Thursday, March 19, 2009

Friends - Book Reports

About books
that some people
have been reading
I'll ask more
people again soon. You are welcome to comment on the books other people write about.

I have just finished reading Nelson DeMille's latest, "The Gatehouse."
It is really like nothing else of his--I'm a great fan--but entertaining
nevertheless. He writes this one totally tongue in cheek, despite a
rather scary scenario. When he describes his relationship to his
in-laws (mutual dislike) the story goes something like this: he and the
wife are getting remarried after ten years apart and he plans to ask the
in-laws to pay for the wedding. At the suggestion, Mother-in-Law will
choke on the olive in her martini and die. Father-in-law will drop dead
immediately of a heart attack. Total win-win.

I just finished One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

This is a confusing book because many of the characters share the same name or a similar name. Adding to the confusion is the constant shuffling back and forth between past, present, and future, such that it was hard to put the events in the novel into a clear-cut chronology. This confusion emphasizes that events tend to repeat, that people tend to follow repeating patterns of behavior, and that memories of the past are sometimes hard to separate from events of the present and hopes for the future.

The storyline follows the Buendía family from the time that they settle a new frontier town called Macondo to the destruction of both the family and the town approximately 100 years later. During this 100 years, the family comes to know both war and peace, poverty and prosperity. I have read that the book symbolically follows Latin American and Colombian history. Certainly there are themes in the book, including civil wars between liberals and conservatives, oppressive dictators, labor revolts, etc, that seem to be in line with my limited knowledge of the history of that part of the world. I suppose the case could be made that the story also parallels the history of human civilization, biblical creation mythology, etc.

I read "Daddy's Girl" by Lisa Scottoline. I enjoy whodunits and so I've read a number of her books, but this was not my favorite. I liked earlier books better.

I just finished reading the Harry Potter series. A very fun read. I
recommend anyone that might have been deterred by all the hype (as I
was) to set aside their misgivings and try them. I was pleasantly
surprised how much I enjoyed these books.

I've read the David Baldacci "Camel Club" series that is pretty good...ex-black ops guy turned hermit and his pals...4 books so far. And I've been reading John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series. There are about 14 of those that follow this Minnesota cop and his adventures -they're a pretty good read as well. For Christmas one of my daughters got me a book called "Sanibel Scribbles" that is a semi-biographical novel about a woman and how she deals with death, which I will probably reread because it has some thought provoking ideas in it.

I read a very short novel based on real events, called BEASTS OF NO NATION, by a 20 year old Nigerian writer who has studied at Harvard. It concerns the tribulations of a young kid forced to fight in a Civil War in an unidentified African country. It reflects so much of what we hear about child soldiers and the awfulness of life for fighters who have little to live for and nothing worthwhile to die for. Written in pidgin English, which can be a bit frustrating at times, but I imagine is very realistic, and you can catch on very quickly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I especially loved the first Harry Potter book. It was like a bit of literary magic.