As part of my 26 Books in 52 Weeks challenge I’ve attacked a couple more books. Rather than try to find something “interesting” to say about each one, I’m going to start lumping them together now.
Book number 7 was “A Spot of Bother,” an interesting enough novel about a british family coming to terms with, well, modern family life. In a lot of ways it reminded me of the TV show “Modern Family,” particularly in the way it dealt with issues like divorce, children, parents, and homosexuality. The basic plot was there’s this aging nuclear family: aging parents, grown daughter with child (divorced) and the gay son. The daughter is marrying a new guy while the dad is retiring and starting to go a little loopy. The basic story resolves around the 3 relationships, the problems, and how people are coping. Like any good Shakespearean comedy, it ends in a wedding.
Number 8 was “A Confederacy of Dunces,” which was recommended to me by my good friend Jim Bradley, who recently passed away. Dunces tells the story of an over-educated and under employed (employable) misfit and his misadventures fuelled by a sense of self-aggrandizement in New Orleans in the 80s. During the novel, we meet an array of characters, for whom our protagonist is a foil: the policeman, the rich playboy, the manager, the small business owner, and of course his mother. Any further description of this bizarre novel wouldn’t do it justice. It must be read to be believed.
Taking a break from fiction, I jumped into the sequel to “Freakonomics,” “Super Freakonomics.” If you’ve read “Freakonomics,” this is more of the same. With common questions (or things we take for granted) tested by data. If you liked the first one, you’ll enjoy the second. It’s a reminder that in our world there are really a lot of things that we take on faith, and without data, we have no way of confirming (or questioning) the assumptions we make.