Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Not really reading at all.....

I have not written in quite a while. I have not read anything for about the same amount of time.

I have a pile of books that I really want to read, but I am not reading any of them. No, that's not really true. I have started one book, Reading Lolita in Tehran. I have just gotten out of my good habit of reading one hour a day. So, it has been slow going the last few weeks.

I have not abandoned our 5 loyal readers. I will be back!!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Book 39 -- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Book 39 is in the books and it is called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

I am not really sure what to say about this book. Is it genius or is it a gimmick?

I can't tell and I probably need a bunch more time to think about it.

It is a cleverly written book told from the point of view of an autistic child...who is a genius at math and inept socially. Fascinating and eccentric read that left me... in a weird spot....

It isn't a terribly long commitment..and I recommend it... or do I?


Friday, July 22, 2005

Book 38 - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I finished....

When is the next one coming out?

I can't believe I am looking forward to a sequel... in a book!

I want to discuss it but muh wife hasn't read it yet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Book 37 -- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I am not necessarily a fan of "important books." I barely read biographies... unless they are of some pop culture figure and I not about to read a 600 page book on the life of one person. Before I read this book (The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini) and one of the reasons why I kept putting off reading it was that I was under the impression that this was an important book. I needed to read it to talk in snobby social circles (not you SZG and TD and Tangent Woman). I needed to read it in order to belong. It made me not want to read it and read it at the same time.

On APril 23, 2005, SZG wrote -- "The Kite Runner led me again into a world virtually unknown to me, Afghanistan. This a beautifully written novel that follows the travails of Amir from his childhood in Afghanistan in the mid '70s until he returns during the reign of the Taliban in the '90s. Its a book about his relationships both to his father and to his friend and servant Hassan. I hate to classify this as a coming of age story because it is so much more. A truly incredible first novel from Khaled Hosseini. Read this book. "

I agree with SZG's initial assessment of the book. It is more than a coming of age story.. .it is deeper and it invites you into the center of a tortured and deeply horrific situation in Afghanistan.

However... I wasn't nearly as moved by this book as others seem to be. I found the plot to be laborous and unimaginative... I found the only real moving part to be the descriptions of the cities... and the more I think about it... I begin to agree completely with my wife and I get more and more annoyed at the chapter in the middle of the book that changes the character talking in first person. Blech.

I will recommend the book though... It is a good read and an important book... but if you want a more lasting impression of what is going on over there... may I recommend the movie OSAMA. That was moving.Amazon.com: Books: The Kite Runner

Friday, July 15, 2005

Book 36 -- Gone, But Not Forgotten by Phillip Margolin

Crap... I ruined the ending of a book (Gone, But Not Forgotten) for myself and I didn't even mean too.

I picked up a bunch of paperback versions of Phillip Margolin's books. As many of you LOYAL readers know, I tend to pick up all the books of an author on eBay or something and read them all in chronological order. I am currently working through Phillip Margolin.

At the tops of all the books, even the ones that were written before it, it states "From the New York Times Bestselling Author of Gone, But Not Forgotten" I had never heard of the book, but I figured that that was the book that made him famous... much like all of Dan Brown's books will forever read... "From the New York Times Bestselling Author of The Da Vinci Code!"

I did a search for the book. Nothing much came up but a random DVD version of a movie version of the book did pop up. I looked at it and I realized that one of the actresses was playing two parts. Two parts that as I was reading were distinctively different and unrelated. I kept that thought in the back of my brain and yes... it was a major twist in the book.

It was a good book... I enjoyed the plot twists and turns and the eventual big twist that I mentioned above... I still feel rather goofy though.

I just started reading The Kite Runner today and I plan on reading the new Harry Potter one next.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Book #35: Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules

Oh boy... I just labored through a book of short stories editted by the wittiest and best comic writer out there -- David Sedaris.

The Book was entitled Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules

These are not HIS stories. These are stories that he likes in a compilation that will benefit a charity in New York City.

I was hoping for a bunch of light and witty stories of lesser known writers... They were anything but light.

One of the best stories-- my favorite by far -- was called Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. His story was so incredibly touching that I was moved..while on a cross trainer of all places.

Others will probably like it... but I am going to have to rserve my judgment and recommendation.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Book 14: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

Its been a while.

I hit a little slump. I started on Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels. It was the other recommendation from Joseph Fox Books. Anne Michaels is a poet who was making the transition to novels. Unlike Nicholas Christoper who succesfully made the transition (in particular read Veronica -- one of my favorite books), I found Fugitive Pieces very difficult to follow. After a few pages I just put it down. I may return to it when I am in a different frame of mind, but for now it is on the shelf.

Often, when I put a book down, I find it difficult to get right into my next book. Its as if my habit of reading is broken and I need to restart it again.

I read Thad Carhart's The Piano Shop on the Left Bank. Carhart is an American expat living in Paris. While walking his children to school he discovers a piano repair shop in his quarter. The book explores the world that opens to him as he becomes a part of the community through the repair shop.

I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Books 33 & 34 -- Holiday Weekends Rock...

JUly 4th weekend saw a lot of reading and buying of stuff for upcoming picnics. I wanted to have the Kite Runner finished for a picnic this Sunday, but it looks futile as muh wife is reading it.

While she read those, I picked up two other books.

Book 33 was A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. I love NIck Hornby. I think he has some incredibly insightful writing and he taps into the human psyche so incredibly well.

To me... this book was no different. I don't want to give too much away for anyone that will read it but I was satisfied by the ending where a group of people all become better people and yet... I can't tell you how or why they became better people. They just did...and we are walked through the entire process.

What I like most about his writing is that his characters speak the way people actually speak. People make references to music and movies when they discuss their lives with others. It is what we do and Nick Hornby's character interact that way.

I know that SZG may not agree but I was happy to see Nick's book and I was happy to have been a part of it. Is it as good as HIgh Fidelity? No... Is it as good as About a Boy? I would say so...

Book 34 will get almost nothing said about it.... as it is my annual dive into pure drivel and trash. Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich is the 11th and a half installment of the Stephanie Plum series. Ms. Plum is a bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey... and I find Evanovich's descriptions of the area to be sophmoric and pretty darn accurate.

Next up... a collection of stories editted by David Sedaris. I will read those.. but if the Kite Runner opens up while I am reading it... that book of short stories is going back on the shelf.