Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Maybe he's caught in the legend

There are some good looking books on the horizon.

Steve Coll, author of the indispensable Ghost Wars, has a new book out on the Bin Laden family and Saudi society. Called the Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in an American Society, I hope it gets more coverage than previous books on the Saudi-American relationship did. If you have any interest at all in the US relationship with Afghanistan, then Ghost Wars is a must read. If Bin Ladens is half as good it will still probably be one of the best international relations books of the year.

Michael Chabon, one of my favorite writers, appears to reference my favorite REM song with his latest Maps and Legends. The book is a defense of genre, for which I can only say, huzzah!

Foreign policy writer Fareed Zakaria has a new one called the Post-American World. This would be interesting to read along with Parag Khanna's recent Second World. Fans of declinist literature will have their hands full.

Finally, Neal Stephenson is going back to classic scifi. There is not much information on it, but Nerd World has some details.


Nonanon said...

Thanks for the heads up on these books.
I've got "Bin Ladens" at home and am excited to read it--but couldn't believe there were NO other holds/requests for it at my public library when I requested it. Meanwhile there's hundreds of holds for "Skinny Bitch" and John Grisham's latest. It made me sad for some reason. No one even wants to THINK about Saudi Arabia, the middle east, oil, politics, and family connections? I guess not. I find that disheartening.

Tripp said...

Lucky you! I hope you review it soon. I think I have to own a copy of this one, so I am going to wait for Powells to put it on their 30% off list, which I am sure they will do.

It is sad that so few people want to read substance instead of the likes of Grisham and Skinny Bitch. Are the holds on Iraq books down as well?

Nonanon said...

Holds on Iraq books? You must be joking. I can get any of those from the library instantly. Other than the "big name" Iraq books, such as titles by Bob Woodward, there's never been any kind of waiting list for those. Evidently other people don't want to read downer nonfiction any more either.

On the other hand, I should probably be grateful for anyone buying any kind of books, including Grisham. But does ALL reading have to be escapist?

Tripp said...

Well it certainly shouldn't be, but there is lots of it, no? I tend to be drawn to escapism in my fiction and prefer the darker realities in nonfiction.

It seems that the holds out here are driven by the NYT book review. Anything that gets reviewed gets a pile of holds