25 April 2010

My Earthquake Phase

I listened to an audio book recording of 1906 by James Dalessandro about two months ago. Not the best novel I've ever encountered, but it delivered a dose of painless history, about which I can't complain. Since such a book necessarily contains some embellishments and actual fiction it made me curious about the facts of the actual event, the San Francisco earthquake and fire in April 1906.

This led me to another audio book, A Crack in the Edge of the World, by Simon Winchester. This is a serious exploration of the modern science of geology, plate tectonics, and how this all relates to the 1906 earthquake. I thought the book was terrific, and very informative, but this reviewer doesn't agree, and says it's inaccurate and poorly done.

Bryan Burroughs of the New York Times Book Review didn't like it, either. He says it's "...the kind of book where an author spreads the paint around - that is, goes wandering down endless back alleys in hopes of finding something interesting..."

Maybe that's what I wanted. After all, both of these were audio books that I listened to while driving back and forth to work. They relieved the boredom of being confined in an automobile, stuck in the flow (or lack of flow) of traffic, without compromising my attention to driving.

Ah, well.

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