I was just thinking about two quantities: the number of posts I've made on this blog in the past few months, and the number of books I've read in the same time period. I've read at a steadier clip than I have in a while (though I suspect I might have missed recording a few in the August-September area). This might have something to do with the number of nonfiction books in the mix. Not only do they whiz along a little faster than Pale Fire or the entire Lowell-Bishop correspondence, but they tend to have large sections of endnotes. I'm talking about Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down and Dave Eggers' Zeitoun (not strictly nonfiction, but based on a real story).
The thing that struck me about both of these stories was the profound effect misunderstanding can have. In Fadiman's book, there's a total misunderstanding between doctors and patients, which leads to an outcome that neither group finds ideal. (Interesting to read in light of the current health care situation; this was written in the '90s about events in the '80s). In Eggers' book, it's the paranoia and blinders in an emergency situation - the kind of pileup of small misunderstandings that leads to total disaster that I tend to hear on This American Life.
In any case, I recommend both of them. The Fadiman book is a journalistic piece (though the author clearly cared deeply about her subjects) and the Eggers book is a novel that veers close to sentimentality and preachiness, but never gets there.
Well, there are your mini-reviews. Speaking of mini, okay, I'm on Twitter. There, I said it.
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