Thursday, August 17, 2006

Books On The Bedside Table

Tesla: Man Out of Time, by Margaret Cheney.
I’m about halfway into this and it’s interesting. I’m liking the personal feeling of it as much I like learning more about Tesla and his huge contributions to science. A lot of period flavor, too.

I, Fatty: A Novel by Jerry Stahl.
Xavier loaned me this, and I read it in one night – it’s not a long novel, and it flows quickly. It's both
compelling and sad. It’s a faux-memoir, but Stahl creates such an authentic voice for Fatty Arbuckle that it’s easy to forget, for pages at a time, that it’s not a true autobiography of the rise and fall of the 1920's actor.

A Simple Plan By Scott Smith
One of those best-sellers I haven’t gotten around to reading, although I like suspense novels. I’m told it’s pretty intense, so I’m saving it for when I have a free evening to burn all the way through it.

Dangerous Relationships: How to Identify and Respond to the Seven Warning Signs of a Troubled Relationship by Noelle Nelson
No, this is not a sign of trouble in any of my relationships. I’m scheduled to be part of a panel next month at the Wet Spot about how to meet people safely, and I thought I’d do some reading to help clarify my ideas about how to pick up on danger signals early in interactions with people. I've sort of pre-skimmed through it and I would say while Ms. Nelson may not be presenting any new information to me personally, she organizes the material well. And we'll see what a more careful perusal yields.

Indecent Secrets: The Infamous Murri Murder Affair by Christina Vella
Read it already - it's an account a famous 1902 murder trial in Italy. I liked the story, although the writing wasn’t all that good, in my opinion. But it does demonstrate that a murder trial where the accused become celebrities is not unique to modern America.

The Royal Physician's Visit: A Novel by Per Olov Enquist
Another best-selling, award-winning book I didn’t read when it first came out. Having read it now, I’m mildly puzzled by the rave reviews. It’s good, but the text was originally written in Swedish, and then translated to English, and it shows. So, sure, an enjoyable-enough book. But calling this prose “elegant”? Um, okay. If you say so.

Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945 by Leo Marks
I’m about a hundred pages into this one, and it’s very good so far. Marks writes in a droll, offhand tone of voice that I particularly associate with a Brit talking about issues of life and death, and so far his gift for vivid characterization – both of himself, as a smart-aleck twenty-year-old, and of others - has me deeply engrossed.

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