Saturday, April 08, 2006
Read Anything Good Lately?
I've recently come back from two business trips in the span of two weeks. The traveling has afforded me the opportunity to do some reading. See, when I'm at home, I don't read. Well, I read a bit of the newspaper, and a hockey trivia book my mother-in-law bought me, and perhaps I'll scan an Oprah magazine once in awhile (that's right, I'm not ashamed to admit it), but I don't really read. There's just no time to get into a good book. So without further ado, here are some books I've recently finished reading (in no particular order): 1. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler. It was originally published in 1959 (if I'm not mistaken) and for many Canadians it was something you read in highschool. Somehow I missed it, but you can consider it a Canadian classic. What did I think of it? Well, if you're Jewish, from Montreal, you've lived in the Plateau, and you've visited St. Agathe, you'll get a kick out of it. Otherwise...Admittedly it's a classic and Richler is a famous writer but it's not what I'd call easy reading. If I want to get "deep" (ok, not really) I can see some parallels in my own life and ambition to what Duddy wanted for himself (although if you've read the book that makes me out to be a real jerk), and you can certainly see Richler playing around with the hero/anti-hero thing. Do we love Duddy or hate him? Bah, who knows. Again, this is not easy reading and certainly not for everyone. 2. Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins (2003). I think this was his most recent fiction novel and if you want easy reading, here it is. I love his work, but admittedly it's all pretty similar. There's a quirky story and a bizarre setting. There's plenty of sex (some of it only hinted at, some of it written plain as day on the page), perversion, overly analytical characters that might spend a few days analyzing how paint dries, and humor. Robbins is a funny guy and he's definitely got a way with words. If you've read his previous stuff (Still Life with Woodpecker & Skinny Legs and All being two of the ones I've enjoyed the most) then you'll recognize this book even if you don't check the author's name. His style is unmistakable. It's worth reading. It's worth a few laughs. But if you're tired of his style leave it alone, cause it's the same as always. 3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Unless you've been living under a rock you've heard about this book and the upcoming movie with Tom Hanks. I can see why this story might make a good movie, and I hope it does. The book is worth reading. It's what I'd call a "page turner". Full of conspiracies, fast paced action and "aha!" moments, you can read it for the action story it is or really get lost in all of the details and possible truths; it just depends how you want to take it. I read it with both things in mind and so I enjoyed my couple hours with Mr. Dan Brown's thoughts and it left me with some things to ponder. Now I'm not a Christian so should any of his stuff prove absolutely true, my core being won't be rocked like a cheap hooker, and to be honest it wouldn't totally surprise me. You mean there are people who have and want power that want to keep it, treat others like crap and make sure all circumstances both in the past and the future suit their needs? No way. 4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. A fast and easy read with a bit of thinking to do after. I wouldn't say this book "rocked my world" or left me contemplating life's mysteries, but it has an interesting and unique premise. It's one of those books that knocks you down and then builds you up to a happy ending. The main character's life is basically crap, you feel for the guy, it feels depressing; then he goes to heaven, meets five people and comes out OK. At the end of the day it leaves you with the warm and fuzzies. And of course, asking the question, "What five people will I meet in heaven?" 5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It's a short book and worth reading. Lots of religious aspects to it (if you're into that) and again, a unique idea: "Your Personal Legend." I got a kick out of that part, and it's one of those books that does make you think. Are there signs all over the place, omens and symbols that we're missing cause we're not looking for them? Hhhmm...It's not a heavy book, and it's not the most exciting book either, but it does give one pause to think about life and everything around. I liked all of the books. Each one was different (although The Alchemist and The Five People You Meet in Heaven are the most similar in style/theme) so it depends a great deal on what mood you're in. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was probably my least favorite from an "entertainment dollar" perspective. Villa Incognito will make you laugh the most, and The Da Vinci Code will probably grab you the most. Next on my list: Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. (Technorati Tags: mordecai richler, mitch albom, paulo coelho, dan brown, da vinci code, tom robbins, truman capote)