Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book Reading Update

John Tenniel illustrated the first editions of...Image via Wikipedia

I'm doing pretty good on my book reading. I started the month off by reading "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't" by Jim Collins, a business book about how businesses made the transition from merely doing as well as the rest of the market to beating it by more than 3 times. Very few business books age well (except for "Parkinson's Law") and there are already companies featured in the book who have not turned out very well (Circuit City and Fannie Mae being the two chief examples.) But I think this one does as well as any of them. It's short and if you're interested in books like that you could do a lot worse.

The second book I read already this month was "The Looking Glass Wars" by Frank Beddor. My #1 daughter wanted me to read it and I was interested in seeing what he had done with the world. In case you're not familiar with the book, the conceit is that it wasn't Lewis Carroll making up the stories of Alice, but rather Alice telling them to Lewis Carroll, and that he got them all wrong. Let me start out with the good points. It kept me engaged, I was never bored and I definitely wanted to see how it ended. Also, where a typical fantasy author might spend an entire trilogy covering the amount of time and narrative ground he does, but he covers each scene pretty fast, sometimes too fast, which brings us to the negatives.

For someone who's work would not really exist without him, and who wouldn't have achieved nearly the success even if somehow it did, he's really unkind to Carroll. Also one of the pleasures of this sort of book is taking something from the original and explaining it in a clever new light, there's almost none of that going on here. Every connection is really done in a very cursory fashion only a very tenuous link to the original story. Finally as I mentioned one some levels I liked the pacing, but I really could have used more detail, at some points it felt like he was just trying to through the scene as quickly as possible.

Audio book wise I'm working through "The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, Revised and Updated." I'm finding that history books don't go done quite as easy as novels in the audio format. I'm having the urge to flip back to re-acquaint myself with the various people. I think I'll still get plenty out of it, but this time I don't think I'm actually going to experience an increase in comprehension with the audiobook.

Also I've been watching "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" while composing this entry, and it's actually quite good. If you're into quirky teen movies I'd definitely recommend it.

Lame, Literally

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So did you like the L.G.W.?

Daughter #1

8:07 PM  
Blogger Ross said...

I'm definitely interested in reading the 2nd book in the series, does that answer your question?

12:17 AM  

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