Recent books — Rock and Roll, Pratchett/Baxter, Atkinson, Montaigne

  • Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond. An interesting voice and some great stories. What slowly emerges through the stories is a collection of insights about the creative process and the demons that drive creative people — how the most creative artists create for their own needs, not by commercial success, and are driven to do so. Not clear it makes them happy either but is an imperative for them.
  • The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. At times fun but not amazing. Given these writers’ past works, this seems like an odd collaboration, and indeed it starts to feel a little strained, as if the authors were hucking chapters over the wall at each other, leaving the next guy an even more absurd collection of hanging threads to resolve. “I will see your intelligent turtles and raise you a race of intelligent beagles!” “Fine, I will add three more characters and narratives, let’s see if you can relate them
  • Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson. I don’t think she has a bad book in her, this is another fine effort. There were a lot of moving parts and between the character shifts and flashbacks I sometimes was left a little confused, but all came together nicely at the end.
  • How to Live by Sarah Bakewell. I’ve never read Montaigne. Perhaps I should. Apparently he was a proponent of living fully in the moment, so reading a book about his essays seems bassackwards. And 1/6th of the way in, I am basically bored. If the answers to the big questions in life are in here, I guess I won’t find them.