Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quarterly Update - 3rd Quarter 2010

I spent a lot of the summer looking for work and pretending to study for my qualifying exams. Then August came and I started seriously studying, which meant I spent a lot of time despairing, and I distracted myself from my despair with my reading, turning out over 4,000 pages that month. Then came September and, until I heard I had passed my exams, I was too anxious to do much reading.

The Princes in the Tower, by Alison Weir

Rating: six and a half out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Thursday Next in First Among Sequels, by Jasper Fforde

Rating: four and a half out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Ginger Pye, by Eleanor Estes

Rating: four out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

1912, by James Chace

Rating: six out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles, by Rupert Kingfisher

Rating: four and a half out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde

Rating: five out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Mike at Wrykyn, by P.G. Wodehouse

Rating: five and a half out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Mostly Harmless Econometrics, by Joshua D. Angrist and Jőrn-Steffen Pischke

Rating: one and a half out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

The Prophetic Book of Mormon, by Hugh Nibley

Rating: seven out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde

Rating: the first 384 pages: six out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Rating: the last six pages: one out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

The New Testament, by St. Paul, et Al.

Rating: I'm not assigning monkeys to scripture.

The Book of Mormon, by Joseph Smith, Jr., trans.

Rating: Not on the monkey scale.

The Mortal Messiah, Book 1, by Bruce R. McConkie

Rating: five out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Rating: four and a half out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown

Rating: five out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

Summer Lightning, by P.G. Wodehouse

Rating: seven out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

William Howard Taft, by Judith Icke Anderson

Rating: two and a half giant inflatable monkeys.

William Howard Taft, by Judith Icke Anderson

I was hankering for a Taft biography, and this was all my local library had. I didn't enjoy it that much. The "psychological" aspect of it was probably very trendy in the 1970s, but now it just seems silly and dated. I enjoyed the overview of Taft's life, but not the "his wife was a mother figure to him" or the "he overate to rebel" aspects of it. Unless Anderson found a journal entry where Taft admits as much, it's just a guess that we can't even run past him for his take.

I had a hard time accepting her assessment for how Taft came into his own in the White House. After an entire life of listening to his mother and wife, Anderson says he just sort of didn't need to anymore, so he stopped. And the only really fascinating psychological decision of his life, fighting his "father figure" for a position he clearly did not want, is sort of ignored. Why would Taft rebel so spectacularly for something he hated so much? Anderson doesn't really bother to ask, let alone find out.

I have to admit, I was also turned off by Anderson's dedication of her work to Fawn Brodie, whose "scholarship" in No Man Knows My History is decidedly substandard. If that's Anderson's idea of a good job, how much stock should I place in her book?

Rating: two and a half giant inflatable monkeys.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer Lightning, by P.G. Wodehouse

What is better than a well-written Blandings novel? Nothing at all.

Rating: seven out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.