Thursday, May 2, 2013

Always More Than I Remember

I haven't made a book list post since early March. I really thought I had read only one or two books but when I went to check it turned out to be 11. Not bad.

  • Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties by Lucy Moore
    • I had high hopes for this book. I watch "Boardwalk Empire" and I watched the Ken Burns documentary about Prohibition so I had a certain familiarity with the topic.
    • This is one of those books that is not newly researched but rather a narrative based on other sources. I hate these kind of books. (I know I read one a few months back that used Wikipedia as a source!)
    • Lots of mistakes too. One quick example: In the narrative body an actress is referred to as "Mary Miles Minton" but in the index at the end she is named correctly as "Mary Miles Minter".
  • The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War and Genius as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
    • Fun fact: the author's parents are named Gene and Jean Kean!
    • Interesting book about DNA by the same author of The Disappearing Spoon, another fun book about the chemical elements.
  • I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies by Jeanine Basinger
    • Really interesting when you have seen the movie she's referring to but not so interesting when you haven't seen it.
  • Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik & Monica Murphy
    • Totally fascinating book about rabies. The book posits that werewolves, vampires and zombies in literature all sprang from the terror of rabies, a horrifying and incurable disease for almost all of its history.
  • The Wonderful Future That Never Was: Flying Cars, Mail Delivery by Parachute and Other Predictions from the Past by the Editors of "Popular Science" Magazine
    • A compilation of pictures and articles from "Popular Science" through the 1960s.
  • What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell
    • A compilation of articles Gladwell wrote for "The New Yorker".
    • My favorite articles were about ketchup versus mustard and the history of hair dye and advertising.
  • The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver
    • Hmm, in hindsight, I am not even sure I finished this book: I remember NOTHING about it.
  • The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
    • Takes place in New York City in the 1870s in the slums and brothels of the time. Supposedly there was a belief that a man could be cured of syphilis (or whatever ailment) if he had sex with a virgin. This book is about the girls in a brothel that specializes in this. The ending kind of fizzles out so I ended up disappointed with it.
  • Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
    • This might be the start of a book series. It's about a society where people die and are soon reincarnated in a newborn. They grow up with all memories of their prior lives and have done so for thousands of years. Then someone dies but the baby born is a brand new soul. Society freaks out.
  • Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
    • This is the first book in a new young adult series about a Victorian era finishing school where the girls are taught, um, etiquette and espionage. LOVED IT! I really enjoyed the author's other series The Parasol Protectorate.
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King
    • Time travel story where a man goes back to 1958 and plans to stop Oswald from assassinating Kennedy 5 years later. Really enjoyed this one despite the heft of the book. My wrists are still sore from holding it up; THIS is what Kindles are for!
I started --- but didn't finish --- The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend and 1493: Uncovering the new World Columbus Created. They were actually both extremely interesting and I will pick them up again at a future time.

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