Books Read April 2014

I barely hit my goal of four books a month! I continued on the Kingkiller Chronicles and finished a couple books from Lois McMaster Bujold, who I learned about when looking at Hugo Fantasy winners. I also fit in one non-fiction book that had been on my “to-read” list for a while.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I loved this book, and now I’m ready for book three. Speaking of waiting for the conclusion of a story, George R. R. Martin said, “He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.” May both Patrick Rothfuss and GRRM finish their series soon!

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. I liked this book, but it fell short of what I expected from a Hugo Award winner. The story could have been told with many fewer words, although I don’t claim to know which words needed to be cut. There were some neat concepts; e.g., in this universe there are five gods who visit mortals. The gods grant blessings and bestow curses. There are also demons that can jump into human hosts and corrupt the person from the inside out, while granting some supernatural abilities.

Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. I had already completed the first book (The Curse of Chalion), so I continued on to this book. I preferred this one, perhaps because the story was richer for building on the realm of Chalion, which I had read a whole book about.

Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax. I thought this book made some good points, but I was ultimately unconvinced. In the introduction, Sax says that on college campuses females outnumber males 2:1; however, he also says that college is now 58% female and 42% male. 58:42 is not 2:1—it’s 1.38:1. From this point on, I was much more skeptical of the information. Sax’ five factors are video games, teaching methods, prescription drugs, endocrine disruptors, and devaluation of masculinity; of those, each have some merit, but it felt a bit like listening to an old person railing on young people. You know, “back in my day, men were men!” The evidence felt like a collection of anecdotes and a lot of just-so stories. Some of the ideas came across as shamefully outdated opinions, which is unfortunate. Why is it so highly rated? I suspect because there’s a huge selection bias—people who do not believe boys are adrift simply will not read the book.