Friday, September 14, 2007

This morning I finished You Don't Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem.

This Lethem's latest book, and the first one of his that I have read. It tells the story of the quirky characters that make up a rock band that is in the early stages of being a band. They play music together, fool around together and interact with some other extremely artsy characters along the way.

The book starts slow but picks up after the band gets its first gig at an art event put on by a friend. There are strange complications as the band gets some strange new lyrics from an odd source that push them into new directions.

Overall, I liked it even though the characters were a little hard to understand. A few of them were complete ciphers while the others were more sympathetic but acted in odd, seemingly random ways at time.

Amazon Link: You Don't Love Me Yet

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I just finished The First American by H.W. Brands, a quite enjoyable biography of Benjamin Franklin.

In addition to covering Franklin's life, this book also provides a portrait of life in America when it was still just British colonies fighting with French colonies. I'd known the basics about Franklin since grade school but I didn't realize just how central he was to a lot of the pre-American Revolution diplomacy with Britain or to the work he did during the Revolutionary War while in France.

Franklin's transition from a loyal British subject to an advocate for independence is particularly interesting. Franklin stayed true to what he considered true English principles of rights, virtue and liberty all along and only when he was convinced that the British Parliament would not fairly apply those values to it's own colonies did he strongly defend those principles by urging his countrymen to break away from British rule and to stay the course when the war was going against them.

If you are interested in early American history or Enlightenment society, I'd recommend this book.

Amazon Link: The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin