Saturday, November 26, 2011

Clearing the Pipes

One thing about this book diary: once it backs up a bit, it keeps me from posting anything else. Let's rectify that and quickly.

#36 -- "Zone One" by Colson Whitehead

I'm way over zombies, so it's a testament to Whitehead's power that I was able to get past that for this. Very good, not his best, but very good. Subtle, too -- weeks later I'm still picking up on things.

#37 -- "The Origins of the Second World War" by A.J.P. Taylor

Post-Wallace I'm on a history kick, and I've been wanting to reread Taylor's "The Struggle for Mastery in Europe," which I last read in college. Feeling like I should read something new-to-me first, I got this and "Bismarck." This isn't anything really new to me, but it's very well presented, and it's instructive and helpful to read a history that looks at everything rather dispassionately -- i.e. did the characters involved act rationally. Britain comes off looking awful, France almost as bad.

#38 -- "Tito" by Neil Barnett

This is part of a series of popular biographies, so maybe my hopes were a bit high. As far as here's how Tito's life went, here's what he did, here's what resulted, it's fine. It doesn't delve much deeper than that, though. (Admittedly, sources beyond Tito himself are scarce for parts of his life.) I don't have any real complaints about this, but no enthusiasm, either. It gets the job done, but I'll have to wait for a real comprehensive biography of the man.

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