John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Book Dump: May 2007

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
A 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
An 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 estate development.
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 though.
Boomsday by Christopher Buckley
Funny 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 new imprint.
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 Comics.
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.

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