In the tedious midst of transcribing recorded interviews for a freelance assignment soon due and in need of a diversion from it I decided to clean up the unkempt bookshelf nearest my right shoulder crammed with some of my most recent reading material. In pyramidal order only and not at all stacked representative of any preference or lack thereof, here they are:

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If I had to choose a least-fave of the stack it would be Crichton’s State of Fear — not because of its attempt to debunk global warming as just a bunch of baloney (in fact I was quite interested in his contrarian perception of the phenomenon). Nah, beyond the blatant crapaganda, the book was just bad, driven by this odd hapless lawyer protag who somehow manages to survive Antarctic crevasses, lightning storms, assassins, flash floods, cannibals and more yet manages to remain utterly uninteresting through to the bitter end.

On the flip side, McCullough’s 1776 probably would get voted as my fave. But what I’m most proud of is that represented in this group is a fine percentage of local blogger talent: Rodger Jacobs’ compelling Long Time Money and Lots of Cocaine; Jessica Stover’s mystical Aidmheil; and Tony Pierce’s seminal How To Blog. I also read Wil Wheaton’s very fine Just A Geek, but it’s not pictured because it was part of the last group of books I donated it to the local library branch. Most of these are destined for the same fate. No longer a keeper of books as trophies, instead I prefer to practice catch-and-release, putting them back out there in the flow for others to discover.

Presently I’m reading Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, which Susan read several months ago. Larson spins a dynamic and engrossing nonfiction narrative that brilliantly weaves together the development and realization of the landmark 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the men who made it happen, with the lurid exploration into the black reality of notorious serial killer Herman Mudgett (aka H.H. Holmes) who used the fair to lure his victims to their deaths. It’s compelling to say the least.

And so’s my deadline. Back at it.