Book Bust: I’m Stalling Out On The Reading Front

8 Feb
2012
Posted in: Books
By    2 Comments

After a good run of books, I’ve stalled out. I can’t seem to get through them anymore. I could blame the Salton Sea, or the sand people, or our lack of aluminum cladding, but I’m going to blame the books.

An impenetrable wall of words.

An impenetrable wall of words.

Squandering Aimlessly

There’s a lot of good stuff in this book, but I had to skim it to get through it. It’s almost comical how upbeat this book is when read during this current economic recession. It was published around the end of the last stock bubble when everybody was going to be rich.  The author travels around and looks at our relationship with money. It’s interesting but out-of-date.

SAS Survival Handbook

Lisa’s pick from before we left. We both thought it would be entertaining and useful. It’s hardly either. It’s way, way too serious. Like urine-drinking tips and such. Not really applicable to us.

Resurrection by David Remnick

I was pretty jazzed to read about the dissolution of the USSR and the rise of Yeltsin, honestly. But maybe I’m not actually a Russian history buff. This is the second Russian history book I’ve bailed on in my life … or maybe the fifth.

The Intelligent Investor

This was a recommendation from a buddy, and I appreciate the pick, but I guess I’m more interested in books about speculative investing than books about boring old smart investing. I’m going to try and get through this one again soon, but it’s a bear. It’s significantly less exciting than you’d think. The author fails to blame politicians for anything, and he seems to accept the fate of boom and bust markets — he even explains why they happen.

Loneliness and Time: The Story of British Travel Writing

I’m stalled in this one. After a really strong opening, it’s just a slog now that recalls the lives of various British travel writers. The beginning was really, really interesting. Not so much anymore.

Notre Dame of Paris by Allan Temko

At some point, and perhaps I’ve reached it, one knows as much as one is capable of knowing about a single cathedral. The beginning of the book was an amazing portrait of Paris as a growing medieval city. Temko even explains Paris’s growth with parallels to Chicago’s growth. But now I’m stuck on the iconography of the windows. Turns out, I’m not super interested in that level of detail.

This Is Your Brain On Music

As a closet wannabe rock star, I love the premise of this book — a neurological look at music — but I want a bit more. I want to know the underlying attributes of popular songs, I don’t want just example after example of one-off compositional tricks that delight listeners. Hopefully it’ll wrap up with grander ideas, but I’m stuck in the middle and the minutia.

Man Kind?

This is a wildly anti-hunting book that is pretty entertaining so far. The author proposes hunters hunting hunters in the first few pages. But, boy, it’s really anti-hunting.

In Banks We Trust by Penny Lernoux

Hello! This is Lisa with the one book I’m stuck on. I tend to be a little more picky in my book selection, but I couldn’t resist this one about the spectacular way the economy fell apart in the 80s. It’s interesting to read about the activities that spawned the current anti-money laundering, auditing, and fraud regulations, and it’s horrifying to see how history has once again repeated itself in the most recent economic crash. But reading this book makes me just want to know what’s happening NOW – what dirty ways have people found to evade the latest regulations, what’s next. And it’s quite depressing too…we’ll really never learn.

As always, there's hope.

As always, there's hope.

But there’s hope. I just read One For The Roadby Tony Horwitz, a hilarious account of the author’s beer-fueled adventures hitchhiking through Australia. A great book, but it makes you really want to drink a beer while reading it. Before that, I read At Home by Bill Bryson. It was very, very interesting as most of Bryson’s books are. This morning, I finished Around the World Single-Handed, an account of a nearly 4-year circumnavigation in the 1920s. I love sailing books.

In my sights is a book Lisa just grabbed by Edward Abbey, Abbey’s Road.  I just have to sneak it away from Lisa.

As for the others, I’m going to abandon some as soon as I find some fresh meat. Got any other recommendations?

Side note: If you follow the link and buy a copy, Amazon kicks us back some gas money. Everybody wins.

  • 3500leavitt

    I’m having the same problem recently so some ideas from the past year or two:

    11/22/63  – Stephen King’s new one, good story, maybe not as good as all the acclaim.

    Doc: A Novel – Good, not as good as her outstanding “The Sparrow”.

    Life – Much better than you would expect, especially from Keith Richards.

    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption 

    The Dirty Life – Will make you want to live on a farm.

    Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War 

    Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth

    • http://drivinginertia.com/ Paul David Olson

      I’ll be on the lookout for these.