Wednesday, February 27, 2008

American Shaolin, by Matthew Polly

When you read many books - and when you are as indiscriminate about which books you choose to read as I am - you get accustomed to a level of mediocrity in your reading.

Which is why it is so exciting to hit upon a really good book. This is a really good book: well written, good plot movement, interesting.

A pleasure to read.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Now & Then, by Robert Parker

Ahhh. There's something very comforting about a reliable novelist. Robert Parker is such. A Spenser mystery: no real surprises, nothing really special either, just a nice relaxing well constructed read.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spare Change, by Robert B. Parker

Finally, back to some really good reading! Parker is best known for his Spenser detective novels. This one features a different hero but many of the characters and locales overlap with those familiar to Spenser readers. While not a literary masterpiece, Parker's book provides a solid, well written, only slightly predictable read. Hooray!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Last Words, by Mariah Stewart

The last of the "on sale at airport" paperbacks, this one was the best of the lot. Don't get excited though, it isn't as though the bar is set really high. But this was okay.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Good Liar, by Laura Caldwell

Another of the "great deal before getting on the airplane" books, this one is a bit of a spy novel, but not quite.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stray, by Rachel Vincent

I am a sucker for a bargain book. Especially at an airport, about to board a flight. So I see this paperback, at half-price, and I think to myself, "no risk, I can leave it on the plane for the next person!"

Which is my only excuse for this one.

Having said that - I did actually complete the book. Which is more than I can say for the last couple of books I opened. Maybe the key is reading on an airplane? Next time, before giving up on a book, I should bring it with me to a flight and see if that makes the difference!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Darkmans, by Nicola Barker

This is the second book of the weekend that I was unable to finish reading. Coincidence, or is it me? Here's a sample sentence from Darkmans:

"It went without saying that the Chunnel (now a source of such unalloyed national complacency and pride) had caused huge headaches - and terrible heartache - in East Kent, but Beede's greatest betrayal had been on a much smaller, more informal, more abstract level."

The use of parentheses is rampant (in nearly every other sentence) and quite distracting (as you might imagine, especially in a novel). Well, there we go - it is just coincidence. Even putting the parentheses aside, this book is unreadable.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson

I want it on the record: I don't give up easily. But a mere 211 pages into this confused and confusing mess of a novel, realizing there were 403 pages left to go, I just stopped.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Bleak, sad and depressing.

If your mantra is, "I almost bought The Power of Positive Thinking but then said to myself, why the hell bother," then this book might still be too downbeat for you.

It is, however, well written and kept my interest to the end.

Influencer, by Kerry Patterson, et. al.

From the authors of "crucial conversations," Influencer reports on what techniques have proven useful in changing behaviors. The emphasis is on demonstrating rather than lecturing for change. It certainly seems quite reasonable; time will tell if I am able to use the techniques effectively.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire

This is a sad, short play, but a good one. It would be enjoyable to see, but it is, as the author notes, "a delicate play tonally."

Bit Literacy, by Mark Hurst

I don't know why I requested this book from the library; it is probably best for someone new to a Mac or PC - someone who needs some simple guidance on optimally setting up folders or managing email.