Sunday, August 23, 2009

Playing Catch-up

I've fallen very behind with updates about the last few books I've read, so here's a quick recap before I'm off on vacation tomorrow.

Living on the Edge of the World
is a collection of essays by writers from New Jersey. I enjoyed it, as would anyone from the state would.

I picked up The Light in the Piazza by Elizabeth Spencer at the library. The title caught my eye because it had been a Broadway musical a few years ago. The library copy I borrowed was so old that it had a 1968 check-out date written in the back! Really more of a novella, it only took me a couple of hours to read.

Finally, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain De Botton piqued my interest when it was reviewed on The Daily Beast a few months ago. The author devotes each chapter to covering a different field of occupation, ranging from manufacturing to aviation to accounting (which I surprisingly found to be the most interesting). He spends part of the book describing different aspects of each field, then delves into more philosophical musings about the nature of modern work in general, like how increased specialization has created a disconnect between a worker's daily tasks and a fulfilling end result. It's partially my interest in economics that made me like this book, but it's also partially the author's voice. He sounds very upper-class, educated, and British, but somehow it's not off-putting. He occasionally veers into a mocking tone toward his subjects, but only equally as often as he adopts a mocking tone toward himself.

Now I'm off on vacation, leaving both work and New Jersey behind until Saturday. When I come back I'll have more pictures and updates on the (hopefully) many books I've read.

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