what I read in August 2020

The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures by Philip Mould

(Audiobook) Another fine book almost ruined by a terrible narrator. Why why why do publishers allow audiobook narrators of non-fiction to put on funny voices and/or ridiculous accents for each person? The stories behind the fakes, frauds and finds Mould discusses were fascinating; his extended riffs on the family issues, behavioural oddities and drinking problems of various collectors, experts and other gallerists were not.

Cool, Calm and Contentious by Merrill Markoe

I had high hopes based on the title, but it was less funny than I expected and a lot more sad.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

(Audiobook) I was curious to read this after watching the television adaptation and I have to say I have never seen a book-to-screen adaptation as faithful as this one. I enjoyed them both.

Keep It Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life by Twyla Tharp

A short book about the importance of staying physically and mentally flexible as one ages. It was okay.

Mobituaries:Great Lives Worth Reliving by Mo Rocca

(Audiobook) Rocca delivers well-written obituaries for a wide variety of people and things, both real and imaginary. He is particularly interested in US presidents, which I am not (current lunatic excluded), but his delivery is so entertaining I happily listened anyway. Recommended. 

More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman

(Audiobook) Uneven. The first half, comprised of “fake trivia and made-up facts,” was often very funny. The second half’s daily almanac was a bit dull and the list of 700 molemen names and occupations was brutal.

Plant-Based Meal Prep by Jackie Sobon

I haven’t gotten into meal prepping, but there are some good recipes here to try.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

(Audiobook) In the middle of a pandemic seems as good a time as any to read/listen to a story set in 1918, during the Spanish Flu pandemic. It’s well-written and obviously thoroughly researched, but just didn’t quite grab me. I wanted to know more about the characters and less about the medical details. By times, it seemed almost like a nurses’ manual: check this, measure that, do this, repeat.

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L Trump PhD

(Audiobook) Wow. Wow wow wow, what a horrible group of people. I know Trump defenders are saying she only wrote the book because she and her brother were written out of their grandfather’s will, and that may be true, but she wouldn’t have had anything to write about if they hadn’t all been so awful. A whole multi-generational family of sociopaths. Read this and feel much better about your own relations.