Genna (noachoc) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

I started reading Clear and Present Danger in the middle of a discussion with the boyfriend about where marriage might lie in our near future. Although the boyfriend can rattle off a thirty minute rant on anything political or philosophical, he lapses into long periods of contemplative silence when queried about our relationship and, about a half an hour after I asserted that it was high time we wed, I got bored of watching him stare at the ceiling and went and got a book. Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy is about a (fictional) war on drugs, wherein the US takes actual action, secretly deploying covert troops to disrupt cocaine production at its source and dispatching planes to shoot down cartel shipments. I found it to be too long, too detailed, too "Let's see what happens to all of the minor fly-by-night characters". It was, I found, rather like lasagna, good at first, but growing more and more tedious every time I returned to it.

After that, as part of a deal with my father, I read All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Dad loves McCarthy but had refused to read The Road because it "looked grim". I'd read The Road and loved it, so I promised to read the other McCarthy's if he read that one. The thing about Mr. McCarthy is that he's got something against quotation marks. You can generally figure out who's talking from context, but you really need (or I do, anyway) a long period of quiet undisturbed reading time, because otherwise you might start listening to a conversation next to you and, before you know it, you've missed something important in the book. It's prettily written, the story of two boys with nothing better to do who take their horses and ride to Mexico to find work, but it wasn't really my sort of thing. I liked it pretty well in the end, but not enough to read the second book in the same volume.

Then, and this is something I hope you never have to read, I read something that, while not strictly a book, was 150 pages long. In Good Faith: Navigating the New Federal RESPA Rules, put out by the American Bar Association is really more of a gigantic memo. The attorney I work for, who knows I keep track of the books I read but is a bit foggy as to why, plopped it on my desk and said "Well, you should at least be able to count this as a book" and I agreed. It details the new good faith estimate form for mortgages and the new HUD-1 form for real estate closings and, in general, is very irritating.

And then, because Elizabeth Gilbert had recommended it in Committed, I read Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz. The discussions with the boyfriend have made me curious about marriage, so I've been reading up on it. This book, though not as personally useful as Ms. Gilbert's, was heavily informative without being too dense. It focused mostly on Western marriage, which was ok with me since that's the sort that affects me, starting with theories about pre-historic marriage, then moving through Greece, Rome, Europe and into America. My favorite bit was when Ms. Coontz mentions that husbands nowadays tend to claim that they do more housework than they actually do. She points out that, while most women would accuse these men of being insincere in their claims, it shows an important and positive cultural shift because husbands in the 1950's tended to claim LESS housework than they actually did, not wishing to admit to doing any "women's work". She said that this actually shows positive growth, since, while men still, in general, don't do as much around the house as women, they at least feel like they ought to be doing more than they are.


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