Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What I'm Reading Right Now

Traveling means reading, usually a lot of reading. (I always overpack books worrying that I'll get bored while trapped on the airplane.) When traveling home to see my dad, it also means The Book Swap! We mostly share the same tastes in books although he reads more political and military biographies than I do and I read a few more novels. Each time I see my dad, I bring the latest books I've read along and he swaps me the ones he's finished. If it's something I want to re-read, I hungrily wait for the next swap since we both read on deadline.

He recently told me that he has a ritual to reading the books we swap. He puts them in a stack in random order and always starts the next book on the top of the stack. Sometimes he pulls a book out of the stack to start with that he wants to read first, but otherwise, he reads whatever pops up next. This system would probably never work for me, but he checks random books out of the library, too, so he has a better tolerance for hits and misses.

In the stack I just picked up: The Fall of Baghdad (by Jon Lee Anderson), Great Tales from English History (part of Robert Lacey's popular UK series), Mark Svengold's Big Weather, 21 (the final book from Patrick O'Brian), Election 2004 (from the Newsweek reporters), a really terrible Tom Clancy book, and The Dante Club. (I sometimes feel guilty passing on books like The Dante Club because, you know, he *is* 86-years-old and I hate for him to waste time on something that he might not like, but he said he finally slogged through.)

The batch I took to swap included Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (he's read all the Harry Potter books), Cowboy Lingo (a wonderful Ramon Adams book), Mr. Timothy (another Dante Club knockoff), and Earthquake (Simon Winchester's latest.) I gave him permission to skip all the boring seismic history sections. Plus, I warned him about Winchester's huge gaff toward the end where he claims Kansas is bordered by Texas and Missouri.

In the meantime, fear of fears happened! I ran reading material. Rummaging through the airport gift store rack on the way home, I found Amy Tan's newest, Saving Fish From Drowning. I'm quite engrossed in her delicious tale of murder, spirits, and tacky American tourists who get what's coming to them on a trip to China and Burma/Myanmar. I think my dad will like this one.


At Wed Dec 28, 09:20:00 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin said...

Hey Hoosier Girl,

Thanks for the tip about Earthquake. That book has been on my "want to read" list. I love Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman--especially since I met him several years ago. The Professor book came from reading a footnote--and turned into a New York Times bestseller.

The Writing Life


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