45. The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky: A True Story by Ken Dornstein
I decided that reading this book on a plane probably wasn’t the best idea. It’s a true story written by the brother of one of the victims on Pan Am flight 103 that was taken down by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland. The beginning of the book describes the author’s trip to Lockerbie a number of years after the death of his brother in order to try to come to grips with it. This includes a description of what happened to the plane and what the passengers probably experienced when the plane went down. This was the portion of the book I was reading on the plane.
The majority of the book however talks about the author’s life, his brother’s life, and their relationship. The dead brother very obviously had some mental problems. Their mother was manic depressive, and although it seems he is never specifically diagnosed, I’m guessing he was too. The author also seems to have some mental issues whether he realizes it or not. The dead brother was trying to be a famous writer and failing miserably at it. Basically all he did was keep tons of notebooks detailing everything about his life and including the beginnings of many unfinished stories, none of which sounded any good to me. The author spends years of his life reading through these notebooks and trying to recreate his brother in some fashion. Although the beginning of the book was interesting, it got really tedious continuously reading about these stupid notebooks and the ridiculous things the author did over the many years after his brother died. I give it a 4 out of 10.
44. Father Knows Less or “Can I Cook My Sister?”: One Dad’s Quest to Answer His Son’s Most Baffling Questions
Basically the author finds experts to answer the questions kids ask like “Where do babies come from?” and “Why is the sky blue?” The questions come from his own childhood, his son, friends kids, and questions contributed by his readers (he writes from the NY Times). He also prefaces each chapter and then certain questions with stories from his life. In a way it reminded me of The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs, in which he details his reading of the Encyclopedia Britannica in one year. In that book he told stories of his life while contributing the factual information he learned by reading the encyclopedia. It was a pretty quick read, and pretty interesting. I give it a 6 out of 10.
43. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
I picked up this book because I had read the book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by the same author and really enjoyed it. In the book she covers the history of sex research. It contains a lot of factual information, but it is presented in a light and sometimes humorous way. There are lots of footnotes (pretty much almost one on every page) where she inserts her own thoughts and musings on the things she’s researching. These are often the most amusing parts of the book. It’s a great combination of facts and humor that makes for an enjoyable read. I give it an 8 out of 10.
42. I Was Told There’d be Cake by Sloane Crosley
A book of essays about various events in the authors life. It was an average book. Not wonderful, but not bad either. It kept me entertained while I was reading it, but it’s not anything I would rave about. So if you happen across it I’d say pick it up, but don’t go out of your way to read it. I give it a 6 out of 10.