77. I am America (and So Can You) by Stephen Colbert
I don’t watch his show on a regular basis, but when I do there are often things I find amusing about it, so I decided to give his new book a read. Like the show (at least for me), it was a little bit hit and miss. None of it was horrible, but there were some things I find very amusing and others that just didn’t really amuse me at all. At any rate if you like Stephen Colbert at all, it’s worth the read. I give it a 7 out of 10.
76. Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors, so I was super excited when I heard he had a new book coming out. Like most of his books, Bridge of Sighs is very character driven. It’s very hard to explain a plot because for the most part there isn’t one. It’s just people living out their lives in a small town in upstate New York. It covers about 50 years in the lives of the characters. The ending was a little hokey in my opinion. I wasn’t entirely thrilled with the book for that reason. At any rate I still enjoyed the book, although it won’t be ranked as one of Russo’s best in my book. I give it a 7 out of 10.
75. Billionn-Dollar Kiss by Jeffrey Stepakoff
A semi-autobiographical book written by a TV writer. He chronicles his own entry into the business and his career path. He also discusses the history of television writing and the profession in general. As well as how it had changed over time particularly with the advent of reality television. It was actually really interesting. Especially in light of the impending writer’s strike. Hopefully that won’t happen though since I really don’t want all my good new shows to disappear and be replaced by crappy reality television. I give it an 8 out of 10.
74. Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Filipovic
The diary written by a teenager in Bosnia during the war there in the 90’s. It was an interesting look into how a war you don’t understand being fought over political problems that you don’t care about can ruin your once normal life. It was really interesting to me to read the first part of the diary that was written before the war. I always had a tendency to picture people in Bosnia as poor and living a completely different life than me, which is completely not true. The author of the diary is 2 years younger than I am and was pretty much living a similar life as me when the war started. She was watching the same TV shows and movies, dreaming of the same actors and rock stars we all liked here. It made me realize how lucky I am to be living where I am, and how quickly things out of your control can bring your life as you know it to a halt. The one thing it didn’t do was really shed any light for me on what the war over there was really about. I myself was only in middle school when the war started, and as such although I remember it going on I didn’t pay any attention to what was really going on or what it was about. I was kind of hoping that the book would give me a little more insight. I give it a 7 out of 10.
73. Run by Ann Patchett
The story of events that bring variously estranged family members together. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t say anything about the estrangement or who the family is. I really liked this book. It actually felt too short to me. There were many more things that could have been explored particularly for the oldest son. There was one weird plot point that I didn’t feel like it fit. It was never fully explained, and it never affected any of the other characters so I’m not sure what the point was. Particularly since it made something else the author said in the beginning of the story not make much sense. Perhaps she decided to add the plot point in later and never connected that the two contradicted each other in a way. At any rate it was a really good read. I give it an 8 out of 10.
72. Away by Amy Bloom
This book started out really good, but after the first few chapters it took a turn in plot that in my opinion it never recovered from. It is the story of a Jewish Russian immigrant who comes to America after a her family is killed in a massacre of Jews in her village. The first part of the book describes her life in New York. It was interesting and I was looking forward to seeing where things went. But instead the book took a big turn with a long lost cousin showing up and telling her that her daughter is not dead as she suspected. The rest of the book covers her attempts to make it to Siberia to find her long lost possibly not dead daughter. I found this part of the book very boring and not nearly as interesting as what was going on before this part of the plot go introduced. I give it a 5 out of 10.
71. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
This book was boooooring. I could barely make myself finish it. Plus I really didn’t follow the connection I assume he must have been trying to make from chapter to chapter. I often didn’t understand how his points were supposed to connect. And in parts of the book he seemed rather whiny and self-important in that at least he believes he’s disproved some fundamental theory of economics and thus he’s so superior and the reason that everyone isn’t following his theory is that they’re too afraid and the academic system is corrupt, blah, blah, blah. At any rate the book was actually supposed to be about why people over and underestimate improbable events or things and thus screw up predictions etc. and what we should be aware of to try and prevent ourselves from doing it. I give it a 2 out of 10.