A Tangled Web, Bel Canto, Et Tu, Babe, The Victorian Internet and Moneyball
Moneyball: I am not the audience for this book. I barely know the difference between a ball and a strike, let alone have a great appreciation for the minutia of baseball statistics. Nevertheless, it was interesting. Lewis is a good writer, but the pat I enjoyed the most was the epilogue. Partially because Michael Lewis discusses the reaction to the book and all the outrage it engendered. Partially because I was done reading the book.
The Victorian Internet, on the other hand, was a topic firmly within my wheelhouse. It’s about the development and set of cultural practices surrounding the telegraph - and the thesis is that the change created by the Internet was small potatoes compared to what happened with practically instantaneous communication during the Victorian era. Some of the parallels are clear, but in some cases it seems like Tom Standage is stretching a bit (for example, the love over the wires chapter), but it’s well written, an interesting topic, and overall, worth reading.
I have no idea what to say about Et Tu, Babe, which falls pretty heavily in the surrealist genre, and the main character is a ridiculous version of the author. I guess I enjoyed it? I’m not really sure.
I’d been putting off reading Bel Canto forever, and I’m glad I finally got around to it. It’s a novel that characterizes what happens when a group of terrorists in a small South American country accidentally holds the wrong group of people hostage and doesn’t quite know how to handle the inevitable fall out. It has a lot of opera references and lots of deference to the power of music (unsurprising, given the title), but in general, handled much of what could have been problematic very deftly.
Mercedes Lackey was one of my favorite authors when I was younger - she wrote one of the first pieces of queer fiction aimed at a mainstream audience that I have ever read. So when I saw one of her books for $2.50 on Kindle, I bought it without paying too much attention to the details. Turns out that A Tangled Web is an 80 page novella that falls on the romance spectrum - the main stories are romantic. Despite romances not being my thing, I actually enjoyed this book. It retells the story of Persephone’s kidnapping and marriage to Hades as one where Persephone is trying to escape from her overbearing mother (Demeter) and is a willing and active participant. There’s the unnecessary insertion of two of Lackey’s characters from another book, but in general, I liked this retelling that granted Persephone agency and control over her own destiny, and thought that it was a fun idea.