Monday, August 10, 2009

It's time to Weed again.

Size Matters: The Hard Facts About Male Sexuality That Every Woman Should Know, by Harry Fisch and Kara Baskin. It's time to weed the 600s again, and this book hadn't circulated as much as I thought it would have, so I gave it a read. It's hardly amazing but, as far as I know, it's all factually correct. It's approachable. As usual, I'd like more detail/explanation, but the answers merely felt truncated, not dumbed down. And the questions certainly sound like real questions, things regular people wonder about, not just made up for the purposes of the book. Brain Surgeon: A Doctor's Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles, by Keith Black, with Arnold Mann. Is there a nonfiction book out there that doesn't have a subtitle that goes on for half a page? I'm not sure the subtitle should act as an abstract or in place of the inside flap. Anyway. This book kind of jumps around a bit, telling part of a story, then telling some other things, then giving a follow-up to the earlier story; I'm not sure if this is because it is following the strict chronological order of the events or if there's another reason. Sometimes the last part of a story will be told to illustrate a point ("as we can see in..."), but since there are abrupt topic switches elsewhere, especially between chapters, it seemed like this attempt at continuity was a bit silly. I prefer a whole story, all at once. Something that bothered me was that the author made a point several times to say that he realizes he is not God, and he tries not to let his successes go to his head. He certainly has worked hard and done amazing things, and could be understandably proud of his achievements, but he uses terms and phrases that suggest his ascertains are just an act: he develops his own Manhattan project (brain tumors being the Hiroshima here), and he constantly refers to himself as working in the brain like a "thief in the night" which, as far as I know and have been able to find, refers only to Christ's Second Coming (see 1 Thessalonians 5:2). There are a few other unexpected melodramatics as well. I started (the ARC of) Buck Fever, by Cynthia Chapman Willis over lunch and covered the first 35 pages. I've got to say, I was really worried: 1. The author was kind enough to personally mail me an ARC, and is now a new follower of my blog (Hi, Cynthia!), and I was worried I would have to say something critical about the book and there would be drama. 2. I was worried this would happen because it sounds like a difficult topic to cover. I was worried the boy would too wimpy of a character or be unrealistic in some other way. So far, however, I'm really enjoying the book. It's written in first person present tense, which always throws me off, but it's done very well, quite believable, and I was able to adjust within the first few pages. We've been introduced to a number of sources of conflict in Joey's life, but they aren't battling for supremacy within the story-- they are, realistically, all things he's dealing with and I'm looking forward to seeing how they play out. So far, Joey is a great character, with regular interests and (re)actions; I think most young male readers won't have too hard a time identifying with him. So far, my biggest complaint is that the italics used to indicate what someone has said in the past have a funny way of being printed, so that it always looks like there's a space after every "f," even if it's in the middle of a word. Maybe it's related to my reading challenges, but errors in punctuation, including space errors, really throw off my mental flow, the river of my reading. Hopefully, the book will live up to its promising start.

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