Friday, February 04, 2005

Books: In Short

Thought I'd give a quick rundown of four books I read over the last week or so. The first two were a pair of Nero Wolfe mysteries, Please Pass the Guilt and All in the Family. Neither were really spectacular, both featured murder by bombing and the first was a bit too "psychological" and the latter was a bit too unbelievable, in regards to who the culprit was. Actually, most interesting about the latter was that it had a cover blurb from Kingsley Amis praising Rex Stout for the Nero Wolfe novels in general. I thought that was rather odd.

One of the other books was The Art of Discworld, which didn't have a whole of text (unsurprisingly). It was mostly illustrations of people (and a few places) from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. What was neat, though, was that Terry provided a lot of input on how the characters should appear, so they do provide a pretty good idea of what he had in mind. Interesting probably only to big fans of his books.

Finally, I read Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism by P.J. O'Rourke. He's a pretty funny guy and I laughed out loud two or three times a chapter on average, but he does tend a bit libertarian for my taste so I don't always agree. You really should pick the book up, perhaps just from the library, at least to read his descriptions of the anti-war protests in Washington D.C. And he made a particularly trenchant comment about the French (in a funny way) that I had never considered before. He pointed out that we should be eternally grateful to them because if we were ever uncertain about our course as a nation, we could know what to do by simply doing the opposite of what the French wanted. Perhaps a bit of a sweeping statement, but insightful nonetheless.