Ben Crowder / Blog

Reading — Prints 2.7

More reading this time round, because yours truly finally picked up Covid nine days ago. (We weren’t sure it was Covid at first, though, because we tested negative early on. For a while it seemed like just an obnoxious cold after all, but then on Friday I started getting waves of metallic-tasting nausea and that was weird enough to get me to test again.) We’re doing fine — my wife and kids have all fully recovered, and I just have some lingering fatigue along with the occasional metallic taste.

I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned this, by the way, but I try to be pretty non-spoilery in these reviews (if you can even call them that — they’re more microreactions, at least in my mind). Thus the typical dearth of detail about any given book.

Recent nonfiction reads

  • Attention Factory, by Matthew Brennan. I might not have been the audience for this one. Mild anthropological curiosity led me to it (I don’t use TikTok and what I’ve seen of it is so not me), but it turned out to not be all that interesting. The writing, too, was a bit too lackluster and dull for my taste. Given how little I care for social media and surveillance capitalism, I have no idea why I finished the book.
  • The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Loved this book. So good. The core message was of course more on the depressing side (what kind of starkly different world will our grandchildren inherit?), but pretty much every chapter was riveting to me. I seriously love reading about the history of science.
  • The Plantagenets, by Dan Jones. Also really good. I admittedly abandoned it for months because I was having trouble keeping track of all the names, but serializing my nonfiction reading (back down to one book at a time) worked, as did slowing down and subvocalizing. This book is quite readable and I very much enjoyed it. Though the endless wars did get a bit tiresome. (For me, peacetime is much more interesting to read about.) Anyway, looking forward to reading Jones’ book on the Tudors.
  • On Reading, by Nick Parker. Super short, and maybe not expanded as much from his blog post as I’d prefer, but overall I liked it. The paper museum idea is intriguing. And the typesetting of the interior made me happy.
  • The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, by Louise Perry. An uncomfortable book that describes some atrocious, awful, heartbreaking things. But an important book nonetheless, I think. I found it interesting to read a secular take on the subject — one that doesn’t fully line up with the law of chastity we have in the Church, but a little more aligned than the sexual revolution itself is (which is admittedly not hard to do). The last chapter is less dismal, but I’d still make sure to read something happy after this.

Recent fiction reads

  • Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo. Dark and rough and creepy, with some super uncomfortable parts. But overall, ignoring those bits, I liked the book.