This post is not only a copy-paste of July’s reads, but also some additional mentions worthy of note. Again, I post it here to harness better SEO and tagging abilities, verses the info solely sitting as a static page under my Books category in the heading menu. I have two really exceptional podcasts to add:
Maybe a coincidence, but for me, listening to each in close proximity to the other felt like good synchronicity.
A book highlight of the month came in the form of an almost constant conversation about books during the two hour shuttle ride from my Vail hotel to the Denver airport. I sat next to a surgeon and we chatted Steven Pinker books, Erik Larson books, and Yuval Harari books. He walked away with an iphone note via my request to get a hold of both Jonah Goldberg books.
In July, I also learned that Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City fame relaunched an old publishing house. I’m genuinely looking forward to reading the book by the first author she’s chosen.
Early in the month I listened to The Porcelain Thief, Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China by an Asian immigrant residing about 15 minutes north of my Dallas home, in the suburb of Plano. It reminded me of how ethnocentrist the Chinese are. It was relevant but just ok.
Melding memoir, travelogue, and social and political history, The Porcelain Thief offers an intimate and unforgettable way to understand the complicated events that have defined China over the past two hundred years and provides a revealing, lively perspective on contemporary Chinese society from the point of view of a Chinese American coming to terms with his hyphenated identity.
I listened to another Daniel Silva book, The English Spy. I did enjoy it and his woven intelligent plot lines, but I also think I’m done running through the course for a bit.
Sicilian police inspector Salvo Montalbano has a way of finding himself in some truly oddball situations, but this time he outdoes himself, with the oddball gauge securely in the red zone from the get-go. It starts with a comical action scene: a crazed brother and sister open fire from their apartment window on the plaza below, prompting Montalbano to turn Spider-Man and scale the building, collaring the seventy something snipers. The inspector’s unlikely heroics are heralded in the press, prompting a curious response: someone begins sending Salvo peculiar notes, in rhyme, demanding that he take part in a treasure hunt. The clues seem only eccentric in the beginning, but as Montalbano follows the paths they chart, he begins to sense a sinister undertone.
And the truth is, I have three others downloaded on my Kindle I haven’t even started as the new month begins. We’ll see which I get to.
One riveting true story podcast I know I mentioned months ago is called Crimetown, about a Boston mayor and his close ties to the mob. The same producers put out The RFK Tapes. It’s about Robert Kennedy’s assassination at the Ambassador Hotel. Wow, I didn’t know the whole episode elicited almost as much conspiracy and conjecture as his brother’s assassination in Dallas. I highly recommend it! The seventh episode just dropped and I binged them all in three sittings. So good.
Otherwise, sorry for the lack of actual reading enthusiasm. Nothing bowled me over. I already know August, and going into fall, will be much more engaging on the book front. Already have the line-up and already have the pre-orders in.