Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The Beauty of the Beastly
I usually read and enjoy Natalie Angier's columns in the NY Times, and I think that may have affected my enjoyment of The Beauty of the Beastly. It's a compilation of (mostly) re-worked newspaper columns and as a result, nothing felt fresh. Angier has a crisp, readable prose style, and I enjoyed learning tidbits about snake venom and cheetahs, but as a whole, the book felt slightly disposable. Perhaps it would be more enjoyable as a time filler - an 'emergency book' left in a car so that one could randomly pick an essay to read while waiting for someone or something - than as a cover-to-cover read. Maybe the problem was in the editing. Either way, a few weeks after finishing the book, I remember more about reading it (standing on the platform at Suburban Station waiting for a train that came 25 minutes late, carrying it into a movie theater in case I arrived before the friends I was meeting) than its actual contents. I enjoyed it, but (unusually for me) retained almost nothing.