Currently Reading

If I showed you the list of books that I am reading right now, you wouldn’t even believe it. It gets out of hand when I can’t settle down into anything. Sometimes I have to read around quite a bit before I can settle into the right thing. I have to say that had no trouble at all getting into The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through The Madness Industry by Jon Ronson.

The book starts out with the fascinating story of a bunch of scientists who receive a mysterious book in the mail along with a note that more will be coming. Convinced that they have been targeted for special reasons, one calls journalist Jon Ronson in to investigate. He gets to the bottom of the story but along the way notices the way an act of madness can affect the lives of many, and this begins his search for the craziness of individuals which shape the lives of the masses. Meet the psychopath.

I am about halfway through and so far I have read the interesting history and the original (sadly failed) treatments of psychopaths, a case of an institutionalized psychopath bent on proving to the world that he is sane, Scientology and the roots of the organization’s skepticism of psychiatry, and key points on the Robert Hare Checklist, which is “the” method these days for diagnosing psychopathy. I am expecting that this will be a good one all the way through.

A couple of books that I expected to love are proving problematic for me. I just haven’t been able to get into them and enjoy them the way that I have wanted. One of them is The Raising, by Laura Kasischke. I was so excited about this book for so many reasons – Kasischke wrote In A Perfect World, (a novel I really enjoyed), it’s set at a university, it’s a mystery, there might be undead. You get the picture. It is getting rave reviews all over the place and I am so disappointed that I just can’t get into it. so This might not be one that you should take my word on, but I just haven’t been engaged by the book or very many of the characters at all. I think only Staci may have felt a little of my pain. The character who has interested me most is Mira Polson, the breadwinner for her husband and twin boys, vying for tenure at the local university and teaching a course on the paranormal. I think if I were to continue with the book, which I am on the fence about at the moment, she will be pivotal in figuring out what happened to Nicole, a dead girl, killed in a car accident who might not actually be dead.

Similarly I am having a hard time connecting with Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses by Claudia Sternbach, another book that has struck a sweet note with many of my book blogging friends, but so far not with me. The premise of the memoir is one that interested me greatly, the study of different kisses, and the meaning that they can take on in a lifetime. The memoir so far has been a bunch of recollections of childhood memories and seem to be very loosely tied in to what is set forth in the jacket copy. Sternbach is certainly a capable writer, I think I was just expecting a different kind of book.

Over the past week I dusted of my copy of that childhood favorite Little Women to see if I would feel the same way about it after all these years, and because the classic is the subject of an upcoming What’s Old Is New podcast with Kelly O’Connor McNees, author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. This is one that I had been reluctant to re-read, partly because after last year’s disastrous attempt at reading An Old Fashioned Girl (also by Alcott), I expected that I might not be up for her particular brand of moralizing. My estimation of the novel has suffered a bit with the re-reading. I really don’t care for any of Jo’s sisters, and I think I like Jo as much as I do because they are all so annoying in comparison. My crush on Laurie, however, endures, and I still refuse to forgive Louisa for what she did.

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