Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer reading

Hot summer days make for excellent times to read in a Pawley's Island hammock in the deep shade of our maples. Or, when it gets too blasted hot and still outside, under a ceiling fan (closest thing we have to AC). Recently I've gotten into several nonfiction books:

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E. B. Sledge. On Memorial Day I posted reactions to Sledge's compelling account of his service as a Marine in WWII. I was inspired to learn more about the war in the Pacific and to read With the Old Breed after watching HBO's excellent miniseries, The Pacific that was based, in part, on With the Old Breed and on Robert Leckie's A Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific. Leckie's book will be a future read for me.

Loaned to to me by my brother-in-law, I just finished reading a fish tale, Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish, by G. Bruce Knecht. Ever heard of the Patagonian toothfish? Perhaps you know it better as an offering on your favorite restaurant's menu - Chilean Sea Bass. Much of the story takes place in the treacherous waters of the Southern Ocean as Australia's Southern Supporter tracked poachers suspected of illegal fishing near Heard Island. But Hooked is a global fish story of how a little known fish was rebranded and became a runaway hit at trendy American restaurants. It is the story of pirates who feel they've done nothing wrong, of rich importers who go to great and often illegal pains to deceive regulators, and of lawyers who use every courtroom trick to make sure the pirates are back at sea using hi-tech means to take in huge hauls of fish. Ultimately though, Hooked is the story of how man's greed and technology has lead to the commercial collapse of many of the world's great fisheries.

On the fiction side, I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
While I found it a bit slow at the start, the pace of this thriller quickly picked up and it was tough to put down until all the twists and turns of this thriller were exposed. If you find a murder mystery, financial intrigue, an offbeat love story, and a dysfunctional family intertwined in a sprawling novel to be of interest, you will enjoy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a fun read.

During the heat of yesterday afternoon, I started Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire. I'm not that far into it, but like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the author is taking some time setting the stage and introducing the characters. I'm still uncertain where this story is heading but am looking forward to getting back into the lives of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist later today.

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