January 11, 2007

The Catch-up

I've intended to keep a book log for a bit more than a year now, and that road's nicely paved by now. What's kept me from actually following through is a combination of laziness (shocker!) and not knowing where to start. Hopefully, by doing a quick recap of what I've read in the past few weeks, I can get a little bit of inertia.

So for now, here's the (very, very brief) recaps:

The Forever War and Camouflage by Joe Haldeman

Both are quick reads dealing with war, violence and communicaion. If it weren't for a rather male oriented view of women in military service, The Forever War would be a signifcantly better novel, entirely due to the ambiguity at the end of the war. As it is, every time the problematic part of The Forever War came up, I focused on it a little too much, especially considering it had little to do with the plot of the novel.

1491 by Charles C. Mann

An overview of current thought on the Indian civilizations in terms of population size, and technological and cultural complexities before and slightly after Columbus. Well researched and very clearly presented with nice rhetorical touches, this is a really excellent book.

The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney

The title says a lot about the book, but Mooney's pretty balanced in his approach to the topic, noting instances of Democratic abuses of science and scientific phrasings. Plus, he talks about doing shots. Party on, Chris!

Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut by James Marcus

A light, entertaining read. Marcus seems to be trying to make his time at Amazon a little bit more literary, or possibly he's using words and phrasings that he knew wouldn't fly too well in short reviews, because the book is peppered with nicely erudite sentences that try just a little too hard. Fun though.

Jumper by Steven Gould

This is the precursor to Reflex which I read about a year ago. Davy Rice discovers he can teleport ("jump") when he's 17 and awainting a whooping via his dad's belt buckle. The story then traces his attempts to escape from the shadow if the trauma of his life. I very much enjoyed the book, reading it all last night.