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Books read 3rd quarter 2012 - The inexplicable charisma of the rival [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Books read 3rd quarter 2012 [Oct. 30th, 2012|11:02 pm]
Just me.
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1) Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel (graphic novel) - not as amusing as her Dykes to Watch Out For comics and more introspective than her Fun Home, but still worth reading. Read Fun Home first if you haven't already, though. recommend: yes.

2) Solomon Time : an unlikely quest in the South Pacific by Will Randall (2003) Memoir of an English schoolteacher who gets suckered into administering the estate of a post-colonial sugar baron with the directive to go to the Solomon Islands and do something sustainable and income- producing for the former plantation workers. Trying to deal with South Pacific bureaucracy and lack of interest in entreprenuership is a common theme in books like this, but this one is sweet rather than cynical.recommend: yes.

3) Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings- second memoir by the Jeopardy champion. Okay, but nothing amazing. Nice but forgettable read. Good coverage of the national geography bee. recommend: sure, I guess.

4) Fielding's the World's Most Dangerous Places by Robert Young Pelton (1997)- Offbeat travel book telling you all about what's going on in Osetia, the Diaoyu Islands, and disputed Muslim territories, but published before 9-11 changed everything. Depressing but enlightening. Most recent edition appears to be from 2003 and is no longer published by Fielding (which appears to have collapsed as a travel guide publisher shortly after this was published). Dated and sensationalistic but interesting look into places most of us will never go.

Funny story about this book: I bought it used in like 2007 or 2008 and had been reading tiny little bits of it and putting it aside when something I wanted to read more crossed my path, until suddenly I'd been reading it for 4 years and was only 1/3 of the way through it. I solved this problem and finally finished it by bringing it on the plane to Fiji with me and having it be the only book I owned for my first week here. When I finished it, I noticed the bookmark I was using for it was an old Seattle PL hold slip with my pre-marriage name from 2008. recommend: yes, though mostly for the schadenfreude of "there are worse places you could be travelling".

5) The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures - other editions subtitled: Encounters with Survivalists, Porn Stars, Alien Killers, and Ike Turner which will give you an idea of what to expect. writer is son of famed travel writer Paul Theroux. more like a collection of Rolling stone type profiles of oddballs than a travel guide. Still, amusing.recommend: yes.

6) Even the Smallest Crab Has Teeth: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories: Volume Four: Asia and the Pacific (Peace Corps at 50) by Jane Albritton (2011) - I have not read the previous 3 volumes, but this one has lots of South pacific content so I enjoyed it. Glad that my time in a developing country is spent working in a real job rather than living in a bure and sleeping on a mat, but the culture clash stories are great. recommend: enthusiastic yes.

fiction:

1)The Walking Dead: Compendium One (graphic novel) - 1088 pages that diverges enough from the TV series that sprung from it that it keeps me guessing. Now I want to read the next volume, but I doubt it can be obtained in Fiji for a reasonable price. the TV station here is about to start showing Season one, so that's a good sign that the American shows they syndicate here are getting better. then again, they also show the A-team and the Dukes of Hazzard.

2) Codex by Lev Grossman (2005) Sounds like a DiVinci Code ripoff but is actually about obscure Medieval manuscripts and scholars. From the guy that wrote The Magicians (which I liked). Apparently heavily influenced by the Voynich Manuscript. recommend: yes.

Also currently reading a bunch of Lonely Planet guidebooks, fijian phrasebooks, etc. But I don't think these really count as books read.
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