e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu

1/02/2012

Recent Reading

The joys of break are the joys of reading for pleasure. I devoured Life, the Keith Richards memoir, and got a kick from not only the Brit dialect but also the lingo of swinging London. Richards tosses in plenty of instances of "baby" and groovy sounding sentence fragments too. He uses these fragments to underline, sometimes stating the obvious (a stand-alone like "Wild" might follow an anecdote that absolutely is) and sometime editorializing (often his comments critique Mick Jagger's ego and love of fame). You get the obligatory stories of heavy drug use, but you also get a sense of Keith's deep, deep love of music and musicians. Wild baby.

Also read the somewhat mediocre Geraldine Brooks novel People of the Book. I loved the premise--a researcher and rare-books expert tracing the history of a sacred, centuries-old Jewish text through Europe. Also loved the recurring theme of "conviviality," the togetherness invoked by stories of Christians, Jews, and Muslims interacting together (15th Century Spain! 20th Century Bosnia! Palestine! Australia!). It's a globetrotting, time-traveling narrative and the good, bad, lovely, and ugly of the interaction of Big Western Faiths comes up thematically and drives the plot too. While the historical chapters popped, the present action sometimes tried too hard to combine pulpy action and romance with the more heady themes. DaVinci Code for the New York Review of Books set. Good but not great.