Some more catching up.
- Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Azar Nafisi: is it worth the overwhelming attention it seems to have gotten? I am not sure. I was hoping for more. I would have preferred a simple chronological approach. I also would have loved to see the picture of the study group—one day. More annoying than the (understandable) absence of a picture was the lack of the mention of the absence (or its reason) the first time the picture is mentioned, leading to leafing back and forth twice in an attempt to locate the thing. My main complaint, however, is the lack of consistent references. No, I have not read Henry James. And, yes, I've read Austen, but only four of her six novels, and some only once and quite a while ago. I remember P&P's Lizzie, of course, but throw the names of other characters at me, especially without last names, and I'm lost. One would expect a literature professor to know her audience a bit better.
- Naamah's Kiss, Jacqueline Carey: because I've started down this road, and now I must finish. The third trilogy is the weakest of the three.
- Gladiators: The Bloody Truth, Michael Grant: Quick and without depth, but who expects more when they pick up 120 sextodecimo pages?
- And She Danced for the King: Memoirs of a Rockette, Ro Trent Vaselaar: The biography of Peggy Morrison, who spent the thirties as a chorus girl in New York, Paris, and various other places. She danced with the Folies Bergère in 1933 and was a chorus girl for Mistinguett there! Peggy thought that Mistinguett was making a pass at her, which caused her to return to the US (what a shame...the story could have been so much more interesting!).
- The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón: hilarious that there's a comic book version. Vaguely interesting. Stupid rah-rah-rah-go-USA-homeland-security propaganda in the final pages. Ugly art. Just because you think you can make a comic book doesn't mean you should. Where are the Hergés of the present?
- The Babylonian Legend of the Flood, Edmond Sollberger: a very thin monograph. Enjoyable. Will have to read again to absorb.
- The Plot against America, Philip Roth: This seemed topical before election day: it's even more topical now. It was an at times uncomfortable but very good read—left me anxious. The resolution in the final pages, very deus ex machina, is sudden and confusing. There's some looking ahead, some looking back, and in the end you find yourself wondering how reliable the narrator is—and in my case you find yourself too lazy to leaf back and figure out whether you missed something or whether Roth left things intentionally vague. I like to think the latter. I greatly appreciated the postscript with historical notes on the major characters, untangling the web of fiction woven in the previous 350 pages. All historical novels ought to include such an appendix, even (or especially) the trashy ones (I'm looking at you, Dan Brown). In reading The Plot against America's Wikipedia page just now, I learned that conservatives weren't thrilled with the novel. Knowing that makes me like it all the more.
- Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut, Mike Mullane: I'm not sure they're all that "outrageous", and I suspect that I'd find Mullane and intolerable asshat if I were to ever meet him, but I enjoyed the book for its historical content. The writing is something out of Cigar Aficionado or Delta Sky Magazine, but the frustration with NASA management and the joy and wonder at being in space are clear enough.