What I’ve been reading

1. T. J. Clark, Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica.  I guess I had to read this one, but it did deliver as I had promised.  Excellent color plates, and overall a very good book (the best?) on what makes Picasso special.

2. C.P. Snow, Variety of Men.  Have I mentioned that most older books — beyond the immediate classics — are, well…crud?  But this series of portraits, covering such diverse figures as Ernest Rutherford and Robert Frost, is both entertaining and useful.

3. Julian Barnes, Levels of Life.  A subtle and moving short tale which cannot be described without introducing spoilers.  Avoids the problems which plagues some of Barnes’s less-deep works.  Right now out in the UK only, U.S. release coming later in the year.

4. Nicholas Murray, Aldous Huxley: A Biography, and Jeffrey Meyers, D.H. Lawrence: A Biography.  These are good books to read in tandem.

5. Mark Mazzetti, The Way of the Knife: The CIA, A Secret Army, and a War at the End of the Earth.  On the origins of drone warfare and also how the role of the CIA has changed.  The contents of this book, which cover secret intelligence (in a non-sensationalized fashion) are difficult to judge, but I can say it held my interest.


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