Glenn A Knight

Glenn A Knight
In my study

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Reading List: December 2012

During the month of December 2012 I finished two books that I had previously started, continued reading in one books that was underway, started and finished two books, and started five books that I did not complete by the end of the month.

H. V. Morton, A Traveller in Italy (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2002). H. V. Morton was a fine travel writer, and his book on Italy, originally published in 1964, is very good on the northern part of the country. (He has another book which deals with Rome.) I started this book on the fourth of November and finished it on December twenty-third.

Antonella Ansani, Complete Italian: The Basics Edited by Suzanne McQuade. (New York: Living Language, 2008). If I keep at it long enough, I'll actually learn some Italian. Magari! I started this book on November thirtieth, and I'm still working on it.

Christopher Duggan, The Force of Destiny: A history of Italy since 1796. (Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Compnay, 2008). The title, taken from a Verdi opera, indicates Duggan's thesis that the risorgimento, the unification of Italy, was really a conquest of the regions of Italy by Piedmont, under the leadership of Camille Cavour. Most of Italy was never enthusiastic about being taken over by the Piedmontese, and resentment still rankles. Together with Gilmour's book, The Force of Destiny paints a rather pessimistic picture of the prospects for a united and prosperous Italy. I started The Force of Destiny on September fifteenth and completed it on December ninth.

Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2012.) The first book of Hilary Mantel's trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, Chancellor to Henry VIII, won the Man Booker prize. So did Bring Up the Bodies. This is a rare double triumph, and a very, very good historical novel.

David Drake, The Road of Danger. (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2012.) By my count, this is the ninth in Drake's Royal Cinnabar Navy series starring Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy (Mundy of Chatsworth). Space opera, nicely done.

Jean Edward Smith, Eisenhower in War and Peace. (New York: Random House, 2012.) I found this one-volume biography of General Eisenhower both readable and informative. Smith takes Stephen Ambrose to task for his literary sins in various biographies of Eisenhower and Nixon, and he may make too much of the Kay Summersby affair (take that however you like). But he is thorough and even-handed, and I've seldom found 950 pages so easy to read.

David Sanger, Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power. (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012.) This is a very interesting book, and one which gave the Republicans in Congress and opportunity to criticize the administration for letting Sanger know too much. One supposes that President Obama's Machiavellian ways are partly natural and partly due to the financial and political constraints he faces.

Greg Harvey, Excel 2010 for Dummies. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Company, 2010.) I found this very helpful in my work, as proficiency in Excel is one of the mainstays of keeping my customers happy.

Poul Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader, compiled with an introduction by Hank Davis. (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2008.) This is a collection of stories, including one short novel, by the late Poul Anderson. Baen Books have now put out an extensive array of Anderson's work in about seven volumes. Many of the stories in this set were first published in magazines, largely Astounding/Analog, but including Boy's Life, and then previously collected in The Earth Book of Stormgate.

Robert Crais, The Monkey's Raincoat. (New York: Bantam Books, 1987.) I first heard of Robert Crais on National Public Radio. NPR aired a series of interviews with authors talking about how their work related to the cities they lived in. Crais, like Michael Connelly, is a Los Angeles writer. I was sufficiently impressed with Crais that I looked him up at Barnes & Noble. The Monkey's Raincoat may be his first novel; it was the earliest I could find. I believe we'll be reading more of Robert Crais.

Marcel Proust. A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (Paris: Gallimard, 1988 [1919]). The second volume of Remembrance of Things Past. A long-term project. I didn't get any reading done in this book during December 2012.

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