Man, my reading of books has taken a nosedive since I got an iPad + Instapaper. But I’m not sure if I mind that much. The best of that stuff ends up on my tumblr, anyway. Here’s a rundown of bound volumes:
1. A Certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi”. It’s basically a long list of phrases and where they came from. It’s really good if you care about words and where they come from.
2. Coltrane on Coltrane. What comes up again and again in these profiles and interviews is how kind, humble, and reticent Coltrane is. He seems like a genuinely nice guy. Which makes it not nearly as interesting as Miles on Miles. Miles Davis is not known for being kind, humble or reticent. He’ll speechify and declaim and accuse and he’s got giant chips on his shoulder. In many of the Coltrane interviews, you see the interviewer’s paragraphs of speech balanced with just a few words from Coltrane. Too bad.
3. The Broom of the System. I couldn’t finish this one. Wallace’s nonfiction is where it’s at for me, though I’m still holding out hope for “Infinite Jest”.
5. I Love Led Zeppelin. Some of it is funny.
6. Exit Wounds. Skip.
7. The Elegant Man was a nice style guide, if only for reasons of vocabulary and attention to detail. The nice thing about being a guy is that if you learn the classics, you’re set for life.
8. Mrs. Bridge. This is a day-to-day chronicle of suburban broken dreams, etc. Eh.
9. Finite & Infinite Games. Skip.
11. Once a Runner. It’s one of the classics about running, and true to its reputation, the best passages are about running and how exhilarating and exhausting it is to take it seriously. The overall plot was merely okay.
13. The Places in Between. It’s a great travelogue and has a nice balance with explaining the history and complicated social intricacies of Afghan culture. Great read. I hear author Rory Stewart is a potential Prime Minister.