Alchemical Thoughts

Items about books I want to read, #16

Posted on: January 6, 2011

And we are moving along. Sixteen of these lists means quite a bit of books I would like to read down the road, but that is cool. The idea for me is mostly to keep track of things I would like to read at some point. There is no rush, and I find these lists useful for the moments when I need a new idea of what to read. Maybe my two readers out there find them useful as well.

  • Guys Lit Wire looks at the novel True Grit, the basis of the film. I have a bit of mixed feelings about the new Coen Brothers remake since I like the John Wayne version. Part of it is the old feeling of “do we really need yet another remake? Does Hollywood have an original thought left?” The film has gotten positive reviews and some of my friends recommend it, so I may check it out when it is out on DVD (I don’t do movie theaters). However, the post discusses one other Western novel as well, The Hawkline Monster, which does sound interesting as well. I will admit that Westerns is not a genre I have read much into other than some short fiction and Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage, which I read for my adult readers’ advisory class. I can certainly see the appeal of the genre. When I took the class, the instructor remarked that it is a genre on the wane in public libraries since it is mostly older men who read it these days. I certainly will keep these books in mind, maybe grab some Louis L’Amour down the road while I am at it. Speaking of another classic, I am not as sure of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. This is mostly because I saw the film version, and I did not really like it. I mean, I liked the actors in it, but the tale seemed a bit, well, depressing for me. Anyone out there want to convince me I should read the book anyhow will be considered. I will note that Lonesome Dove did win a Pulitzer Award.
  • A book about a part of American history that I am guessing not too many people know about: use of books as pro-American propaganda in World War II. The book is Books as Weapons by John B. Hench. It is reviewed in the Powell’s blog here.
  • Lapham’s Quarterly features a review and discussion of P.T. Barnum’s 1855 autobiography. I took a bit of digging, but I found a copy of the 1855 book described, If not,  I think I can do with The Colossal P.T. Barnum Reader.
  • The faculty at Pitt’s I-School have two books on books and reading. One is David Ulin’s The Lost Art of Reading. The other is Unpacking my library: architects and their books by Jo Steffens and Walter Benjamin.
  • This article on rum out of caught my attention. However, what really catches my eye is the article author’s book, which sounds like it might be a fun read. The book is And a Bottle of Rum: a History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis. I wonder if it is similar to Tom Standage’s A History of the World in 6 Glasses, which I read and enjoyed greatly.
  • Katherine Dacey, the Manga Critic, offers “The Best Manga You Are Not Reading: Gun Blaze West.” The series seems a bit too juvenile for me (as in I tend to like my manga dark and more adult), but this one sounds like it could be a fun read, so I am willing to take a chance on it. And it’s only three volumes (WorldCat link for first volume).
  • I am not big on comic book hero novels or novelizations. I prefer to read comic book heroes in comics and graphic novels, where they belong. However, once in a while a suggestion comes across that seems interesting, and the folks at Guys Lit Wire offer a Batman novel featuring the Scarecrow. The book in question is Batman: Fear Itself. The book’s author is Michael Reaves, who has written a couple other things I have liked, so seems like a good bet.
  • The folks at Awful Library Books point to some books about outhouses in good fun. However, one of the books mentioned does sound like it might be interesting. The book is Nature Calls: the history, lore, and charm of outhouses by Dottie Booth.
  • I am adding this to my list mostly out of curiosity and because The Beautiful Kind (NSFW warning) is one of the sex and adult blogs I follow (yes, I do read some of those blogs). It is the blog author’s e-book The Book of Goddess, (NSFW warning)which is available as a free download. It does sound like something I could pass along to the better half too.
  • I am not a great cook by any stretch of the imagination. That honor belongs to my brother who is a bona fide fully trained chef. But my mom did teach me to cook well enough that I would not starve. Thus I may not be the best audience for this book, and yet I am curious to at least have a look at it. Who knows? I might even learn something new. The book in question is Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. It was reviewed in Powell’s blog here.
  • The folks at Liquor Snob recommend Punch: the Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl.

Book lists:


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January 2011
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