Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Straight C-minuses

Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, by Harvey Pekar
I love Harvey Pekar, and I'm pro-Palestine, but this book was disappointing. Mostly a dry history of the land changing hands over the last couple thousand years. The more modern, the more relevant, in my opinion.

Coming into the Country, by John McPhee
Very disappointing. Took me forever to finish. I felt like most of this book was minutia about Alaskan state government, or even worse, local government gossip. I do think the claim that too little of Alaska is privately owned, and that BLM shouldn't be kicking individual homesteaders out of their handmade log cabins, is interesting, but I couldn't care less about Alaska's attempt to relocate the capital, or at least the way McPhee wrote it. I'd recommend that outdoorsy types read book I (traveling the rivers), skip book II entirely (relocating the capital), and start book III (homesteaders mining, trapping, hunting, and surviving hard winters) but quit when it devolves into local gossip.

The Visible Man, by Chuck Klosterman
A therapist tries to help a man who has developed cloaking technology and likes to watch people.

This book is ruined by its format. Instead of just being a novel, it's written as a collection of e-mails and transcripts of therapy sessions. The basic idea is pretty neat, Klosterman can turn a clever phrase, and the discussion of voyeurism and privacy is sometimes interesting, but the format just doesn't work and comes across as sloppy and a waste of time.

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