December 30, 2002

The Great Purge Continues

I'm still (slowly) going through the book collection; here are some more of the victims.

How to Live with a Neurotic Dog, by Stephen Baker. Funny book; we no longer have a dog.

A Treasury of American Anecdotes, edited by B.A. Botkin. A friend gave me this many years ago, rightly guessing it's something I'd find interesting. Unfortunately, the cover is more interesting than the contents; once was enough.

This is True: Deputy Kills Man With Hammer, by Randy Cassingham. "This is True" was, and perhaps still is, a sort of proto-weblog dealing with odd news items. I bought the book because I used to work with Randy Cassingham.

The Long Valley, by John Steinbeck. I went through almost all of Steinbeck some years ago, and I've concluded that when he's being funny he's really, really good, and when he's being serious, he's really, really serious. This is one of the serious ones.

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, by Joan Ryan. The world remembers Nadia Comeneci, Kim Zmeskal, and Dominique Dawes as truly outstanding gymnasts. They were also the product of a training system that tested hundreds of little girls to physical destruction to produce that one star capable of a perfect 10. This is an expose about that process in elite gymnastics, and the related (though less severe) problem in elite figure skating. I read it with interest when it was new. But it's a little too strident to be pleasant reading (even if the topic lent itself to that); and besides they've adjusted the age limits upwards precisely to discourage this kind of abuse.

Previn, by Helen Drees Ruttencutter. I think we inherited this book from my parents.

Sam Walton: Made in America, by Sam Walton with John Huey. I don't think we bought this one; perhaps it was a gift?

Shakespeare's Insults: Educating Your Wit, by Wayne F. Hill and Cynthia J. Ottchen. Some things are simply better in theory than in practice, and this is one of them.

Children First, by Penelope Leach. This book is subtitled, "What our society must do--and is not doing--for our children today." Jane and I will take care of our own children, thank you.

A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. A lot of people are very fond of this book. I do not understand why. I'll grant you, the writing is good, and there are some funny bits. But on the whole, this is one rollercoaster I think I'll skip next time.

The Citadel of the Autarch, and The Urth of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe. I went through a real Gene Wolfe phase many years ago; it was an era when I confused obscurity with depth. Wolfe is an amazingly gifted writer, but he no longer floats my boat. Plus, these are hardcovers, and they take up too much space.

Posted by Will Duquette at December 30, 2002 04:19 PM