Thursday, November 27, 2014

2014 Reading, Books 118-120

118) The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky

The second book I've read this month about growing poverty and income inequality in America, over the course of my entire 40-something year lifetime and especially in the wake of the Great Recession, and it draws much the same conclusions as Bob Herbert's Losing Our Way. Basically, it's not that we lack the resources as a nation to combat poverty, decaying infrastructure, persistent unemployment and the like--we lack the political will, empathy, compassion, and general sense that we're all in it together as a nation. And I wish I felt optimism that we could regain all those fine qualities, but I don't.

119) The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer

A fun look at what everyday life was like in Elizabethan England, more broad than deep in its scope.

120) Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

An engaging, unusual fantasy novel that I recommend highly, with the caveat that this is a book that engrossed my head rather than my heart. I found myself thinking, "This is fantasy, but it feels like science fiction." When I asked myself what I meant by that (yeah, I know that sounds weird), I realized that I think of science fiction as technologically driven, while fantasy is more about sociology and/or spirituality. Which also explains why I think of the Vorkosigan Saga as being science fiction that reads like fantasy--sure, it's 1000 years into the future and humanity has colonized a bunch of planets linked by a "wormhole nexus," but the books are about people, their cultures, and where they find meaning. Whereas this book is gods and magic--as a technology. It's very well-done with intricate world-building and plotting. As such I expect to read more, but since I was reading with the head and not the heart, I doubt I'll ever turn into the kind of one-woman street team for these books that I am for the Vorkosigan series.

No comments:

Post a Comment