Tome Taps and Spine-Dancing


If you set your clocks back you’ll gain an hour of reading time. I sure need it. By my bed is the Torre pendente di Pisa…a pile of must-reads that just may crush me in my sleep. It would nice if every time I finished one the pile would grow smaller, but I keep adding books. (Read one, add three…) It’s Sisyphean…a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.


Hemingway Deadlights

For pure pleasure I’m devouring Hemingway Deadlights, a mystery by Michael Atkinson in which Papa plays detective to hilarious results. Atkinson has a quirky, punch-drunk style that constantly surprises. There are laugh-out-loud slapstick sequences and bursts of absurdity. It’s that light headed vacation in Key West I’ve been looking  for. Pour yourself a shot and try the first few pages on Amazon. You’ll be hooked like a marlin.


The Lost SymbolI’m halfway through Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (The link really isn’t necessary, wherever you turn you’ll find a copy.) Okay, so this ain’t Lit (it’s Umberto Eco Lite) and there’s some really bad dialogue (see Maureen Dowd’s review), and you can bet the humorists are working on parodies…but…  you’ll still plow through the pages breathlessly, spinning with the twists and turns, determined to solve the Ancient Mysteries. I can’t fathom how Brown is going to pull off a satisfying ending.  But, Hell, if Janet Maslin liked it it’s good enough for me.  The Lost Symbol is just plain fun…a couple of lost weekends.

UPDATE (11/6/09): Hillary’s reading it, too.


Inside the KingdomNice when you can feed your head without obligation. I’ve just started a fascinating post 9/11 exploration of Saudi Arabia by Robert Lacey who has been there before and will be reviewing it on Zoom Street next month. So far so good.


D90 books


There are lots of good books on the Nikon D90 out there, like Nikon D90: The Expanded Guide by Jon Sparks (Ammonite Press) and still more are coming. Quite a vote of confidence in the model. Nikon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer’s Guide by Jim White and Tony Sweet just arrived. While it’s not D90 specific, it’s a worthy all-around guide for Nikon shooters—part of the Digital Workflow series from Focal Press. Has a nice chapter on “Nikon Glass” which is handy for considering your next lens purchase.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIESI’m thankful Amazon offers links to out of print books. The shelf life in the chains is about two weeks, so if it ain’t in the remaindered bin you’d be stuck reading bestsellers. I still haunt the few surviving used bookstores in San Diego, as well as online haunts like Powell’s Books and These are valuable nooks for discovering  authors you’d otherwise never encounter.

Browsing online, I stumbled into the elevator that opens a novel by Haruki Maurakami:


The next thing I knew… I’d ordered  Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End of the World.

My bedside tower will topple any day now.