Recent Reading

It was about this time last year that I got behind in reviewing what I had read recently and gave up and simply posted a list of recent reads. Must be the time of year. I’ve definitely been having trouble getting through any book; I have tons of things half read, and I’m very frustrated by that. I used to read a lot on the weekends, but the last couple years we’ve been so busy that most of my reading is done at night before I go to bed, and I’m irritated by the stop and go effect.

Chicago from the Air
by Marcella Colombo, Gianfranco Peroncini
Crappy book. Very difficult to read, and not easy to get a good idea of what the whole of Chicago looks like from above. Could have been much better done.

Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft
by Simon Houpt and Julian Radcliffe
Non-Fiction
Cool book on major art thefts throughout history, and how the current inflated price of fine art drives recent thefts.

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Fiction
“Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax’s novels. The man calls himself Laín Coubert-the name of the devil in one of Carax’s novels. As he grows up, Daniel’s fascination with the mysterious Carax links him to a blind femme fatale with a “porcelain gaze,” Clara Barceló; another fan, a leftist jack-of-all-trades, Fermín Romero de Torres; his best friend’s sister, the delectable Beatriz Aguilar; and, as he begins investigating the life and death of Carax, a cast of characters with secrets to hide.”
I took this on the cruise with me and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Poe Shadow
by Matthew Pearl
Fiction
A young lawyer in 1849 Richmond sets out do discover why his hero Edgar Allen Poe died under strange and unfortunate circumstances. His investigation confounds and disappoints his family and friends, and eventually lands him in jail for murder. But his instinctive sense that something about Poe’s death wasn’t quite right leads him on. I enjoyed the book, but there are definitely sections that dragged, and I found myself as exasperated at the hero as his own family at times.

A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder–How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place
by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman
Non-Fiction
As noted in the Amazon description — “that organizational efforts tend to close off systems to random, unplanned influences that might lead to breakthroughs.” They have some very valid points, and very entertaining examples; the book was definitely worth reading.

The Mysterious Benedict Society
by Trenton Lee Stewart and Carson Ellis
Young Adult Fiction
“After Reynie Muldoon responds to an advertisement recruiting “gifted children looking for special opportunities,” he finds himself in a world of mystery and adventure. The 11-year-old orphan is one of four children to complete a series of challenging and creative tasks, and he, Kate, Constance, and Sticky become the Mysterious Benedict Society.”
I really enjoyed this kids book, it was very inventive and reminded me a lot of one of my favorite books from childhood – The Westing Game.

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