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52 Books in 2013—Update 04

February 26, 2013

It’s been a stressful, painful month. When it rains, it pours, right? But despite all that, despite my frustration and exhaustion, life is still a beautiful thing. I really don’t have too much to complain about, and all of these frustrations will pass.

Reading is such a comfort, isn’t it?

10. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson walkinthewoods

Bill Bryson was recommended to me as the sort of writer who could make a 150,000-word book about a piece of thread the most interesting thing you’ve ever read (not that he’s written a 150,000 word book about a piece of thread, or anything, I think). The point is that he’s a very good writer. I ordered his book, The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way, and while I was waiting for it to arrive, I read A Walk in the Woods on my Kindle. It’s a nonfiction about his experiences trying to hike the Appalachian Trail. I found it to be surprisingly refreshing. And it made me want to hike (though nothing as large as the Appalachian Trail, and since I’m not an outdoorsy person, this inspiration will have completely faded by the end of the month). One of the reviews notes that the book becomes decidedly less interesting during the second half. I found this to be somewhat true; the first half was more interesting, but the second half wasn’t nearly as boring as I’d been led to fear. Overall, a good book, and I’m looking forward to reading The Mother Tongue.

phantoms_koontz11. Phantoms by Dean Koontz

More Dean Koontz. When will I ever learn? Actually, despite the fact that Koontz once again has way too many characters and viewpoints, that I was heavily reminded by the movie The Thing and elements of Lovecraftian horror, and that Koontz has a habit of doing everything that my sources on “how to write well” say not to do, overall I enjoyed this book. Mostly the ending. It lagged a little in the middle, and if I hadn’t been listening to it as an audiobook and the narrator hadn’t done different voice for each character, I wouldn’t have been able to keep track of anybody at all. He would introduce a new viewpoint just for once scene, then kill off the character in that scene. Ugh. Great concept, mediocre execution (except for the ending, which I really did like.) It was a good mystery with a good payoff.

12. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichtonpirate_latitudes

This book was no Jurassic Park—which is a brilliant book—but it was fun. It was a quick and interesting adventure. I wasn’t really sure where it was going (except that it was about pirates), and at times I felt like it had been written in something of a rush; parts of it seemed a bit rough and unpolished, but only a little. That’s not to say it isn’t a good book. I’d say it was worth reading. And who doesn’t love pirates?

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