Welcome to Week 34, I’m through 40 books, so doing well. Just 10 left to meet my goal.
36. Searching for Dragons – Patricia C. Wrede
This is the second novel in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I find it interesting that the books are all written from a different character’s perspective. It’s a neat trick, and I think it works particularly well for the children’s literature genre. You get to see the characters you love, but since you already know how they think, you get to spend time in other people’s head as they go along. Anyway, I highly recommend these books if you like children’s lit at all.
37. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
People are very surprised that I never have read this book and never had to in school. Considering I grew up in the south, this is doubly surprising. I moved around a fair amount and I think it was just assigned for one grade in one school district and another in a different one, and so I missed it by switching districts. In any event, I watched the movie this past year at some point and I really enjoyed it, and I’d listened to some NPR stories about its fiftieth anniversary, so I bought it and read it in a night. Fantastic book, and it made me all the more impressed with the movie. I am not generally a fan of Southern Gothic literature, I find it oppressive and kinda icky (I know, technical term) because it’s generally so depressing and twisted. It usually makes me want to take a scalding shower and spend the rest of my life in a heavily air-conditioned, sterilized and dehumidified bubble. But I really liked To Kill a Mockingbird, it strangely reminded me of some of the good things about the South, not the least of which is that there are many more Atticuses now than there were then.
38. The Prop 8 Report – David Fleischer
Wow, 500 pages of analysis of the Prop 8 campaigns. It was a lot to read, and I’m sort of including the Prop 8 decision in this too, since I did read that as well. Basically, the lesson I got from this is that we really need to get the word out that gay marriage helps children. The Prop 8 Proponents put out the whole “the children are gonna be destroyed” message and that alone basically lost gays the right to marry. So, how do we educate people that gay marriage helps children? I dunno, but it’s really important that we do so. The fact is that there are children being raised by same sex couples and that those children would benefit from their parents being able to marry. So, we should encourage a real discussion about children, because the facts are on our side. And we should stop being surprised that the Anita Bryant tactic of 30 years ago still works.
39. Flim Flam! – James The Amazing Randi
I actually didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I love Randi, he’s a great speaker and an all around cool guy, so I thought I’d enjoy the book. But I just didn’t find it all that interesting. The book basically debunks a bunch of different woo things like ESP and UFOs and the Bermuda Triangle — you know, National Enquirer stuff. And, I guess there’s a place for that and all, but I find the whole thing rather tedious. To me this is like debunking Cinderella or Superman, I guess there are people out there who believe it, but I tend to think they’re people who just need a fairy tale of some kind in their life. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s really retarded (it’s satire!) for people to believe a lot of that stuff, but so long as they aren’t hurting anyone, I don’t really care. Like, homeopathy, that’s something to rail against. The Bermuda Triangle? I just can’t be bothered. Maybe this is why I identify more as an atheist than a skeptic.
40. The Fifth Elephant – Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
Stephen Briggs has a much different reading style than Nigel Planer, and I admit I like Planer better. Mostly because I don’t like the voices Briggs uses for the watch in this book. He’s not bad, not at all, I’m probably just used to Planer. I think all the rest are read by Briggs so I suppose I should get used to him. OK, that aside, I did quite enjoy this book. It’s about Vimes, who I like, and it has vampires fighting werewolves. It was strangely not as funny or tongue-in-cheek as most of the Discworld books, it felt like an almost straight detective adventure novel. The plot may be the best constructed of his books so far, though plot has never been the main reason I read his books.