13 September 2008

Stuff I've Been Reading 9


  • Fortress of Solitude - Jonathan Lethem
  • The Big Three - Peter May
  • King's Gambit - Paul Hoffman
I've been traveling all month and had ambitious plans to finish a few books. I figured I would have some down time waiting for trains or planes, or have moments when I had nothing do to. Instead I was always out and about and with people, dramatically cutting down on my time to read anything. Mainly I whipped through half of Fortress of Solitude during the plane ride to New York and a train to Washington DC. I took the opportunity to buy a whole bunch of stuff from Amazon and it all arrived during my one day stopover at home, in San Diego. In my excitement to receive my Boston Celtics 1985-1986 DVD, I finished The Big Three while neglecting everything else I was supposed to do.

I remember whipping through tons of books when I lived in New York (Jersey City) because I'd be able to read all the time while waiting for subways. I loved it. I could remain in my little zone and read, read, read, without the fear of falling asleep, which is always a possibility when reading at home. Commuter reading is totally the best.

While in New York, I had a chance to visit my publisher's office and they took me to the "book room." Imagine a super large closet filled with piles of books everywhere. I couldn't have been more excited and they further enhanced my childish glee by literally handing me tons of books to take with me. I couldn't get enough and was only restricted by how much I might be able to carry. It was a dream come true! And then my editor was kind enough to say "Oh if there's anything around you see published by us, tell me and we'll send you a copy."

Um, seriously?

The last book I managed to start this month was Hoffman's chess book. The first half of it is one of the better chess books I've read. Hoffman writes about chess in this really exciting way and illuminates many of the players and characters in chess. While "Searching for Bobby Fischer" is hard to beat for an emotional chess story, I have to say that Hoffman's book is quickly climbing my list of must-reads for chess enthusiasts. Next up, I want to read "Chess Bitch" by Jennifer Shahade, which I can't believe I've never picked up yet, even though I see it all the time.

Fred Waitzkin, the author of Searching for Bobby Fischer, has another chess book about Garry Kasparov called Mortal Games, which is sadly out of print but totally worth tracking down. I love chess books that tell a story of chess, whether it be personal or historical. If only I had the ability to actually play chess to the level where strategy books could become decipherable.  Sadly, I'm not even a patzer. But I'm starting to think I should turn my attentions to becoming a better chess player since my physical pursuits are clearly slipping.