December 22, 2010

In praise of literary crack

I usually fill in the blogging days between Christmas and New Year by going over the highs and lows of the year in reading. I'm jumping the gun a little bit now to say a few words in favor of literary crack.

Ordinarily, I have about five books going at any given time, often of a fairly solemn nature. I try to turn the page of each twice daily. At the moment, my pile includes Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (I'm up to Justinian), the Bhagavad Gita, Beowulf, Collapse by Jared Diamond, and a book on Tolkien.

But sometimes you've just got to blow it all out with some fun stuff. This week that meant listening to an unabridged audio of volume 2 of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's vampire trilogy The Fall. I mentioned volume 1, The Strain, here a while back.

These are not wimpy, sparkly, sexy or existential vampires. These are gross nasty viral parasites with bloodworms that do all kinds of nasty things, of which blood sucking is way down the list.

Reading something like this is kind of like gorging on burgers from White Castle or Five Guys. Not something to do every day but damn good every now and then.

I can't wait for volume 3.

END OF AN ERA. Here's an item on the departure of Don Blankenship from Massey Energy. The link includes video as well as text.

DENY THIS. Here's a profile of a pioneering climate change scientist and his work.

THE NEXT BAD DEAL? Dean Baker predicts a looming fight over the future of Social Security.

IN LIEU OF BARBIES, girl chimpanzees may play with sticks as if they were dolls.


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