The title of this post is declarative, when in fact it should appear a bit more harried: italicized, containing a completely capitalized word, punctuated by both a question mark and an exclamation point. What am I NOT reading right now?! is more representative of the current state of things, at least from the vantage point of my mind’s eye as it peers down on several, still climbing stacks. Each book in each stack has at least one thing in common: a random slip of paper stuck out like a contemptuous or taunting tongue. My response to that imagined judgment is more books, new stacks. I haven’t managed to find more forebearing strips of paper.
I recently read – and loved, and completed – Rise of the Rocket Girls, and for this reader, already prone to wanting all the books on astronomy and astrophysics and those containing the word galactic, Holt’s book ignited a need for other new titles of the same or similar ilk. So I went searching. Enter (eventually) Lisa Randall’s Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe, which, based on the title alone, contains in one book two tremendously awesome things.
Here, at least, I’ve found myself slowed (read: bogged) down by the amount of repetition in the chapters. One can appreciate the author’s intention to explain things in so many different ways as to ensure hitting on one that will make concrete sense of a subject rarely brought up in casual conversation, and yet…After a while I found the repetition groan-inducing. So I put Dark Matter down. But I have every intention of picking it back up. (In the meantime, I went and gleefully got myself Brian Switek’s My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs. More on that book, potentially, in another post. (Spoiler: I’m loving it.))
I’ve “met” Kenny the Fish, this book can go home. (Except not really, because Kenny is the tip of the iceberg.) Emily Voigt’s The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish, with its tight focus on the Arowana fish, prized for the alleged good luck and fortune it brings to its owner, began with a murder in Taiping, Malaysia then quickly moved across the map to the South Bronx, where an illegal alligator had taken up residence with a small family in their cramped apartment. Then there was Kenny, and tales of risqué photos featuring strategically placed fishbowls.
The beauty of this book just might be found in the turns it takes geographically, narratively, each chapter twisting away from one story to a new event, to another person whose life was in some way altered by these fish. In that way it’s an easy book to sample, to partake in a chapter here and there, which is why I’ve only just left Kenny on his fish farm.
(If the next wave of superheroes includes a genetically enhanced Arowana-man, I wouldn’t be surprised.)
So there are a few of the titles on top of those stacks. I’m sure the rest will make up another post down the line.