In the interim, I will grace you with some of the better books I've read these past 6 months. They're in no particular order other than "when read":
- Takeover, Charlie Savage. The first book of the new year, it's a distressing look at the return of the imperial presidency and the subsequent damage to our democracy.
- See No Evil, Robert Baer. The inspiration for George Clooney's Syriana. Baer is a former CIA operative and I think he's still too enamored with the "adventure" of covert ops but it is an interesting glimpse at the inept workings of our "intelligence" services.
- Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi. You'd wish someone in the Bush administration would read this in the hopes that they might reconsider attacking the country.
- Gentlemen of the Road, Michael Chabon. Reminiscent of Fritz Leiber's Fahfrd/Grey Mouser and it involves the Khazars. Hard to go wrong, and Chabon doesn't.
- The Basic 8, Daniel Handler. I knew I liked Handler after reading Adverbs but this is his best novel so far.
- The Age of Lincoln, Orville Burton, and 1858, Bruce Chadwick. I found both books very interesting because they illuminated a period of American history with which I was not very familiar.
- Discovering God, Rodney Stark. Read the first 2/3s of the book for his insights on religious belief but you can skip that last 1/3, which is a screed about the supposed superiority of Christianity over all other religions. (If interested, you can read my Amazon review here.)
- Seeing Red, Frank Beddor. The second book in Beddor's reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll is as good as the first; I look forward to the final book.
- The Day of Battle, Rick Atkinson. Having read this as well as Ronald Spector's In the Ruins of Empire and Mosier's reinterpretations of World Wars 1 and 2, I'm amazed we won either war. Fortunately, neither Germany nor Japan commanded the sheer resources the U.S. did.
- Weight, Jeannette Winterson. A reinterpretation of the Atlas myth that suggests that many of the "weights" we labor under are created by ourselves.
- Worshipping the Myths of World War II, Edward Wood, Jr. A cri de coeur from a man who's been through the hell of war, and wants us to understand the dangers of glamourizing such insanity.
- Night of Knives, Ian Esslemont. Steven Erikson's partner in the world of the Malazan Empire. He's not as compelling or assured an author as Erikson but he shows promise.
- Matter, Iain Banks. Bank's latest Culture novel. Up there in the top five, though Consider Phlebas and Player of Games remain my favorites.
- The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie. A disturbing fantasy novel. Brutal and realistic, I'm not sure what to think of it yet.
I'm still contemplating the Lord of the Rings v. LotR (the movie) review; perhaps for June.