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Book Coveting!

December 15, 2008

While wandering around Borders…
Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sacks: I’ve enjoyed all the Sacks I’ve read, and I’ve been looking for a good pop science book that address chemistry…isn’t it weird how there are so many more about biology and physics? (If you have any chemistry book suggestions, let me know!) And it’s a memoir of a British childhood during the war at boarding school…something I always enjoy in a novel.

The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China’s Most Exotic Animal by Vicki Croke: Borders has an animal section! I love animals, but I don’t read about them very often, and I’d like to change that (Jeane’s blog is a great resource). This one immediately caught my eye: a larger-than-life 1930s New York socialite is the focus of this non-fiction, written by a journalist (I have a big soft spot for books written by journalists!).

Flatland: a Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott: I’m a total nerd, so even though math was never my favourite subject, the idea of this book is just adorable. It’s a novella based on geometry set in a two-dimensional world whose inhabitants think that’s all there is until one of them discovers a new dimension. How can you resist that?

Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron: I totally want to travel the Silk Road some day, so this travelogue by an Asian expert who did just that sounds fascinating!

A Mercy by Toni Morrison: do I really need to explain my coveting of this one? That’s what I thought.

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan: I think at this point we all know my fascination for things diplomatic! And there’s something about a classic tragedy-where the hero is doomed from the start with one, fatal flaw-that really catches my attention. Combine the two, and I’m all over it!

Cool book list: 50 Best Ever Summer Holiday Books: almost all of the books on this list that I’ve read, I loved (Wild Swans, Possession, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Warden, Northern Lights/Golden Compass, and The Cairo Trilogy) and there’s only one that I actually disliked (An Instance of the Fingerpost…one of the only books I abandoned last year-I just hated the first two narrators so much I couldn’t bring myself to continue). There are also some authors I know I love-Wodehouse, Orwell, Dumas. It’s easily one of the most eclectic reading lists I’ve seen, which makes me all the more tempted to work through it!

Danielle did a great round-up of the best of lists popping up everywhere. Their mere existence exhausts me, but then when I go visit it seems like the same few books are everyone’s favourites. I always find this mildly sketchy.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2008 12:50 pm

    Awesome books! You know I still haven’t read Beloved! I really want to read A Mercy, but I need to check that one out first! And I love that summer reading list. It really is one of the best ones I’ve seen!

  2. December 15, 2008 1:12 pm

    Wandering around a bookstore can be a very dangerous thing! It’s a reminder of all I want to read but will only get to a fractions of them. These finds sound interesting.

  3. December 15, 2008 2:05 pm

    I’ve also been trying to find some “pop” chemistry books as you put it because I don’t recall a thing from high school. I did some serious browsing through LibraryThing trying to find highly recommended ones. Uncle Tungsten made my list as did these: Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny LeCouteur; Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World by Nick Lane; and Hydrogen: The Essential Element by John S. Rigden. There are a few others, but I admit that Napoleon’s Buttons is the most intriguing to me. I haven’t read any of them but if you do, or any one else does for that matter, I’ll be eager to hear your thoughts.

    I read Flatland years ago and really liked it! I actually was thinking about reading it again. Now that you mention it, I think I will! It’s available on Project Gutenberg here but it’s easier to read with the geometric illustrations.

  4. December 15, 2008 2:27 pm

    I actually have Shadow of the Silk Road. Have I read it? No. But someday!

  5. December 15, 2008 5:08 pm

    When I was working at Borders, Shadow of the Silk Road was always catching my eye. I really should get my hands on a copy of that…

  6. December 15, 2008 5:09 pm

    Interesing list. I loved Uncle Tungsten too. I just received a copy of A Mercy to review for LibraryThing so I have that to look forward to. Funny, I loved An Instance of the Fingerpost; it actually was narrated from 2 or 3 more people’s perspectives as you read on. One of them the killer and all of them fascinating to see what lies or truths they each told and why, while involved in the story. It was not an easy read language wise for some. But I didn’t finish Love in the Time of Cholera, no sympathy for the main character and I really don’t like that macho attitude. I will finish it one day since everyone else seems to like it, perhaps it redeems itself. It just shows how different we all are in our tastes and reactions. Happy reading.

  7. December 15, 2008 5:48 pm

    The Margaret Macmillan one truly is worth the while. She is also the great(?)-granddaughter of Lloyd George, one of the main players in the book. I will confess that my head began to spin with the complexity of it all – imagine the difficulties faced by the participants. Even if they had been entirely selfless and altruistic, it would have been simply impossible to achieve results that would have satisfied everyone involved. Trying to answer the national aspirations of peoples they barely knew anything of was daunting, at the least. You come out of it with a vivid appreciation of the complexities of geopolitics, if nothing else.

  8. December 15, 2008 6:03 pm

    I’ve got The Lady and the Panda on my TBR list, too and I found it the same way you did, browsing in a bookstore. Thanks for the link!

  9. December 15, 2008 6:30 pm

    Flatland is one of my husband’s old favorites, but I haven’t read it (and he’s an engineer, so I suppose he would like it, if it’s math-oriented).

  10. December 15, 2008 8:00 pm

    Ooh ooh! I’ve read Flatland!!! It was fun, and I think you’re one of the only people I’ve ever seen mention it.

  11. December 16, 2008 6:20 am

    Oh Eva, what a fun, fun post! And what an eclectic pile of books. Hope a few of them end up under your tree this year! :)

  12. December 16, 2008 10:17 am

    Chris, you definitely need to read Beloved!

    Chain Reader, it can be dangerous. But my library has all of these, so at least I can save some money!

    Rebecca, thanks for the suggestions. :) I’m glad you liked Flatland!

    Softdrink, ohhh-I’m jealous. Of course, maybe I should just enjoy my own tbr stacks. ;)

    Megan, it’s very catchy isn’t it?

    Sandra, I’m so jealous you have a review copy of A Mercy!! As far as An Instance of the Fingerpost, I read through at least two of the perspectives, and I think I started on the third one, before I just couldn’t take it any more. Thanks for the visit. :)

    Janet, thanks for letting me know!

    Jeane, I thought of you as soon as I saw it. :)

    Nancy, that’s so funny! I’ve been dating an engineer, and he has such a different way of thinking about the world than me.

    Andi, awesome!

    Debi, thanks. :D I don’t know if I’m getting any books for Christmas this year…usually people ask for a list of possibilities if that’s what they’re going to do. But we’ll see!

  13. December 17, 2008 9:18 am

    I haven’t had a chance to wander around the bookstore in a while – I should remedy that.

    You found some very interesting books. Books, I probably would have skipped right over – well, the more sciency ones :)

  14. December 19, 2008 10:40 pm

    Iliana, wandering around bookstores is the best. :) I’m so excited to be home w/ a Barnes and Noble…the Borders in Monterey just wasn’t quite as good. I kind of push myself to check out more science books since they’re not my default stuff!


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