Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Lives of Penguins

Short biographies serve a certain purpose, indeed I picked up Jonathan Spence's bio of Mao just so I could sit idly on a sublime Saturday and read it in its entirety. Much like certain vogue advertisements, I felt empty about three minutes later. Other than broaching Mao's penchant for self-invention -- boy, that's an unusual trait -- Spence does make overtures to Mao's relative insular orientation and how the human catastrophe of his reign can be explained by his unfamiliarity with the myriad and protean. This is a stretch, but an understandable thesis in a 175 page book. There were exactly four pages of the Cultural Revolution. Two paragraphs were afforded to the Nixon visit.


Blogger jon faith said...

Indecision prevails. Noting a need for a novel last night, I hoisted Vollmann's Royal Family. I regret putting it down, largely as I was near tumbling to slumber.

I think I am going to read The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir.

8:20 PM  

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