Thursday, August 07, 2008

What I'm reading ...

I have eclectic tastes in reading, and usually have multiple books going at once. I've been reading some good stuff lately, so I thought I'd share:

His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik. I saw a review of the newest book in the series and thought it sounded like something I would enjoy, so I started with the first one. I was right -- I really enjoyed it. The stories are set during the Napoleonic wars, and the twist is that all the countries have, besides armies and navies, dragons! It's very cool, sort of Master & Commander meets Pern, but different. Novik writes consistent with the style of the era, her characters' attitudes reflect that time, and her descriptions and characterizations are vivid. Now that I've finished the first one, I can't wait to get hold of the next book in the series and see what happens to Temeraire (the dragon) and Will Laurence, his aviator.

The River at the Center of the World, by Simon Winchester. Back about 1995, Winchester took a voyage of the Yangtzee and this book is his account. It's also a voyage through Chinese history and it's fascinating. This is one of his earlier books, but I picked up a recent reprint this summer and I'm enjoying it (I haven't finished it yet).

Graphic Discovery: A Trout in the Milk and Other Visual Adventures, by Howard Wainer. I found this book about the development of information graphics when I was looking for a book by Edward Tufte in the K-State library. I suppose it's more of a textbook, but Wainer's style is engaging and the subject interests me. I deal with charts and graphs in my work and have always been interested in them. This book, along with Tufte's work (such as The Visual Display of Quantitative Information) are good explications of the subject.

Coming up is Merciless, by Robin Parrish, the final installment of his Dominion trilogy. I'm eager to get into this. I also just bought Water for Elephants, which everyone tells me is an excellent book, and The Jesus Creed, a book I've been meaning to read for a long time.

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