What I’ve been reading

1. Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry. Young man becomes small town barber and gravedigger in the US South. Elegantly written and tranquil to read. Maybe a little too tranquil. I struggled to get more than half through. I think I would need a hammock at a cabin by a lake to finish this one.

2. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry. The most literary Western ever written? Would never have read this without Trey Miller’s recommendation (via Drew). Thoroughly excellent. Got me through an 11-hour flight where the movie system was busted. (Thanks, Delta.)

3. Bossypants, by Tina Fey. I love 30 Rock, so how can I not love Bossypants? Turns out I can. Thoroughly miss-able, and sadly not as intelligent or funny as the show. The main reason I don’t regret reading it: it only took about four hours to read.

4. One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir, by Binyavanga Wainaina. So far so good. Probably worth it’s own blog post when I finish the book. The NYT review said you should run, not walk, to buy this book. That raised expectations terribly high, and they are not quite met. But very solid, and I am only 1/3 of the way through. Stay tuned.

5. A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin. I really can’t resist reading this crap. I have no idea why. Anything where the subtitle is “Book Five” is instantly a bad idea. And if the author has two middle initials on the front cover he’d better have a Nobel Prize or it’s a bad sign. I put the book in the same category as bad New York cheese slices and Kraft Mac’n Cheese: things I irrationally crave, even when the better stuff is all around me.

6. Poor Economics, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.  “I was kind of disappointed, ” am eminent colleague told me, “it’s just too good. This isn’t fair.” I know how he feels. They get to be brilliant researchers and write possibly the best popular book on poverty I’ve seen. More than worthy of a long post, but that will take a day with a great deal of time.