Friday, March 07, 2008

Pmomm's reading list - May through June

Here's part two of the reading list. Previously, I had tried to mark re-reads with an asterix and, as many pointed out, I didn't quite catch all of the, this time around, if you see it twice, it was a book that I read twice. I tend to do that with books I either love or don't understand. A second reading helps me commit the parts I loved to memory and take a whack at what I didn't get the first run through.

Same guidelines as the last post: title, author. # of pages. Rating out of 5. Anything in italics is a commentary.
43. "The World According to Garp", Irving. 720 pages. 4/5. (Easy read. Subtle humor.)
44. "Control of Nature", McPhee. 272 pages. 3/5. (If you enjoy exploring random subjects in great detail, then John McPhee is an author you should check out. My friend Michelle turned me onto him. This book is about the attempts to control the Mississippi River.)
45. "Assembling California", McPhee. 224 pages. 4/5. (If you have any interest in the geology of California, then you need to read this book. Just make sure you have access to a good geology text so you can understand all of the terminology. McPhee writes "smart". He doesn't throw out terminology just to make the book more readable. One gets the distinct impression that he doesn't really care about the mass market.)
46. "Basin and Range", McPhee. 216 pages. 4/5. (He examines road cuts on I-80.)
47. "Monkey Girl", Humes. 400 pages. 2/5.
48. "Facts and Mysteries of Elemental Particle Physics", Veltman. 348 pages. 3/5. (I'm sure I would've scored it higher if I had the inteligence and chops to read it without interuption. As it was, I was reading with a dictionary by my side.)
49. "Q is for Quantum", Gribbon. 542 pages. 5/5. (I truly, truly loved this book. It was a perfect balance between educating the reader and pushing your capacity to think outside the box. This book explains the theories scientists currently hold about cosmology and astrophysics. But, it's not dry!)
50. "Russia: the Once and Future Empire", Longworth. 416 pages. 3/5
51. "Autobiography of Henry the 8th: With Notes By His Fool Will Somers", Margaret George. 944 pages. 3/5 This guy was a class-A narcissist. But, I did appreciate the history of the feuds with the Tudors.
52. "Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles.", Margaret George. 870 pages. 4/5 You can't very well read about Henry VII and NOT read about Mary. I think, between the two books, I have a far greater understanding of Elizabeth...I'm not sure I'd ever considered her in context to those who went before her and who she gave sanctuary to.
53. Quest for Anastasia: Solving the Mystery of the Last Romanovs, John Kleir. 246 pages. 1/5
Holy-assumptions, Batman!! This book really, really pushed the bounds of non-fiction. In fact, there's so much speculation that it's probably more deserving of a fictional placement. Read the next book if you want a clear and truly historical perspective.
54. " The Fate of the Romanovs", Greg King. 672 pages. 4.5/5. Wonderful, wonderful book. Despite the length and the potential to be "dry", I found this a real page turner. It held me spellbound. P1 had been asking me questions about Imperial Russia and this book helped us, both, learn more.
55. "Atlas Shrugged", Ayn Rand. 1200 pages. I know I'm supposed to like this book...but, it wasn't my cup of tea. In fact, it took me several weeks to read it as I had to keep laying it aside. Therefore, I'm not giving it a rating because I probably would need to read it again to give it a fair go.
56. "A Passage to India", Forester. 372 pages. 5/5 This book made me cry. The writing is beautiful and provacative. This would be the perfect book for a rainy day and a kettle of tea.
57. "Women in Love", DH Lawrence. 592 pages (Cambridge Version). 4/5. Follow up to "The Rainbow". I strongly recommend the Cambridge version - the notes are great.


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I had to endure reading a Passage to India in school and watch the movie. It drained any enjoymet out of the film.

By the way You have been awarded

Perpetual Beginner said...

If you made it through Atlas Shrugged at all, you've done better with it than I did. I ended up chalking it up as a "great book" that I simply didn't care for.

Q is for Quantum just got dumped into my Amazon cart though. Sounds right up my alley!

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I think you'll really like "Q". I was so surprised by how easy it was to read.

Yeah...Atlas Shrugged just wasn't my thing. I don't know if I was in the wrong "mood" or if it was simply because it was so long (and at times repetitive)? I've read other things by Rand and liked her work... this book just didn't do it for me. Ah well...that happens occasionally.

Nicholas said...

Strange, I really enjoyed The Autobiography of Henry VIII but I just couldn't get into Mary Queen of Scots. maybe I should give it another try.

Katie said...

I actually read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead years ago...I was wildly unimpressed by the writing and I really struggled to get through them. I also disagreed with the philosophy of them, so I was angry at the writing and them content...I did not enjoy the experience. Still, I decided to hammer through both to see if all the hype was justified. I know that they're considered to be Great Books but I was so unimpressed that I personally cannot consider them such. I'm a compulsive reader (fiction or nonfiction) and have been my whole life, so for me to struggle through a book is very unusual.

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. I'm currently reading The Nine Parts of Desire: The Secret World of Muslim Women. It's a fantastic read, very well written, and a great examination and explanation of Muhammed's life, the Koran, and the culture of Islam, especially women. I've wanted to read up on Islam for quite awhile now and this has been an excellent source of information on the tenets of Islam as well as their interpretation. I highly recommend it!

Summer Squirrel, FCD said...

I attempted to read "The World According to Garp" in HS when my mother took it away from me and suggested I read the bible instead. Thus I am now an atheist!

I forced myself to read "Atlas Shrugged" about 5 years ago. It was tough but well worth the effort.

Laura said...

I did not enjoy Atlas Shrugged either . . . it was very tough to get through, and not worth it, IMO!

A tip for tracking books you've read (and other things, like movies, etc.) is a cool site called . No, I don't work for them or anything, but I am a little wacky about liking to document stuff, and it's fun to use. I think there's a way to connect up from that site to Blogger, but Im not sure. Anyway, just a suggestion.

Enjoy reading here regularly, but rarely come out of lurk mode to comment, so "hi' and thanks!

Psychodiva said...

I didn't like Atlas Shrugged - both for the way it was written and the philosophy contained in it.

SEan- I also didn't like a Passage to India for the same reasons lol:)

Just as an aside-and thinking of Elizabeth - while on my sick-bed yesterday I did a marathon 'Elizabeth' dvd watching- both of the films- the first one I had seen before but the second i hadn't- adoerd them both! bot one thing stillnarks me- why o why did they give mary Queen of Scots a Scots accent???? I'm thinking it was to make her easily recognisable to the audience? great films otherwise :)

pickychicky1979 said...

The Romanov books sound really good.

Liesl said...

You shouldn't have to read or like Atlas Shrugged. At least, not in my opinion. Objectivism certainly seems seductive when it is presented but it can never work for human society and ends up being a silly foray into what the world would be like if there were only two types of people: winners and losers.

Joy said...

ktI'm reading Jim McPhee, based on your recommendation. It's very nice. The words roll over me like water: I think geology has some of the most amazing lingo of any discipline.

geosyncline....... Ordovician...... discontinuity..... oolites..... magnetometer..... angular unconformity...

I'm hearing these words in my dreams.