What to buy at the airport

by Chris Bertram on April 7, 2008

What to do on planes, apart from sleep, follow the route on the screen or go deaf trying to hear to movie soundtrack? Well read, of course. But I’ve found that Tolstoy doesn’t really do it for me there, in departure lounges or even in similar situations (buses and trains). So it is thrillers, crime, “mystery” (as they appear to call it in Powell’s bookstore) for me. My most recent indulgence is Lee Child’s Reacher series, and most recently his _Bad Luck and Trouble_ (which I picked up in LAX on the way to Portland – I had to buy when I read the blurb: the hero is in Portland and has to rush to LA).

For those who don’t know, Reacher is a former military policeman from the US Army, with a taste for classic blues, who is spending his retirement in semi-vagrancy discovering the country of his citizenship (he grew up on military bases overseas) and gets sucked into defeating an improbable series of wicked conspiracies. Child (a Brit) writes decently and his plotting holds the attention. And whilst you wouldn’t call Reacher a liberal, he has a pretty jaundiced attitude towards the claims the American right (and indeed official America) makes for itself. There are a few weaknesses: Child makes too many plots turn on amazing coincidences and you can confidently place money on one of the apparently nice cops/FBI agents/similars turning out to be in the pockets of the bad people. So far, though, these have been forgivable flaws.

Hat tip to Steven Poole, who mentioned Child “here”:http://stevenpoole.net/blog/books-of-the-year-2007/ .

Congrats to this person

by Eszter Hargittai on April 7, 2008

I didn’t know Brian Donovan until I saw this video he posted on YouTube after which I feel like I know him a tiny bit. He’s an alum of the Northwestern Sociology Department and he’d been involved with the excellent Culture Workshop that I attend whenever I can. That’s how I heard about his tenure and this fun way in which he’s decided to let people know about it. Congrats, Brian!

Citing blogs

by Henry Farrell on April 7, 2008

“Andrew Gelman”:http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2008/04/faces_and_elect.html politely suggests that he deserves some credit.
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