See, this is what happens when two nerds get married and have little boys.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What Denise read LAST week

We were in Alaska last week, which meant plenty of fun time, family, mosquitoes, and Kindle time, but no internet. So here's what I read/ am reading.

Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card. This is the sequel to Ender's Game, which I have never read (too much CIP-- Children In Peril-- to make comfortable reading for yours truly), but which James assures me is fantastic. Speaker for the Dead is quite readable on its own, but then, James had already told me what happened in Ender's Game. Either reading EG or giving its Wikipedia page a read is recommended. Speaker is a murder mystery/sci-fi/xenoanthropology study all in one-- and it's very very good. A+!

Xenocide is the next book in the series. It's also good, but I'm not very far into it yet.

I'm also working on What Would the Founders Do, by Richard Brookhiser. He writes for National Review, one of my long-time favorites, so I had high hopes for this one. The fact that I'm still trying to get through it should tell you guys something. I was hoping for a fair bit of Constitutional analysis combined with Founder-lore... but this is not it. There were what, 70-odd founders? The book's title is a faulty premise-- about the ONLY thing that the Founders agreed on were the two documents they signed-- the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Everything else is up for grabs, and good heavens, they grabbed. To my mind, the only way to answer any question like "what would they do?" is to go back to the Declaration and Constitution and what they said about, and work from there. But Brookhiser (who had listed something like 30 questions so far) simply takes anecdotes from a Founder or two's lives which purportedly answer the question (sometimes this works, sometimes not). That answers what a given Founder would have done (maybe), but it can hardly be said to answer what the group as a whole would have done. Some of the stories are neat, and I'm glad to have read them, buuuut... WWFD earns a solid C.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Denise is reading this week...

More Sherlock Holmes! His Last Bow, to be precise. I'd seen that earlier and mistaken it for the story in which Sherlock "dies",so I didn't bother to get it as I'd already read it not long ago. Serves me right-- there's some neat stories in there. Incidentally, Arthur Conan Doyle grew to hate writing Sherlock Holmes stories-- hence him killing Sherlock by having Moriarty dump him over the edge of Reichenbach Falls. Sherlock was so popular that Doyle was forced to bring him back in not just one, but four volumes. Two were collections of short stories, and I believe the last two novels were written post-Reichenbach as well, including my favorite Sherlock story of all, The Hound of the Baskervilles. There's no beating The Hound for sheer creepiness in the Holmes canon.

I also read Do the Work-- an interesting (and, be warned, occasionally profane) treatise on just getting something done. I quite enjoyed the read-- and if I had a smidgen of artistic talent, I'd draw/paint/pastel the opening image and hang it on my fridge for motivation. Maybe I'll commission Amanda...