This is something of a catch-up post. I’ve been slowly reading The Dictator’s Handbook, an impressively cynical analysis of political science, and had hoped to finish it by Election Day so I could post an amusingly-timed review. Between the hurricane and my own fatigue of the topic, though, I’ve just been plodding. I need to finish it up, though, because I’ve had three library holds come in simultaneously, as well as two books arrive in the mail. Oh, and one of my preorders (Kindle) was just delivered.
In read-but-not-reviewed, during the power outage I finished re-reading Prelude to Foundation and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The latter is noteworthy because it’s actually the British edition. I didn’t realize how attached I was to the distinctive font and illustrations of the first American editions until I began reading that one. I bought it to see if the vocabulary was very much different in that one, but the only thing I noticed was “jumper” instead of ‘sweater” — and I don’t even know if the American first edition even used sweater! Prelude was a re-read from twelve years ago, and this time I noticed how Asimov deliberately did more world-building and sociological commentary, creating distinct regional cultures on Trantor and using it to more firmly tie the Foundation and Empire books together. New to me was David McCullough’s The Pioneers, a history of the settlement of the Ohio-Indiana region which focused on a couple of families who were instrumental in establishing its institutions. It was more biographical than topical, I thought, without much dwelling on the challenges of frontier life. Perfectly enjoyable, but not as stellar as I expect from McCullough.
And what’s up the pike? Well, I’m reading The Dictator’s Handbook and a charmingly-titled book called Un— Yourself, which mostly consists of “Stop whining and do something about it”-type advice. In holds, I’ve got Palaces for the People, on “social infrastructure”; Blood, Bones, and Butter which I will leave to your imagination because it’s more amusing that way; and Talking to Strangers. Firefly Generations is an ebook preorder that just zapped its way onto my phone, and two new books for the Pile of Doom are Big Roads (a history of the interstates) and Whole Earth Discipline, the latter a title on sustainable living that involves big cities and nuclear energy.
It’s a good thing I still don’t have internet access at home, because I wouldn’t have a chance at tackling all this were I to be distracted by youtube!