  So that book on the food of the future must be read now now now, while that romance or mystery I've heard good things about can wait.  Really, I need to think through whether I truly need to read every book that catches my interest on NPR (or the Daily Show, or the Economist), because I'd love to bring my fiction-nonfiction ratio back to something like 60-40 fiction, or at least 50-50.

45) Some Assembly Required, by Anne Lamott. Sort of a companion piece to Operating Instructions, Lamott's memoir of motherhood. In this book we see her first year as a grandmother. It's not as raw and gritty a book--you get the sense Lamott is holding back from a too harsh, too honest opinion of her son and his girlfriend and the assorted members of their extended families--but if you like her work, you'll probably enjoy this book, too.

46) Lone Survivors: How We Came to be the Only Humans on Earth, by Chris Stringer. I've been fascinated by paleoanthropology since I was a little kid reading about the Leakeys' discoveries in National Geographic and Time-Life books. Sometimes I think there's a version of me in an alternate universe who got her PhD in the field and hangs out with people like Chris Stringer at conferences. I wouldn't want to be anything but an author, but I do like to keep up with the field. This book is a good summary of the current state of the science from a Recent African Origins perspective.

47) Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. I wasn't quite as blown away as I was by the first book in the series, in that I read it over several days rather than a single afternoon. But I'm still hooked, and Katniss makes a wonderful protagonist because she's so difficult despite her courage and resourcefulness. And I think Katniss Everdeen may be the best heroine name ever.

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