Earlier this month, I found myself reading seven books at once. With my attention divided, it was hard to finish any of them. I finally got my act together and completed a couple in the past few days:
Oil: A Concise Guide to the Most Important Product on Earth by Matthew Yeomans - Lately, I've been buying oil books as if they were water books. This one is a very good introduction, but I already knew much of the material from reading a lot of articles on AlterNet (btw, Yeomans has a similarly liberal perspective). Oh well, the subtitle warns that it's concise, so I had no reason to expect depth. If you haven't read much about petroleum, you'll get a lot out of Oil. If you've already read books like The End of Oil (a thicker volume in my to-read pile) or Beyond Oil, however, it's probably not worth your time.
Any Old Way You Choose It: Rock and Other Pop Music, 1967-1973 by Robert Christgau - When I aspired to be a rock critic, I read Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs. That was freshman year of college, two decades ago (damn, I'm old). By the time I was halfway through Christgau's book, I remembered why I hadn't read a book of rock criticism since: I like it in small doses. The shorter works here are the best, especially the negative reviews. Unfortunately, the longer material sometimes founders under the weight of the critic's self-importance and overwrought prose. Christgau is one of the legends of the genre, though, and I ultimately enjoyed the book mostly because I know and like the music of that era. Note: this is the "expanded edition" of the original book with an extra 20 pages of material.
Current tally: 21 books finished, 18 books acquired