Friday, October 31, 2008

Quick Book Reviews

Yup - every now and then I read stuff that isn't in comic book format. Here are a few recent reads:

The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America - Walter Borneman
This is an excellent example of what I'll call 'popular history'. It manages to be informative but doesn't get too tied down in certain trappings that make so many academic works inaccessible to many. Borneman's writing style is lively with a very light but enlightening editorial voice. This is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in this fascinating period in North American history.

A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby
For my money, there are not many writers as consistently entertaining as Nick Hornby. This, however, stands as one of his lesser works as it does not come close to engage the reader in the same was a About a Boy or High Fidelity. This may be partially due to the multi-narrator structure, as that only really allowed for a superficial look at the characters. Personally, I could have lived with 300 pages of pure Martin. It's ok - but I just the story was spinning it's wheels in the second half.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy
This is the book that nearly killed me. I'd been putting off reading it for months as so many people told me about the sheer intensity. As a father of two kids under 3, I had totally psyched myself out. I finally worked up the courage and cracked it open. It's a brilliant book but I don't think I can recommend it to the majority of people in my life because of that intensity, the never ending sense of dread and horror. I plowed through it in 3 hours - the literary equivalent to ripping off an bandage. It is great, but I don't think I'll ever read it again.

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