Recent Books — FDR, Hollinghurst, Vance, 5th Wave, Amis, Poul Anderson, Kress


  • Traitor to His Class by H. W. Brands. A fine biography of FDR. The title led me to believe that it would be a little more focused on the conflict between his policies and the monied elite, but it was really a general biography of the most influential president of the last century.
  • The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst. Snooty acclaim but I am giving up. The “oh my gosh they were secretly gay” idea just doesn’t do it for me anymore, you can’t carry a story on this point, it’s like trying to revolve a story around “he was secretly left-handed!”. Maybe 30 years ago this would have been interesting. Not now.
  • Maske: Thaery by Jack Vance. Classic 70’s science fiction, some sort of Vance appreciation society is pulling these out of the back catalog and getting them out in e-book form. His characters seem stilted and awkward, age hasn’t treated them well, and yet a compelling tale.
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Beginning of a YA series about an alien invasion of Earth, appealing due to the shades of gray in the characters. I’d read more.
  • Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. Eh. An over-ambitious grasper stumbles his way to success. The character is unappealing and I just don’t get him. Supposed to be funny.
  • The High Crusade by Poul Anderson. What a great fun book, a piece of classic science fiction that has aged very well. A blast.
  • Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress. A nice concept but the story doesn’t go particularly anywhere.

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