This is yet another humble addition to my (fairly new) series of two line reviews of books where, in a very brief two sentences, I not only let you know what I’ve been reading, but what I’ve thought of it.
My summer reading list has strayed into a complex mess of non-fiction and fiction, leaning towards the light an airy topics of post-dystopian futures, the dire impacts of popular culture, and the intoxicating effects of power, priveledge, and drinks. Well, not exactly light reading…
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage I’d seen this title new in bookstores when it was released nearly a decade ago, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across the audio version on epic super-summer-sale via Audible that I bought my copy and have been listening to it on my commutes. This particular non-fiction work is in essence a brief history of the world as told from the perspective of six key beverages that have happened to shape it — beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and coca-cola — and fully engrossing and fascinating for anyone interested not only in light, modern history, but also the culture and habits of some common drinks.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein Another non-fiction book, though one based more on opinion and observation than other books I’ve been reading lately, I had been meaning to pick my way through this read for a while in an effort to continue to sate my interest in the generally controverisal topic of the effect of pop-culture on parenting, (ir)rational fatherhood, and free-range child rearing. The author explores a complex set of interactions and tries to untangle the effects they are having on her daughter, particularly the clash of marketing, popular culture, gender-role-expectations, and the colour pink, and seems to imply that it isn’t as disasterous as one might imagine.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Sadly and embarassingly, the stark and unremarkable cover of this book caused me to miss out on its initial release and it wasn’t until some cleverly conspiring Amazon algorithms suggested I might like this tome of eighties pop-cultural, post-dytopian science fiction mashup did I actually download a (legal) copy and give it a go. What I discovered was an epic geek adventure through the near-future chaos of a somewhat contrived, but fully enjoyable, fast-paced and lingeringly haunting story to satistfy any gamer, geek, or techno-hobbiest of my survived-the-1908s generation.
Wool by Hugh Howey Incredibly popular on the Kindle independent book listings, and a top seller for months, I picked up a compilation of the first five (increasingly longer) short stories-come-novel as a digital download and dug in the richly entrancing underground world of Howey’s post-apocalyptic silo. The story, in what I tend to think of as the spirit of Isaac Asimov, is a rich and powerful blend of science fiction based on politics and intrigue supported by a vast but largely implied historical backdrop and resting firmly on a foundation of strong characters and excellent storytelling, and definitely worth a read.