Recent Books — mostly modern fiction

* “Spindrift”:amazon by Allen Steele. First contact novel. Fine effort. Not particularly innovative but entertaining. The guy has won a bunch of SF awards so perhaps I should try some of his other work
* “Beyond Black”:amazon by Hilary Mantel. I’m not sure why I sti\uck with this. Tale of a medium in touch with the spirits of people from her troubled early life, and her own sorting out of that history. The characters are not particularly attractive. Something about the process of digging through troubling events of your childhood with eyewitnesses was appealing tho.
* “Red Cat”:amazon by Peter Spiegelman. One in a series of mysteries featuring PI John March. A great character and a great story of deeply flawed relatives and families. Worthy of the accolades it has received.
* “The Futurist”:amazon by Othmar. An entertaining farce. Witty. Probably won’t age well so read it now (I don’t think Catch-22 has aged well for instance).
* “The Traveller”:amazon by John Twelve Hawks. A novel in the illuminati genre, opens with great scenes and good characters. But sadly doesn’t develop much after that. The characters gain no emotional or moral depth and the plot is pedestrian. The author sets up a lot of storylines for subsequent books at the cost of this individual tale. If I’m at an airport and novel 2 is on the shelf I’ll buy it, but I’m not driven to find out what happens to these characters.
* “The Bowl Is Already Broken”:amazon by Mary Kay Zuravleff. I gave this 70 pages and then folded. The writing was just ok, but the characters were boring — lots of quirky elements but not emotionally engaging. The story seemed to be diving deeper and deeper into the petty politics of the museum world but seeming less and less relevant to any other walk of life.

And one non-fiction:

* “How Doctors Think”:amazon by Jerome Groopman. Ok I didn’t really like this book. Some insight into doctor’s minds. But a lot of very articulate whining about how tough their lives are and how patients have to be more empathetic. Boo hoo hoo. The lives of sick patients are tough too. And most of the discussion is about really smart committed docs and how they struggle. In my experience docs exhibit a range of IQ and commitment and many of them exhibit less thoughtful behaviour. He does talk about some of the economic influences affecting doctors but he largely gives the profession a pass on this. I think there is a more painfully truthful story to tell.