Friday, April 17, 2009

The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga

The Man Booker Prize has been a reliable predictor of novels; they're always excellent. This is no exception.

White Tiger puts an "modern day India / technology changes the nation / stark distinctions of rich and poor / caste system" spin on the ages old rags to riches story line. In brief: our hero goes from poor, uneducated servant class to modern day entrepreneur, but has to kill to do so. (Don't fear, I haven't given away anything to which the author would object.)

This well written book captured my interest. Probably as Westerners we should be cautious to not try to read too much into this as a depiction of India, but rather enjoy it as the novel it is. Think of it as in the Slumdog Millionaire genre if you'd like.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Night and Day, by Robert B. Parker

This short book is in the Jesse Stone series (i.e., not Parker's Spencer mysteries). I was flying and wanted a distraction: this was perfect. Good thing I always carry more than one book though; this novel reads fast.

What more might I say: if you know Parker's writing, particularly in the Stone books, you already know the deal. It was just another light entry in that collection. In other words, you wouldn't waste your money on acid free paper for this stuff. But a great little mystery.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Okay, this was an entertaining novel. The big surprise is that it won a Pulitzer Prize; wow - the other submissions must have been really poor. Not that this is bad. But I never felt I really got to know the main character, Oscar, in any deep fashion. The style is unusual for a modern day novel, but perhaps is more typical of Dominican literature. I'd say, B+.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Understanding Wood Finishing, by Bob Flexner

This is a great reference; it demystified about 85% of the subject. I'm not sure if I should blame Mr. Flexner for not getting me to 100%: perhaps I just need to re-read the book a couple times more.

Still, it made some things quite clear, and not clear: tung oil might really be called varnish, and it often might not even have any tung oil in it. There, that's helpful, right?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Beat the Reaper, by Josh Bazell

Wow, fantastic. Superb novel. Loved it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Uncommon, by Tony Dungy

This is definitely not my kind of book, but having said that, the core message (integrity is a good thing) certainly resonated. Where Mr. Dungy used personal anecdotes to punctuate his message it was interesting, and even the preachy sections (of which there were an awful lot) weren't all that bad.

I recommend this to those young adults who can get past the secular aspects.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

White Witch, Black Curse, by Kim Harrison

When you've read eight woodworking books in a row, it is time to settle down with a trashy paranormal novel. This is that. I only understood 70% or 80% of what was going on, but it was a diversion.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fixing and Avoiding Woodworking Mistakes, by Sandor Nagyszalanczy

This is a very cool concept and well executed.

Greene & Greene Design Elements for the Workshop, by Darrell Peart

This is quite a good book, focused on the furniture of the Greene brothers. Their style is distinctive, as indicated by the photo, right. You may need to enlarge the image to notice the ebony plugs.

I like that Peart shows how to construct some of the complex joints in this furniture. He is also an accomplished furniture maker, with interesting designs of his own, derived from the Greenes.