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26 September 2011 @ 03:40 pm
Book Reviews  
Recently while on a series of flight I had a chance to read the following three books:

1. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. Lewis is a terrific author and he takes a dorky subject like baseball statistics and makes it interesting by interweaving the story with tales of the characters involved in the new sports science of sabermetrics: Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt in the movie adaptation of this book), Paul DePodesta, Bill James and a geek by the improbable name of Voros McCracken. He also writes about the baseball players who served as lab rats in the experiment of whether or not sabermetrics would work in real life. Perhaps I was so caught up in the book because I'm a baseball fan, but I loved this book. Leaving aside the sports aspect, this is a great story a quirky character coming in to an old boys club and changing the way things had been done for a long time, with enough success that many imitators soon followed. I would recommend this book highly and give it an A.

2. Maximum Bob by Elmore Leonard. A friend recommended that I read some Elmore Leonard and I decided to try this book for a start. Leonard's style of writing is what made this book so enjoyable. The book's tone is conversational, quirky and very amusing. As mystery stories go, the tale is average and predictable. There's no mystery to solve, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Reading this story about a redneck mysoganistic Florida judge who is the target of one or more assassins, and the pretty probation officer who us smarter than the cops was very easy. The villains are written as a combination of cold-blooded knuckleheadedness that only a skillful writer like Elmore Leonard can pull off. I would also recommend this book and give it a B+.

3. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. I'm so grateful to the LJ friend who recommended Sarah Vowell to me. She writes about history, but in a style unlike any historian. She is knowledgeable but writes in a humorous style as she tells the story of her visits to numerous historic sites relevant to the assassinations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley. It's as if the reader is accompanying her on these pilgrammages and she's a very interesting and very funny friend. For example, she gives Robert Todd Lincoln (the son of Abraham Lincoln, and a man who had the misfortune of being in close proximity at the time of all three assassinations) the nickname "Jinxy McDeath." She is witty and a trifle irreverent, but that doesn't take away from her ability to give her readers both knowledge and perspective. I lucked out on this trip, I armed myself with three very good books. I give this book an A and it made me want to ready more of the works of Sarah Vowell.

So what about the rest of you prolific readers, what are you reading? How about writing a short journal entry in this community telling the rest of us what's on your reading list and whether or not you like it? Please and thanks.
 
 
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