Thursday, January 27, 2005

A Little Light Reading

I read _The Death and Life of Dith Pran_, a bound edition of the New York Times story written by Sidney Schanberg. It only took about an hour and a half, but now I feel I'm ready to read _Survival in the Killing Fields_ by Haing Ngor and Roger Warner. The book and the "Killing Fields" movie are intertwined as they share the horrors of survival under the Khmer Rouge, while the novel is Haing Ngor's memoir and the Times story and movie are about Dith Pran.

Another book I've read is _Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time_ by Dava Sobel. I know, it sounds dreadfully boring, but the author wrote a humorous account of the perils of old shipping lanes associated with not knowing where in the ocean you actually were; and of the race (which took decades) to discover a method for keeping track of time and place.

The novel I finished last night was Michener's _Caravan_. Silly me, I thought it took place in Africa somewhere. A personal preference is to not read what books are about beforehand. Hearing that "this author is good" or "this novel was interesting" is usually enough for me to try it out. I've been disappointed too many time by hearing rave reviews about a specific book and knowing too much about it beforehand to really enjoy the process of reading the pages. It never meets my preconceived expectations. But ANYWAY... this one takes place in Afghanistan and I really enjoyed his writing. What I found really intriguing was that it was written in 1963 and so much has changed from then, even from his comments about the Eastern Bloc. I'm certain I'll be giving some of his other books a try.

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