Monday, December 18, 2006

Another Two Quick Book Reviews.
The Best American Short Stories 2006.Selected by Ann Prachett.Houghton Mifflin Company.356pages.
These twenty short stories arent as the editor Ann Prachett says in her intro "actually a volume of the best stories in America.These are just the stories that I like best and I am full of prejudice and strong opinions".
And that in a nutshell is the problem.If you dont find your tastes the same as those of the annual guest editor you can be disappointed.Somewhat.I felt a similar sense after finishing Michael Chabons 2005 edition.And this despite this volume featuring such names as Tobias Wolff,Thomas McGuane and Alice Munro.
Nothing particularly memorable.No vivid images.Nothing you want to store away and plagarize later, dazzling your friends.
One advantage is that each year a new editor is chosen so i might luck out.And its still a good way to pass the daily 45 minute train trip by immersing oneself in reading even if your expectations havent been met.Theres always next year.

I Know You Got Soul by Jeremy Clarkson.Penguin Books.233pages.

I knew Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear a BBC motoring program.His breezy,light style as a TV presenter translates well to print.Subtitled "Machines with That Certain Something" the book is divided into short chapters devoted to a machine that he considers has a soul and are more than mere collections of wires and metal.He covers trains,planes and automobiles.He also includes the AK47 Theres a chapter on battleships with special mention of the Japanese battleship Yamato which he writes
was the most beautiful of them all.A mildly diverting book that can be read quickly.

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