Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Read in October

Life got more-or-less back to normal in October -- we got a furnace in the middle of the month, and that was the last piece needed to get our house's systems back to basic functioning -- but I personally am still squatting (along with my computer) in the kitchen, as the renovations of the now-dry but still very empty basement grind forward slowly.

Along the way, of course, I read some books, and these are they:
  • George McManus's Bringing Up Father (10/1)
  • Lawrence Block, Getting Off (10/6)
  • Dan Wells, I Don't Want to Kill You (10/7)
  • Bob Sehlinger & Liliane J. Opsomer with Len Testa, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2011 (10/10) (link is to brand-new 2012 edition)
    I've written about the "Unofficial Guides" at great length before -- this post here is probably the longest and most detailed -- and I've been a big fan of them even before I came to work at Wiley, the house that publishes them. So of course I dug through a few of those books this year to prepare for this year's big family trip -- even if that trip is to the same place as it's been for the past three years. This particular volume is a shortened and focused version of the "big book," aimed at families. I'd still recommend the big one first, but this has some useful original stuff, particularly for those with younger rugrats than mine.
  • Editors of McSweeney's, The McSweeney Joke Book of Book Jokes (10/11)
  • The Imagineers, The Imagineering Field Guide to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World (10/11)
    A slim little book written by the gestalt mind of everyone who had ever worked on building that particular park -- I joke slightly, since it did credit, in very small type hidden on the copyright page, the actual writer who did all of the work and tracked down the engineers, designers, and other folks who put the place together -- full of mostly-interesting information about the rides, designs, and other trivia of the Magic Kingdom. It was a bit too small and little, actually, since it had a lot of photos that weren't as clear and large as one might have wanted. As a pocket guide for things to look for in the park, though, it would be excellent. But it is primarily for either hardcore Disney geeks or folks who are really interested in industrial design.
  • Steven M. Barrett, The Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Vacation 2011 (10/19)
    I also read other guides to the places I'm vacationing, because reading travel guides is one of the great minor pleasures of life -- particularly to those of us who love to plan, and imagine, and mull over everything before we do any of it. (Last year I had five Book-A-Day posts about the books I read for that year's vacation -- one, two, three, four, five -- which is vaguely justifiable because I was reviewing a book a day.) This one was OK, but didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know -- difficult at this point, I'll admit -- and was made up in large part with touring plans that are not as well-laid out, nor as useful, nor (I suspect) as scientifically tested as those in the "Unofficial Guides." It's pretty good, but the things it does are things I find the Unofficial books do much better.
  • George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons (10/27)
    I doubt I'll do a serious review of this -- it's too damn big, and has been thoroughly chewed over by people much more devoted than me already -- but I'll be damned if I read one book for most of a month and not get a post out of it, so something will be forthcoming. Edit: No, it isn't.
  • Richard Sala, The Hidden (10/31)
And then I was done. November will see that trip I hinted about above, and probably thus even fewer books read than this month.

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