Flight of the Arghs

I’m really not posting for any huge reason, other than I’m on edge tonight for some odd reason and figured this would serve as a distraction.  Yeah, I don’t know.

So I’ve sat through two anemic Royals games, where they hit poorly, then made mistakes to take themselves out of reach of pulling back into each game.  Same old same old.

And here is my reading list:

1. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon;  One of the perks of working in a bookstore is that publishers will send advance reader copies to our general manager.  Well one of those advance copies was the latest from Pulitzer-prize winner Chabon (for 2001’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay).  Set in the Sitka district of the hypothetically temporary homeland for Jews (determined by FDR) in Alaska, this novel follows Detective Meyer Landsman as he investigates a black-listed murder that takes him into the depths of the Jewish mob underworld.  It’s a typical noir mystery but with Chabon’s esoteric prose pushing the action, it’d be similar to comparing frozen mashed potatoes to mom’s.  Sometimes the special touch makes a world of difference.

2.  The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins; The famed British biologist channels Chaucer as he tells the story of evolution going backwards chronologically.  Most fascinating are his conclusions about our relations to chimps, gorillas and other great apes, and the sheer immensity of diversity over eons of time.  Each “generation” gets to tell their tale that guides the reader closer and closer to our origins (and your cat’s, your dog’s, that bird in the tree across the street and those weird turtles in Madagascar).

3.  Finn by Jon Clinch;  In a highly ambitious move, Clinch reimagines Twain’s Great American Novel (The Adventures of Huck Finn) from the vantage point of Huck’s dad, Pap.  Most striking is Clinch’s use of perspective, employing a close third person focus that almost feels like second person.  The result is an airy, almost mystic view of Hannibal and its famed inhabitants.

4.  Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace;  This monster of a book follows a drug addict, tennis prodigy and other dysfunctional characters …through about one thousand pages.  Unfortunately, I read the first hundred pages months ago and will have to restart to get the proper momentum to go deeper into this one.

5.  After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley;  I saw this novel referenced by Dawkins in The Ancestor’s Tale on the topic of scientific research into life and longetivity and the assumption that as we age (both as individuals and species) our characteristics become refined, civilized, and more developed.  I’ve yet to start this book, but I zoomed through Brave New World  years ago with vast enjoyment, so this shouldn’t be trouble at all.

6.  Fantasyland by Sam Walker;  Walker writes about his attempts to join a cutthroat, high level rotisserie baseball league.  I read a brief exerpt on amazon.com and bought this without any other prior knowledge.  Why?  Well another perk of working in a bookstore is I get a merchandise credit every month.  Thirty bucks.  Booyah.  Free books.  Awesome.


~ by Michael Engel on April 5, 2007.

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