As quickly as I finished my last book (quick because it was a simple YA novel), I finished this one just as quickly because it really gripped me. Sure, it’s the sort of story you’ve heard a bit before, or seen in the movies (The Italian Job, Ocean’s whatever, The Town), but Peter Spiegelman ups the ante by making his novel smarter than all those ones combined (I imagine it will be made into a movie soon too). Spiegelman’s Wall Street background no doubt helps with this, but he really puts a lot of work into the other details of the job as well. Plus, there are plenty of memorable characters: Carr, Declan, Valerie, etc. In the end, as Carr wonders who he can trust, you find yourself uncertain of who he can trust as well, which makes the payoff ultimately very satisfying. Riveting.
I cruised through this one fairly quickly. I felt like Standage could have written individual books about each drink he talked about, but I was grateful that he didn’t. There were times when I thought he just kind of let his thoughts trail off at the end of the chapter, but then I got excited as he started up on a new drink. Very interesting and obviously well researched.
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This could have been a snoozer, but Joshua Foer actually takes an interesting historical look at memory, doesn’t delve into too much silliness about Google replacing our memory, and even makes memory competitions sound more interesting than they deserve to be. Fun read for non-fiction.
It amuses me that this book reads as if Richard Dawkins has given up talking to his foes as adults, and instead decided to talk to them as children. And somehow, it totally works and is probably far more effective than any of his recent books.