27 September 2004

(Slow) Non-Fiction Reading

  1. Life Along the Silk Road by Susan Whitfield. I think I like the idea of this book better than the book itself. It borrows the structure of The Canterbury Tales to describe what life was like in the region of the Silk Road(s) at the height of its importance. So there's "The Horseman's Tale," "The Courtesan's Tale," and so on. Except it's the tale of each character, rather than a tale told by them (so I guess it's not so Canterbury after all). It's a great way to structure a history book--focus it on each character and what happened in their life. But it slips into events-and-dates history a little too often (unavoidably, perhaps) for easy reading. Whitfield is a Silk Road/Chinese History scholar, and it shows in her careful research. But it also shows in the writing. It isn't bad writing, it just isn't non-scholarly enough for a general audience (except a very determined one). Still, it was worth reading. I learned how very multicultural and dynamic that part of the ancient world was. Cool.

So, for a change my non-fic reading is . . . not very productive. As in I haven't been reading much of it. Next is a book on Shinto, then one on pigeons. Then maybe the bird evolution one I picked up ages ago. No, wait, there's a library book on airships first.

No comments: