Sunday, May 06, 2007

Books in 2007

I've actually been doing none-too-bad, this year considering the chaos with both work and school (I have an assignment due tomorrow, even). I have to read books at my own pace right now though, and consequently have not been to the last two book club meetings... but I'm a little ahead of my goal of one book a month (yes, I read slowly and am very busy)!

Anyhow, sometimes I get into a mood where I feel like summarizing something! Today, I am in that mood. So, without further ado... the list of books I have read this year.

1. Shadow of the Giant (Orson Scott Card)
2. You Remind me of Me (Dan Chaon)
3. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson)
4. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
5. Darkness Visible (William Golding)
6. To Have and Have Not (Ernest Hemingway)

Wow, summaries make you feel good... don't they? Here are some details for those of you who are debating reading some of these novels.

Shadow of the Giant
Last book in the Ender's Game fantasy series, which won both the Hugo award and Nebula award. I never thought I'd be a big fan of fantasy writing, but these books are tremendously enjoyable (see January post for summary of all books in the series). Ender's Game is the first novel, and it's about a child that is pushed through military school at such a rate that he is nearly destroyed, so he can save the human race. If you ever give sci-fi/fantasy a chance there are only three things you need to remember: Asimov (Foundation series), Tolkien (Lord of the Rings series) and Card (Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow series).

You Remind me of Me
A story about a physically and psychologically scarred boy who goes in search of his long-lost brother, and ends up stalking him and his family. Interesting, but the story lacks passion, despite being a heartfelt plot. You probably have better ways of spending your time.

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
Warning: this book is not for everyone. To sum it up, this book is based on a real life episode of the author, who goes to Vegas in search of the American Dream. The reporter, who is covering a racing story, and his lawyer end up doing enough drugs to kill a small town in the course of a few days. This book is all about their experiences. Fascinating and hilarious. But again, this book is not for everyone.

The Kite Runner
This is an outstandingly heartfelt and intriguing book about a boy who witnesses the rape of his best friend and does nothing to stop it. It's placed in Afghanistan and has little windows into the culture and political changes in the nation. However, it is not a book about politics or war. It is a novel about longing: the longing for a father's love, the longing for punishment for guilty actions, and the longing for home. I absolutely loved this novel... well worth the read.

Darkness Visible
This novel was all over the place, and looking back to April when I read it... not a lot has stuck. It's a novel by the author of Lord of the Flies, and it deals with terrorism and listening to 'the darkness.' The novel jumps around with themes, and ends up not making a profound point or connecting with the reader. A sub-theme involves a scarred young man who ends up hearing a higher power and going about to do his will. I guess the book is about people who listen to that higher power and do good or evil things with it. I wouldn't recommend it... I think Golding bit off a little more than he could chew.

To Have and Have Not
This book is about a Cuban fisherman who lends credit to a client who leaves the country, skipping on his large bill. This puts the Cuban, Harry, into financial troubles... as he becomes another Cuban struggling to pay the bills to keep his family alive. He resorts to illegal acts - booze smuggling & running Cubans to Florida. It's another Hemingway struggle for existence, and it's done so beautifully that you may never want to read another author's novel again until you've read everything Hemingway's ever written.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not bad, that's a lot of reading for your situation right now. The one thing that I'm happy to see is that your are finally reading a larger variety rather that just the "pretty" Easton and Franklin's. All you have to do is read a few current non fiction titles and you'll join the dark side.

Spudz said...

Nick,
The next book on my list is "Blink", and I guess that's technically non-fiction. Either way, maybe I am getting closer to the dark side.

Haven't read a single Easton/Franklin this year, my friend.

Come have a beer with me in Bloor West Village some day this week?

Anonymous said...

Will do, give me a call.

shannon said...

Hey, great summeries! I'm crap at summing up books like this. I particularly loved your sumarisation of The Kite Runner, though I don't remember that you "absolutely loved" it! Good to hear, though.

The next two bookclub books are Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb and Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Niell. Will you lower yourself from your great height and grace us with your presence next month? :) Neither of them have been endorsed by Oprah...
(You're never going to live this down, you know that don't you?!! :)

Spudz said...

I don't mind not living it down. I was reading some of my favourite quotes from Catcher in the Rye, and all it did was teach me that I should follow my gut when I choose which books I should read.

Can you imagine missing Catcher in the Rye to read "Sweetness in the Belly?" While I didn't like "You Remind me of me", I at least felt like it would be a good book to read.

So, we'll see if I grace you with my presence *smiles*, but I'm not sure. I have a lot of personal things going on right now with work and health issues in the family.

Throw in a Steinbeck novel like "East of Eden"(an Oprah's bookclub book) though, and I'll come running.