Polysllabic Spree

The Plot Against America
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I had not been to the local used bookstore in a while and since I leave for my first tournament of the season to-morrow I decided it was a good time to hit up the clearance section (no title was more than $2).

Scott Turow, editor.  The Best American Mystery Stories, 2006.

I am a sucker for this series.  I am also a Scott Turow fan.  Most law school graduates that write turn to legal writing, but he didn’t.  Of those, he is easily the best.  I am not a huge mystery fan, so much so that when my beloved Cold War fictions are placed in the mystery section I tend to find employees and lecture them as though I am an old man and they have some ability to care.  If it had not been in clearance then I would have never seen it and never have paid the money for it.

Iain Pears.  An Instance of the Fingerpost.

I remember this book being hot hot hot when I was working at Barnes & Noble.  A mystery (sigh) set in Victorian England (I think) and yet not a mystery but more a tour of theory and the history and thought.  Or so I remember one of my managers telling me as a reason why she thought I’d be perfect to read it.  Looking back, she wanted me to read it and review it for the Staff Recommendations section.  Maybe if it was free.  But, alas, modern businesses require their employees to spend their wages for their own marketing.

Ursula K. Le Guin.  The Eye of the Heron.

I have never read any Le Guin, but I am constantly coming across her name as an important literary figure.  And not just in science fiction circles.  I had never even heard of this book, but: 1. the author is important,  2. it is a tiny thing, I can get through something this size in less than a week, and 3. I have been on a science fiction kick lately.

Speaking of which, I am currently working on season 1 of Mad Men so I can see what all the hype is about.  Episode 4 and Draper is revealed to have been someone else before the war.  Now I am really intrigued as the story turns to be more inline with sci-fi circles than just a cultural criticism.  A TIRED cultural criticism, at that.

Duncan Heath & Judy Boreham.  Introducing Romanticism.

I am also a sucker for the precise genre.  Complex ideas simplified and then put into comic book form.  How can it not be worth a few bucks?

David Zane Mairowitz & Alain Korkos.  Introducing Camus.

I probably would not have bought this book had I not turned to the Camus chapter in the Sturrock book earlier to-day.  I am still not too sure that I care about him, but I am curious enough to drop a few bucks to find out.  And, it is also a precise book.  One of these days I will get some scratch together and commission my friends to write a precise pour moi.  Ursa can do some Spinoza.  I am not too sure what Nate would do, but I do not doubt I would learn something.

Philip Roth.  The Plot Against America.

Philip Roth.  Alternate history.  Philip Roth.  I almost bought this book several times when it was a hardcover on the bestseller list.  How this ever made it to the clearance rack I will never know.  I know Minnesotans read the wrong stuff, but this is ridiculous.

Phil Hellmuth, Jr.  Play Poker Like the Pros.

This is his serious book.  It was not on clearance, but I am curious to see what he has to say.  Poker writing fascinates me because the players are often engaging in some rather sophisticated communications theory without even knowing it.  The pain of reading these books is seeing them skate around methodologies and terminology.  They are almost quite there but I suspect there are editors or publishers delimiting the thought so the book remains available to the masses.  To the future poker writers out there: be brave, the audience will come along and appreciate it if the writing is good!

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