since we last met.
Stalingrad-Antony Beevor: For the second time. It rocks. Highly recommended.
Seabiscuit: An American Legend-Laura Hillenbrand: Amazing. I have no interest in horse racing but this book is captivating. Tom Smith is one of the most profoundly American characters on paper. Rewatching the movie, which had surprised me with its excellence, was somehow lacking. Still the Smith character is inspiring to me.
Ripley's Game-Patricia Highsmith: Very well crafted. Interesting without having a catch. Compelling without having a hero. Makes one long for Europe. The movie was garbage. The only time I can recall wanting to smack Malkovich of the screen. The plot was driven by cell phone conversations, decidedly outside the sharp tone of the book.
The Talented Mr. Ripley-Patricia Highsmith: I re-read this after finishing Ripley's Game. Better the second time. Maybe it is being in the middle of writing a novel that makes me respect Highsmith more. She is so right-on and precise. Each chapter is like a cheap, furnished, room that you rent and when first entering worry that it doesn't have anything you need, but you never figure out what else you could have put in it. She writes the kind of books that you make excuses to yourself saying that John Grisham writes when you get caught with his books on tape.
The Map that Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology- Simon Winchester: What a rad book. Good writers, Intelligent people, can make you care about something that you really have no motivating interest in. Horse racing for instance, or geology. I plan to wirte a longer essay about this book shortly. It is inspiring and terrifying. It harkens bakc to the odd disharmony I felt when I read Endeavor and Joe Gould's Secret back to back. Unsettling to read about a genius who can't get his shit together and anytime he does, he are thwarted by their betters. I must go and see this map.