Conclave by Robert Harris. Good political thriller about the election of a new Pope, focussing on intrigue within the Vatican during the election. As you'd expect from this author there's lots of fascinating detail, and clever plausible politics.
Couple of minor weaknesses: the protagonist sometimes feels a bit Protestantish in his worries about lack of scriptural support, and while the ending is good one bit of it feels a bit unconvincing the sudden shift in the vote before the final ballot could have done with a bit more explanation.
Overall though, gripping and entertaining.
What I'm Watching
Saw Ready Player One on disk. Like the book an enjoyable nostalgia-fest, probably more accessible than the book to non-Gen-Xers as it doesn't rely so much on lists and name-dropping. Decent fun.
Articles. A history of the word "you". Dads, why your daughters didn't tell you about their assault, Metafilter: actually why. Boys clothes, mostly interesting for this paragraph:
In his book The Psychology of Clothes, published in 1930, the psychologist and fashion historian JC Flugel explored the culturally enforced plainness of men’s clothing. He noted that in modern western society, unlike in most traditional societies, men dressed less decoratively than women. He dated this back to the end of the 18th century, when there had been a profound shift in the way men presented themselves, which Flugel called the "great masculine renunciation". Turning away from wearing flamboyant clothes to display their wealth, men increasingly adopted a uniform that reflected Enlightenment values of rationality and practicality. (In doing so, they were also distinguishing themselves from women, who were still encouraged to be frilly, high-heeled and irrational.) Interestingly, Flugel considered women's fashion to be psychologically healthier, and he advocated a reform of men's clothing.
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