Thursday, October 28, 2004

Recent commentary: Reading list

What are you reading right now?

(published 8-May-2004, Appleton Post-Crescent)

"The Second World War" - John Keegan. An excellent writer but in the passive-voice-is-king academic style. No direct punch to the narrative but powerful withal. "Eight Skilled Gentlemen" - Barry Hughart. The third volume in the woefully short Master Li and Number Ten Ox series of fantasy novels. Think Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson having the adventures of Indiana Jones in ancient China. Wonderfully sophisticated comedy, too. "The Great Books" - David Denby. The pushing-50 author, a movie critic for 'New York' magazine, went back to his alma mater, Columbia University, to re-take the 'Great Books' course. Denby lived a fantasy I've had for some time; and he writes beautifully about those incredible books. "Hacking Exposed" - McClure, Scambray, and Kurtz. Hair-raising exposé of what breaking into computer systems is all about -- and why no computer is safe. "Farmer Giles of Ham" - Tolkien. Marvelous medieval fairy tale complete with dragons and giants. "The Skeptic" - Terry Teachout. The definitive biography of America's most trenchant, acerbic, and iconoclastic critic, H. L. Mencken. And, yes, I have bookmarks in them all.


Susan said...

I read one book at a time -- and almost always for the sheer pleasure of reading, not to learn anything particular. I'm reading "The Silent" -- the story of a young man writing about his Civil War experiences (he was 13 in 1962 and seriously traumatized in his first encounter) -- anyway, after the war, he can't speak -- so he writes the story down.

Steve Erbach said...


You meant "Vietnam war," yes?