These are the books I read in May. Almost to qualify as a list of ten things!
- The Remarkable Millard Fillmore: The Unbelievable Life of a Forgotten President by George Pendle
humorous fictionalized biography of our thirteenth President,
depicted here as an amiable dunce who stumbles into a variety of
historically significant events, a la Forrest
Gump. It's kind of a slim reed on which to base a book, and as
a result it's only intermittently amusing. The book is redeemed
in a way by the afterword, which shows that Pendle hewed fairly
closely to Fillmore's actual life, which makes certain parts of
the book even funnier.
- One True Thing by Anna Quindlen
emotionally stunted young woman re-evaluates her life and her
relationship with her parents as she tends to her terminally ill
mother. I didn't really like the main character, but other than
that it wasn't too bad.
- Last Harvest: How a Cornfield Became New Daleville: Real Estate Development in America from George Washington to the Builders of the Twenty-first Century, and Why We Live in Houses Anyway by Witold Rybczynski
- A look at the
development of a neo-traditional development in Pennsylvania,
with a general history of real estate development in general.
Excellent book, even if you have no particular interest in real
- If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation by Janine Latus
- This was
kind of a bait-and-switch, to my way of thinking. I was led to
believe by the title and jacket copy that it was sort of a true
crime book about a woman trying to find out what happened to her
murdered sister, but it's really just a whiny memoir about a
neurotic woman with a bad daddy and body-image issues who just
happens to have a sister who was murdered. Well written
- Boomsday by Christopher Buckley
political satire, and scarily accurate based on my experience
working for the Senate.
- The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
- The first entry in DC Comics' new Minx imprint, and
it's a good start. Some of the title characters are a little
under-developed, and the ending is a little abrupt, but the art
is appealing and the story interesting. It might have benefited
from an expanded page count, but it's a promising start to the
- A Killing in Comics by Max Allan Collins
- Collins may spend most of his time writing CSI
and Bones tie-ins nowadays, but he hasn't lost his touch when it
comes to mystery novels. This one is especially enjoyable for a
long-time comics reader such as myself, as it features
characters based on Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, Bob Kane, and
many other key players in the early days of DC
- Can I Keep My Jersey? 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond by Paul Shirley
- I think I would have liked this account of four
years in the life of an itinerant pro basketball player more if
the athlete in question weren't such an asshole, but if you like
reading the thoughts of a bigoted, condescending jerk who is
almost but not quite good enough to play in the NBA, then this
is the book for you.
- One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead
- You really have to admire the wedding industry, which has built a multi-billion dollar business selling products that are for the most part unnecessary to a market that is almost completely inelastic with little potential for repeat business. That's impressive. Also impressive is the cheerful willingness on the part of everyone involved to milk the brides for every drop they can get. Entertaining book.
Ten ultimate travel experiences in the USA, according to Rough Guides:
- Witness power in action in Washington, D.C.
- Check the progress of the Crazy Horse Memorial, S.D.
- Tour Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.
- Stroll through downtown Savannah, Ga.
- Catch a baseball game at Wrigley Field, Chicago
- Attend a ceremonial dance at Taos Pueblo, N.M.
- Scope out the scene on Ocean Drive, Miami
- Watch the fish fly at Pike Place Market, Seattle
- Go wolf-watching in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.
- Reconsider the wild west in Monument Valley, Ariz./Utah
To celebrate their 25th anniversary, Rough Guides has released a
series of small guides — literally small, 4" by 5" — to what
they consider the twenty-five very best things to do around the world.
This list is drawn from the USA guide; other guides in the series
include India, China, Australia, Britain and Ireland, Canada, Eastern
Europe, France, Italy, Mexico and Central America, the Middle East, New
Zealand, South America, Europe,
Southeast Asia, Spain, and Africa. There are also themed guides:
Adventure Travel, Ethical Travel, Journeys, Islands, Places to Stay, and
For what it's worth, I've done two of the things listed above, nos. 1 and 5. I may have driven along Ocean Drive on my way down to Key West a few years ago; perhaps boliver and rustydogcan refresh my memory. How many have you done?