Tag Archives: the pleasures of reading in an age of distraction

On the Bookshelf XI

The Chinese Banker by Dustin Hill
A novel of an America ravaged by a Chinese-induced financial crisis. The publisher contacted me last week with a review request, and since conspiracy theories never fail to intrigue me, I figured, Why the heck not? I guess we’ll see if the book is worth its salt.
The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs
“So the books are waiting. Of this you may be confident: they’ll be ready when the whim strikes you.” Has anybody else read this book? The title alone was enough to grab my attention. I like reading about reading, and Jacobs apparently enjoys writing about reading, so it’s a win-win situation. (He’s also the author of The Narnian, a biography of C.S. Lewis which I’d love to get around to one of these days.)
The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy
Finally. Returning to McCarthy’s work is like reuniting with an old and dear friend. The man is a genius, I tell you. The Crossing is the second book in his Border Trilogy, following two teenage boys across the American Southwest and Mexico in the years before WWII. If it’s anywhere near as good as All the Pretty Horses, I’ll be elated.
Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell
A grandly-conceived and elaborately-executed piece of contemporary literature. It is essentially a novel of novellas – a series of loosely connected stories put together like nested dolls. Mitchell’s writing is fabulous, his ability to dance from genre to genre wildly entertaining. I’m just over half-way through it: here’s hoping the final act is as satisfying as the first.
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
I’ve been told this is one of those can’t-miss books for writers. As I dig deeper into it, I can see why. This guy knows his stuff, and I’m more than ready to listen. For instance, he says, “Many of us were taught that no sentence should begin with ‘but.’ If that’s what you learned, unlearn it – there’s no stronger word at the start. It announces a total contrast with what has gone before, and the reader is thereby primed for the change.” YES.

What’s on your bookshelf right now?