Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Short takes: Oto x Maho, Light in August, The Coming of Bill, The Story of Philosophy, Dogs of Riga

In the middle of a bunch of books, don't know how many I'm going to bother finishing...  Good thing I'm not a professional reviewer, so I don't have to.

Oto x Maho is a fun magical girl story.  I can't imagine how it was stretched out to 13 books and counting, but I'm only 1/3 of the way through.

I'm very disappointed with Faulkner's A Light in August.  I love Cormac McCarthy's writing, and he supposedly has a large Faulkner influence, so I thought I would love Faulkner as well, but Light in August does nothing for me.  It feels too obviously symbolic right from the get-go, not like a living story.  (The problem may be in the narration; Faulkner may be a writer who should be read, not listened to, so I may give a different book a try some time).

Also disappointed in The Coming of Bill.  Wodehouse is one of my favorite authors, but I can't imagine giving this one to friends.  I think the problem is that the main characters are very bland, and so the situations are boring.

Dogs of Riga is not grabbing my interest, but I'm not sure why.  I'll give it another shot this weekend.

Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy is OK, and I'll probably finish it.  It's strengths are definitely the flip side of its weaknesses.  Durant is very good at contextualizing the philosophers and picking out salient points, but we also end up with a lot of Durant's opinions.  He feels, for example, that no-one gets excited by logic, and so gives Aristotle's logic short shrift; he skips from Aristotle to Bacon because he considers stoicism a bloodless philosophy.

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