Reading - February 2022

Falling Hard by Stacy Finz (2017)
I can't quite believe I've made it to book eight in this series, but here I am anyway. There's plenty to like about the stories, and the characters are now familiar, which is nice, and means I can overlook the similarities between novels. I get the impression that Ms. Finz is getting a bit bored herself though, as the non-romantic elements of the plot are a bit more prominent, including in this case an extended and rather out-of-place coda that's more like a mediocre crime thriller.
Hope for Christmas by Stacy Finz (2017)
This is an interesting (for relative values of "interesting") aside in these "Nugget romance" books - not actually a romance, but a closure on something that was probably intended to be merely backstory in Finding Hope - a missing child from years before the story itself. My speculation is that enough people got in touch wanting to know how it panned out, and so this: book 8½. Shorter that the other entries in the series and a bit perfunctory, but resolution for those who need it.
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (2016)
I'm not quite sure why I chose this book, as it is predictably disheartening. Intelligent people can be incredibly stupid - not just sometimes, but very, very often. Here Ronson describes how the indiscriminate, self-righteous fury of the Twitter mob has had disproportionate, real-world effects on those who happened to catch its fleeting attention. Even more depressing is the coda for this edition, which describes how the same twerps, with a complete lack of self-awareness, turned on Ronson for having the temerity to suggest (in this book) that perhaps their targets might not deserve an online lynch mob. Well and engagingly written, but, as I say, unfortunately this doesn't stop it being depressing.
What If? by Randall Munroe (2015)
Most striking this time round is a question that ask, presciently, "If everyone on the planet stayed away from each other for a couple of weeks, wouldn't the common cold be wiped out?" Turns out the answer is "no". What If? 2 is due out in September; B and I very excited.
Jews Don't Count by David Baddiel (2021)
This slim book was simultaneously an easy and hard read. Baddiel is an entertaining and acerbic companion, but the behaviour he describes is depressing. I've felt for a long time - in my usual, "I can't really be bothered to look into this properly" fashion - that the political left wing is just as intrinsically anti-Semitic as the right wing, just in a different way. This is the focus of the book: how the "progressive left" (whatever that is) dismiss Jewish concerns as unimportant or invalid, using a range of reasons. Baddiel deconstructs those arguments easily and the points he makes are irrefutable. Unfortunately that doesn't stop ideologically one-dimensional nitwits trying - the kind who can't understand how they can possibly be guilty of any kind of discrimination because, hello, they are anti-racist and anyway aren't all Jews rich white people?
The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (1988)
As always, just an astonishing vision of another world. Peerless SF.
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman (2021)
As I said about the first of Osman's books in the Thursday Murder Club series, this is a very well-written, engaging and compelling book that nevertheless has a feeling of having been precisely engineered to maximise its appeal. This time, the mechanisms feel a little more obvious and Osman leans on two characters in particular: Elizabeth, who can outwit anyone, and Bogdan, who can defeat anyone. Basically, any time the characters get into a scrape, one of these two will sort it out. It doesn't stop the book being a great read (I charged through it in about two days) but it's not quite as good as the first.

No comments:

Post a Comment