Saturday, February 13, 2010

Some books I'm reading or about to read

Another trip to Pulp Fiction, another haul of books (see my earlier trip). Coupled with some earlier purchases, my list of books to read is getting huge. Here are a few that I'm excited about:

The Political Brain, by Drew Westen - The Role of Emotions in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. Kansas, despite all reason or logic, vote strongly for the Republicans. Al Gore had all the arguments for the rational mind, but George W. Bush chuckled and appealed to the brain stem. It's baffling to most of us. Helpfully Drew Westen has done a great job of explaining how and why the Republicans have done such a great job of using emotion while their Democrat counterparts have failed to capture the hearts of American voters. I'm enjoying the history and the anecdotes, and trying to relate it to my experiences here in BC.

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov - I joined an online book club at Pajiba, and this is the first book. I just picked up the 50th anniversary edition at Pulp Fiction. I've read, more than a few times in the past half year, that Nabokov is the finest writer of this century, a crafter of the best sentences ever written. Luckily I'm not given to high expectations.

Inverting the Pyramid, by Jonathan Wilson - The History of Football Tactics. I've been excited about this book for a while, and it finally arrived in the mail the other day. I just finished Raymond Chandler's second Philip Marlowe novel, Farewell, My Lovely (which was a tad more over the top than his brilliant first novel, The Big Sleep) and I am already enjoying this change of pace. Ever wonder why central defenders are called centre-halves in England? Or how Hungarian teams could ever dominate European football? Or why most teams play a flat four at the back? I do.

The Club Dumas, by Arturo Perez-Reverte - While planning our trip to Spain (spits on ground at Spanish thieves), we wanted to find good books by Spanish authors, preferably about Barcelona. We settled on The Shadow of the Wind, a fun literary mystery that took place right around where we were staying. On the short-list was a series about a swashbuckling 17th century Spaniard, Captain Alatriste, which looked light and fun. Today I saw some books from the series, along with The Club Dumas, by the same author. I can't really say why I chose it instead, other than that it is an earlier book and sounds more serious.


Packabook - Travel Novels said...

Shadow of the Wind is a great book, and I definitely recommend reading books set in the place you are going.

Did you know Carlos Ruiz Zafon has another book set in Barcelona called 'The Angel's Game'?

Brenton said...

I do know. It's on my shelf, just haven't found the time to get into it.

I really enjoyed Shadow of the Wind, but I would hesitate to call it a great book. A fun read, perhaps. It was a little too melodramatic and the plot was too convenient.

I did enjoy reading about subway stops and streets that we had walked earlier in the day. Definitely an interesting way to get a different perspective on the places one travels.

TK said...

I've read The Club Dumas - it's a great and fascinating read. Made into an absolutely horrid movie (Polanski's The Ninth Gate. Good choices all around.

Hartley Carter said...

I have read none of these, but now I really want to read the one about the political brain. I am currently reading a compilation of Dave Barry essays. It is pretty sweet.

Brenton said...

Thanks, TK. It's the next fiction on my list.

Zo, Nina's quite enjoying the Political Brain. I had to put it down for a bit, because I have to read Lolita for a book club I'm in.

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge Nabokov and just finished reading Lolita again for a second time. I find it amazing how beautiful and compelling his writing is on such a touchy (no pun intended) subject.