Monday, August 29, 2005

Book 49 -- Sleeping Beauty by Phillip Margolin

Book 49 -- Sleeping Beauty by Phillip Margolin

Ever read a book and feel as though... "Been there.... done that?"

That's how I felt about this book.

I am now reading his last book Lost Lake and I can already tell you (being 25% done with it) that it is a better book.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How Soccer Explains The World -- Franklin Foer

Soccer does not explain the world. Neither does this book. But, that’s just marketing anyway. The real purpose of the book is hidden the prologue, “Someone needed to write a book on the subject that would require the (oh-so-arduous) task of traveling the world…”

The success of this book is as a travelogue. Foer travels the globe and we get to tag along.

It is written like a series of magazine articles, rather than as a cohesive book, making it really good beach reading.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Book 48 -- Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

I have been laboring through a rather well written book The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason that has been compared tot he Da Vinci Code. It is similar to the DVC in that it is a book about a group of really smart people trying to break the code of a book/piece of art. It also combines the riddles of literature and art with a thriller as dead bodies pop up everywhere.

The book is NOT like the DVC in that it is a superbly written book. The details and imagery are fantastic and I especially like it since the whole book takes place on Princeton university.

Now... it deserves the praise that it is receiving...

But here is where I diverge... I recognize all the compliments about the book.. HOWEVER, unlike the DVC, I really don't care about a book called the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text that has vexed scholars throughout history. The DVC gave me an insight into something I know about... the Bible.

This book asks me to solve riddles about a book I don't know or care about.

Whatever... it is still a good book. :)

Monday, August 15, 2005

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (Books 42-47)

Books 42 through 47

This blog is to be known as the What Did I Do on My Summer
Vacation blog. Muh wife and I went to the beach for the week. We had sunny
days and we had some rainy days. It didn't really matter what the weather
was. I read.

There were four books that I can lump all into one group of books. They
were all by Phillip Margolin. They were. The Undertaker's Widow, Wild Justice, The Associate, and The Ties That Bind. They were relatively easy reads as they were all the same style yet the plots were all unique and interesting. Of the four, Wild Justice was an interesting read as it was easily the
darkest read of the books. Margolin tapped into some really weird shit when he wrote that one and it actually made me laugh with the final words (they will be completely taken out of context here. "The head Arty. Send them the head."

Book 46 was Faithful by Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan. The sub title for the book is entitled "Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season." I am an avid Yankee fan so it gave me great pains to read one of my favorite authors writing about his passion - the Boston Red Sox. This was being written before the season was underway and they just happened to get "lucky" that the Red Sox won the World Series.

Quick side story - I was on my honeymoon when the Yankees collapsed in the ACLS. Muh wife and I got on the boat when it was 3 games to none. When we got off the boat we found out what happened. That set of entries were read with great interest by me as I never followed up how the Yankees collapsed. I just had to accept it as fact when we returned.

The book is laborious to read but it was an interesting tale of insight in what it means to be a fan and to have your dreams finally come to fruition. I don't recommend this book to many, but I was still interested.

My favorite book over the trip was recommended to me by Kelly. (Thanks
Kelly) It was entitled A Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss. I have NO
IDEA why I was expecting this book to be a romance novel but it was the antithesis of it. It was about a man who loses 24 years of his life to amnesia due to a removal of a tumor. He essentially has to grow up again. His personal trip on a road of discovery is a fascinating read. It should really be read by everyone.

What I did on my summer vacation. I read.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


I spent the last week on a beach. I was able to get out of my regular routines and move away from the daily stresses of life. I find the beach is one of the few places that truly helps me to refocus on what should be important to me.

One of the goals I always leave the beach with is to write more and better. It is something I have always wanted to do, but I never seem to pursue writing with the vigor that it requires. Part of that is because writing is hard. And I just do not believe I have enough free time for hard things. I do enough of those at work. So, as my regular life consumes my beach life, my noble goal of writing more falls away.

One of the original reasons I approached Smelmoo with the idea for this blog was to help get me into the habit of writing. I figured if I had an outlet that would require me to write regularly, I could force writing into my regular life. I had to make it a priority.

Yet, somehow that goal seems to have been lost. For me, this site evolved into a place where I record what I read and maybe a little commentary about the book being "reviewed." But, once again, I have not approached the writing with the dedication that it demands. I allowed myself to settle for something less. Part of my problem is the medium allows me to be become lax. Just like this piece, I will quickly jot something down, maybe give it a once-over, check my spelling and post it.

Having accomplished my original goal of writing more, I now need to work on the writing better. While this piece will not reflect that goal, my commentaries on the books I read while on vacation will. So, it may take me a little longer than normal to get them posted. Just bear with me.

Quickly, for those that just can't wait, I did finish three books this past week. I think they are three I wrote about before, but here they are again:
1. The Gatekeepers, Jacques Steinberg -- An insider look at the Wesleyan admissions process.
2. How Soccer Explains the World, Franklin Foer -- I am not sure that soccer explains anything.
3. Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman -- How pop culture explains the world.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Book 41 -- The Burning Man by Phillip Margolin

Book 41 was The Burning Man by Phillip Margolin. I read this a lot while waiting on trains and train stations yesterday and I finished it up this morning.

It was a decent young lawyer in over his head story. I love these stories. They are always misjudged and always find some way to succeed and stick it to the man.

Not a bad read.

I should reading quite a bit over vacation. SZG and I are away at the same time. I have six books I am taking with me. The last four Phillip Margolin books and another by Nicole Krauss (total beach book) and the Red Sox fan book by Stephen King and that other guy as they chronicled last year's magical season.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Getting Ready for Vacation

My vacation is just about here. 7 days of sitting at the beach, on a deck, anywhere but work and my house.

It will be a time to rejuvenate and begin to really read again. I am putting down my current book, which is hardly an effort since I am barely 50 pages into it. While my bookpile is getting taller as I fall further and further behind my goals, there is nothing quite like getting books for vacation. I like shopping for books almost as much I like reading them.

So, here is my newly improved reading list for vacation:

1. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman -- I am pretty sure the first time I became aware of this book was through Seth Cohen on the OC. 'Nuff said.

2. How Soccer Explains the World, Franklin Foer -- In keeping with my international flavor this year.

3. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson -- This looks like a doozy of a book, but that's what vacation is for.

If expect to finish the first two and we'll see about #3. Smelmooo and Tangentwoman have graciously loaned me a few books which I will carry with me in case I either finish all three books or If I need to change things up.

I am going to finish out this week (leading into vacation) with The Gate Keepers, Jacques Steinberg. It's all about the college admissions process. I have always been fascinated with that mysterious world and I was able to get the hard back version from the bargain rack. It looks like a quick read and an easy way to get me back into reading.

See y'all on the flipside.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Book 40 - A Return To Phillip Margolin

For my latest book, I returned to reading the pile of Phillip Margolin books sitting on my desk mocking me.

HA! go read a story about an autistic kid!
HA! Go read an "important" book about Afghanistan!
HA! Go read a book about a wizard boy!

I love my mystery novels...and the next Phillip Margolin's book didn't disappoint me with the intelligent yet mindless read.

This one was called After Dark and it featured the defense of a lawyer who was accused of murdering her Supreme Court Justice husband.

Take out the usual coincidences and hokey twists and I was completely satisfied. I didn't even need the last twist. I was happy with the way it ended with twenty pages still left in the book!

I am reading the next one now (The Burning Man).