Summer’s over: I just finished the last of my summer reading. (Not by choice, but since Labor Day marks the official end of the season, I’ll say I’m over.) The final book I read, the novel Pattern Recognition, was one of the more intriguing of the list. While I can’t recommend it to most readers, I think the Amazon.com description of it is fairly accurate, and may reveal why I found it intriguing.
The first of William Gibson’s usually futuristic novels to be set in the present, Pattern Recognition is a masterful snapshot of modern consumer culture and hipster esoterica. Set in London, Tokyo, and Moscow, Pattern Recognition takes the reader on a tour of a global village inhabited by power-hungry marketeers, industrial saboteurs, high-end hackers, Russian mob bosses, Internet fan-boys, techno archeologists, washed-out spies, cultural documentarians, and our heroine Cayce Pollard–a soothsaying “cool hunter” with an allergy to brand names.
Imagine being a marketing “cool hunter” (trendspotter) and having an allergy to brand names. That’s the kind of set-up I enjoy.
Other highlights from the summer reading list (you can click to them from my Recently read, 2003 list on the left column of any rexblog page).
Moneyball – Anything by Michael Lewis is worth reading, even if about two topics I have no interest in: baseball and baseball statistics.
Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson should win the history Pulitzer for this amazingly understandable and witty explanation of all things great and small. Think John McPhee meets Dave Barry.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life – Walter Issacson will win the history Pulitzer for this fascinating look at the Founding magazine publisher.
Charlie Wilson’s War – Can three books win the history Pulitzer? This book reads like, but could never make it as a novel. The characters are too outrageous and the plot too unbelievable. What a yarn, though.
Life of Pi – Just got around to reading it and now understand why the people who recommended it to me kept doing so.
A few other books read and enjoyed, but not as much as those above: Under the Banner of Heaven, God’s Secretaries, Bankok 8.
And then there were a couple I won’t mention.
(Oh, yes. And I got to read and comment on the manuscript of a novel to be published next spring by the only friend I have whose had every novel she’s ever written make it to the NY Times bestsellers list. The new book is great and I’ll blog it next spring or whenever she tells me it’s okay to.)