This was an inteersting book about art theft in Ireland. It was a little all over the place, but mostly covered two high profile robberies that took place at a famous house called Russborough which was robbed twice over a few decades. The author talks about how the thefts occurred and then backtracks and explains how the police figured out various things and how the criminals were caught. Along the way we get a decent history of the Irish police force and some lessons in art history. While I might have preferred a more straightforward narrative approach [i.e. just sort of linear and sequential] I did feel that I learned a lot of things that were otherwise sort of tangential to this story that I would not have learned otherwise.
I read this book during a week that I was blogging for BoingBoing. As a result, the book is full of little scraps of paper where I put a note to look more stuff up about whatever topics online. I enjoyed reading this book, enjoyed Brooks' tone and felt like he did a lot of the extra work that took interesting science problems and conundrums and made them into a book that was a fascinating read, in many times inteviewing people who had been at the heart of a science controversy several decades ago. I have the same criticism that other people had -- the book suffers [to my mind] from the inclusion of homeopathy which [again, to me] falls more into the “woo woo” scale of non-sensemaking then say “why is the universe continuing to expand?” sorts of questions.
I’m sure that Bill Buford is a delightful man, but this book struck me as another in the series of “Bill hangs out with people who are vaguely sociopathic and makes what they do seem almost noble” stories. If you’re a foodie, you’ll really love the explanations of what goes on in a three star restaurant kitchen, and you might enjoy the tantrums and general bad behavior from the fancypants chefs. I enjoy Buford’s writing a great deal but he always seems to hang out with assholes who I get tired of reading about.
I haven’t read this book probably since high school or possibly college. It’s aged sort of weirdly. It’s like many young adult novels are nowadays, full of drama and bad parents and girls getting pregnant. However, unlike books nowadays, the teen who gets pregnant doesn’t have the legal abortion option, so the drama is even more dramatic and depressing.
Zindel always had a good ear for kid/parent interactions and each of these kids is so clearly a product of their weird families and the baggage that they bring into their young adulthood. At its core, it’s the story of two girls who are friends, the popular one with the terrible stepfather and the dumpy one with the decent family. The popular one is mean to the dumpy one, etc etc. I still enjoyed it, quick read that it was because the kids seem so teenlike. Even though I’m now reading it through an adult’s eyes, it really felt like the high school that I remember, hellish and dramatic and not as big a deal as I thought it was at the time.