Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gruesome Twosome

#27 - "The Lost Continent" by Bill Bryson (re-read)
#28 - "St. Augustine" by Garry Wills

Two quick reads, before I head off on vacation tomorrow, two very different books. The Bryson... hell, everyone's read Bryson by now. I just needed his trademark curmudgeonliness, and I've only read "Lost Continent" 500 times, as opposed to the thousand times each of "Neither Here Nor There" and "Notes on a Small Island," so I grabbed this off the shelf. It's great, it's funny, it somewhat curbed my recent desire to go see rural America.

"St. Augustine" is a bit of a wild card -- I'm not at all religious and not interested in becoming, but I was sent this as a review copy the better part of a decade ago, and hell, it's short. It's pretty interesting, too. Once Wills gets past an odd obsession with proving that St. Augie didn't screw everything that moved as a young man (something that had, frankly, never crossed my mind), it's a good primer on one of the great thinkers of his day. It lays out his influence well for someone like me, and it's fascinating to read about the early, lesser-known schisms in Christian thought. Glad I finally got around to reading it, and now I'll feel a little less guilty about reading "The Milan Chalupa Story" or whatever I pick up next.

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