What I’m Reading: June 2007

^ above: The contents of my bedside table at the moment, mostly unfinished – does this indicate an inability to concentrate?

Shalimar the Clown, by Salman Rushdie – I like Rushdie, but am finding this one more wordy and obscure than I’m currently in the mood for.

A Season with Verona, by Tim Parks – This book, which I’ve actually now finished, is the second of Parks’ books I’ve read about life in Italy (the first wasItalian Neighbours). I was never interested in this book; it follows a season of the Hellas Verona football/soccer club, and I just don’t care about football outside the World Cup. But Ravil and Amanda lent it to me and recommended it, and it turns out that I loved it. Parks has managed to:

  • make me sympathize with, if not understand, the depth of fans’ feelings for their teams
  • explain some of the arcana of how the national football league and championships technically work
  • explain some of how these things really work – had I read this book earlier, last year’s corruption scandal would have come as absolutely no surprise
  • make a tense and exciting story out of the vicissitudes of a fairly ordinary small-town team – in part sheer luck: the year he chose to do this was full of cliff-hangers for this team

The Naked Truth, by Margaret Heffernan – I heard a presentation by the author over a year ago at the Professional Women’s Association of Milan. Bought the book and had it autographed, but haven’t managed to finish it yet. It seems to be about how women are still not treated equally to me in professional jobs, and therefore should help each other in the workplace.

Forbidden Cargo, by Rebecca K. Rowe – The author is a friend of friends, who gave me the book. (There’s a funny story about her getting into trouble with TSA carrying a box marked “Forbidden Cargo” through a security checkpoint.) The book itself is sci-fi and fairly interesting so far, though not as well written as I would like.

India Discovered, by John Keay – Fascinating account of how the British colonists uncovered India’s lost, ancient history (I’m sure they were joined by some Indians, but I haven’t reached that part of the story yet). Makes me want to go back and visit some sites I saw 25 years ago, and some I have yet to see at all.

Consciousness Explained, by Daniel Dennett – Interesting, but I’m finding it slower going than Breaking the Spell.

Gomorra – (in Italian) About organized crime (the Camorra) in Naples. Just barely got into it; it’s good, but bound to depress me. The author is of course under threat of death now.

Head First HTML, by Freeman & Freeman – This book is designed to be used more than read, with a pencil to write in answers on some pages, and exercises to be done on the computer. So I’m going about it all wrong, lying in bed reading it. But still managing to get something out of it. My eventual plan is to redesign my site (again) completely in CSS, but that’s probably a few years off.

Grazia – An Italian women’s magazine that I bought only because some of my blogger friends are in this issue.

New York Times Crosswords – This was my favorite relax-before-bedtime pastime, but, with middle-aged deterioration in my vision, I’m finding it increasingly hard to read the fine print. Damn!

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