Friday, December 12, 2008

guest blogger kat's holiday reading list...

For me, summer reading is much like winter reading (which, oddly enough, closely resembles autumn and spring reading...) - I scour my shelves for the classic to reread, the impulse purchase I forgot about in 2002 and then Ian - what a source! - lends me something un-put-down-able and before I know it my bedside table is groaning.  Here's my motley list of recent reads - all very much better than summer televison programming.

We Disappear - Scott Heim
From the state that brought you In Cold Blood and The Wizard of Oz - Kansas stars again in this dense little mystery from the author of Mysterious Skin.  It's sometimes infuriating, often tender and ultimately challenges our human desire for neat explanations and definitive truths.  Scott Heim throws in a terminally ill mother, a stomach-churning crystal meth addiction and a whole mess of lies to create a strangely beautiful book. 
The Colarado Kid - Stephen King
Ah, theme reading!  I bought this one for the killer noir cover - it's from the Hard Case press, featuring both vintage and newly-writ mysteries such as this one from the author-hero of my teen years.  King is the king (excuse me) of characterisation, and this novella delivers an engrossing pile up of evidence via a pair of gnarled New England newspapermen unpacking a cold case for their nubile intern.  It has everything except (and I don't think I'm giving too much away here) a tidy denouement - perhaps Heim & King have been plotting to unhinge me.

The Language Instinct - Steven Pinker
Available in the new Penguin series (hooray for $10 reads!), this pop-science bestseller is way more compelling than it sounds.  Pinker delves into the world of linguistics and comes up with the concept that language is as innate to humans as hive-building is to bees.  He illustrates his case for an inherent grammar with descriptions of creole languages across the world, all with a consistent structure, regardless of which languages are melded.  Heady stuff!  For further reading, check out Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee.

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
I spent most of November counting down the days before I could legally open my battered copy of this yuletide institution (just like putting up the tree and posting Christmas cards, there are some things you just can't do before 1 December).  Now my daughter is six, we get to read it together - and then we can supplement our reading with multiple viewings of A Muppet Christmas Carol.  God bless us, everyone!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.