Literacy is a good thing.

June 24, 2007 at 8:45 pm 3 comments

I’ve been reading lately! I blame it on the large amounts of time I’ve spent in airports and on airplanes in the last month (over 30 hours total). Here’s what I’ve read:

Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead took me several months to read, but I think it was worth it.  I actually preferred Atlas Shrugged to this one, but I’ve found what I’ve read of Rand’s work (I’ve also read Anthem) to be interesting and motivating (most likely due to the Objectivist themes).  In any case, my only complaint is that in both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, the main character goes into a million-page rant at the end of the book and it bores me.  I figure it’s the philospher/author trying to get her main point across, but still…  no thanks.  Both of these have made the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels list, and I aspire to eventually read all the novels on these lists (so far I’ve read 4 on the Board’s list and 9 on the Reader’s list – I have a few more to read…).

John Grogan’s Marley and Me was a quick read – especially after The Fountainhead. It was cute and heartwarming, and I’m embarrassed to report that I actually cried (in public) when the dog died at the end of the book. Hope I didn’t ruin that ending for anyone.

 

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck was another quick read. My recent obsession with Chinese culture inspired this selection, as well as the fact that Santa brought it to me at Christmastime! I really enjoyed it – couldn’t put it down, actually, but the ending was a little anticlimactic. The story follows the life of a Chinese farmer, Wang Lung, and focuses mostly on his connection with his land, discussing his successes and failures, good times and bad, and the novel ends with his death. No crying in public this time.

 

Levitt & Dubner’s Freakonomics proved to be an entertaining book, even if several topics in the book were a little hard to buy into (for example, the notion that aside from genetics and socioeconomic status, parents have no influence over their children’s test scores). Other interesting topics included why drug dealers live with their moms and how children’s names are passed from the wealthy to the working poor. Their blog also asks and answers a series of interesting questions… like why do retirees often buy bigger houses and why do fast food joints offer free meals if the cashier fails to give you a receipt?

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy  |  June 24, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    I loved Freakanomics – I read it in one day while substituting. It was better than watching the first half of Norma Rae seven times in a row! I also really liked Anthem, if only because you can read it in one sitting. (As for The Good Earth, all I really remember is that it was good that Olan didn’t have wrapped feet, since she could work well in the rice paddies.)

    I recommend Of Human Bondage (Somerset Maugham) from the ML list.

    Reply
  • 2. Amy  |  June 25, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    oh, and I forgot – if you’re interested in Chinese culture, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is quite good (and short!). It’s during the Cultural Revolution, if that’s a time period that’s interesting.

    Reply
  • 3. jp  |  June 25, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Oh yes! I read Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress a few years ago and really liked it. I’ll have to check out Of Human Bondage once I get through the large pile of unread books in the attic…

    Reply

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