Saturday, June 09, 2012

What I Read in May

Bullets and Fire by Joe R. Lansdale  (an excellent short story from the master)
THE ROLLING STONES' EXILE ON MAIN ST. (33 1/3)  by Bill Janovitz
GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL by Jared Diamond (fascinating look at the influence of geography on societies)
A SHORT BIER by Frank Kane (great 1960 Private Eye tale) 

It was a strange, atypical month for my reading. I started and ended May with excellent crime fiction and sandwiched in some excellent non-fiction. My first '33 1/3' book focused on one of my favorite Rolling Stones albums and, as I hoped, opened my eyes to elements of the music I had never before considered. It deepened my appreciation for the songs while giving some good insight into the creation of this astounding collection. I don't know if I could ever name the Stones record that I would consider the best thing they ever did but this book makes a fine case for Exile as the choice.

The non-fiction monster was, of course, Jared Diamond's fantastic science book that explains the political and economic domination of Eurasian societies over cultures from other parts of the world. His well reasoned and scrupulously backed up thesis that the differences or gaps in power and technology between human societies are not primarily caused by cultural or racial differences but originate in environmental differences is logical and convincing. The edition I have had an additional chapter on the Japanese/Korean rift and could have been its own fascinating book length project. I understand this book has become regularly assigned reading at the college level in the sciences but I feel it should be taught in high schools in this country. It certainly establishes an intelligent way of looking at societal development that moves away from the asinine view that some races are better suited to power than others. 


Rhatfink said...

Was the Frank Kane novel a Johnny Liddell mystery? If so, I read one a while back called Trigger Mortis which was a blast. He's an author to keep an eye out for in the stacks.

Rod Barnett said...

Yes, it is a Liddell mystery an my first o Kane's novels. I'll be seeking more of them out.

Rhatfink said...

This is the blog where I first learned about Frank Kane: