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Bellwether by Connie Willis

December 14, 2009

A number of friends had recommended that I try some books by Connie Willis. She has a reputation for being funny, smart, and witty. I borrowed a copy of Bellwether from a friend, and although I read it quickly, I discovered that the book didn’t age well. The main character in this novel researches fads and how they start. She works at a large corporate research company, along with biologists, physicists, and other scientists. While some of the humor in this book really did make me smile–particularly the jokes about corporate culture–many of them fell flat. I ultimately realized that this was often because the world has changed enough in the past thirteen years that the fads of the 90s are no longer really interesting to me. The constant references to “cafe lattes” (did we really call them that then?) and “anti-smoking fads” just don’t seem funny to me. If someone wrote a book just like this last year, I think I might enjoy it more. I did like the writing, though, so I’d like to try another book by Willis. Perhaps I’ll try To Say Nothing of the Dog. Since that book is about time travel, perhaps it won’t be quite so dependent on the trends during the time it was published. I’m always on the lookout for funny books, because I tend to get bogged down when I read too many serious books in a row. So I’d be thrilled to find an interesting, witty, author!

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