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Monday, February 23, 2004

Quelle bookworm

Usually, I use the weekends to catch up on things TiVoed and left unwatched, but with no West Wing reruns, no Daily Show, and an otherwise quiet schedule during the week, I was left with copious reading time this weekend. Given that I'm currently deep into two volumes of historical fiction, one treatise on graphic design, and many different comic book series, this was an excellent thing indeed.

What I'm nearly done with:
The Killer Angels -- On loan from a friend for quite some time, and I'd like to return it before the six month mark. Hard reading at first, gritty and alarming, but once I built up some momentum it started flowing a lot more easily. The emphasis on details is stunning, as is the various perspectives given. I've never grasped the realities of war quite so well. In the movies, it's all so daring and fearsome, but these guys are strapping knives to their empty guns and charging into the fray, staking their lives on a strategy thrown together in the heat of the moment by a college professor from Maine. I think I'm near the end of Day 2. I expect to reach Day 3 tonight.

The Professor and the Madman -- My carry-around book, which I made significant progress in during all the fun tire-repair incidents this weekend. Pretty much a study of two characters brought together by the writing of a dictionary, and the minitua of the various systems used to draft the OED, plus the specificity brought to the author's depiction of Victorian England's slums and madhouses, are just hellaciously entertaining. What I like best about the book, aside from the extended definitions of words heading off each chapter, is its brevity. I don't think it surpasses 250 pages, and that's exactly the right length for it.

The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design -- I've covered five essentials so far, and I enjoy the paradox of a book teaching the basics of clean, simple design with a cluttered, confusing layout. I'm actually learning a great deal, though. Grid systems make a lot more sense now.

What I finished:
New X-Men -- On loan from a friend in issue format, which means that I read about a year and a half's worth of comics in one morning -- a morning spent in shock as Grant Morrison proceeded to rip apart the X-Men universe. And when I say rip apart, I mean rip apart. No wonder they're rebooting the X-Universe this spring (with a bunch of new or revamped books, including Joss Whedon writing Astonishing X-Men)! The last issue of Morrison's run comes out March 17th, and I just have no idea what's going to happen next. It's all... so... weird.

The Richard Roeper book of movie lists -- A Christmas present from the bro, and an entertaining hour or so. Pretty content-less, however, and I didn't agree with a lot of what he said. It's hard for me to go along with a man with such an evident hard-on for A Beautiful Mind.

I'm looking forward to starting some new things, like Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys, this book about the history of women's hair, and a collection of horror short stories that looks cool, and finishing dudes abandoned, like Howard Zinn and James Joyce.

Just gotta finish the old things first.

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