July 17, 2010 2 Comments
So, I’m off to the beach today. Hooray! (Expect slow blogging, but I’m sure some things will annoy me enough that I’ll feel the need to blog while staring at the Atlantic Ocean). And, hey, any of my loyal readers, you got something good to say and you want me to post it here; this week is the perfect time.
Anyway, on to the beach-themed book post. I’m taking two books to read with me. Michael Lewis’ Big Short and Deborah Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook. When you go to the beach (and don’t have a library or bookstore nearby), you want to take books you are confident you’ll like. Thus, it’s no coincidence I’m going with non-fiction. I’ve learned in my adult life of reading, that if there’s a non-fiction book I’m interested in and think I’ll like there’s probably a 90% + chance I really will. It is a rare, rare, non-fiction book I start and then don’t finish. Yet, with fiction, things are much more hit and miss. Perhaps as much as 1/3 of novels I begin, I end up deciding are not worth my time. And this is after the fact that I generally choose all my potential reads with much care. For me, at least, novels simply have much more risk/reward. There’s nothing in non-fiction (even Gladwell) that can compare to being totally transported to another time and place and absorbed by a great novel. But, when non-fiction doesn’t live up to its promise, it’s often still reasonably good. A failed novel, however, well…
I want to bring along a 3rd book, because these two non-fiction books are relatively short and I really hope to get a lot of reading done, but the problem with taking a novel (and I really don’t want to read 3 non-fiction in a row), is there’s a non-insignificant chance I won’t like it. I may just bring two– between The Financial Lives of Poets or Year of the Flood, surely I’ll like one. [I'm also bringing Coaching Soccer for Dummies, but that doesn't count]