Monday, October 24, 2011

A few book reviews

In classic fashion, here are a few more book reviews from a series of novels I have read since Freedom, in order.

Player One - Douglas Coupland: An enjoyable, fast-paced thriller set during a mini apocalypse after the world reaches its peak-oil limit, that takes place solely an airport cocktail bar. The four major characters use the experience to reflect on life and what their lives have meant, as well as their own failings, all while trying to stay alive during the period of intense civil unrest that the oil crises causes. Enjoyable and quite unique.

The Valley of Fear - Sir Arther Conan Doyle: I've always been a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fan, I'm not entirely sure why, but the chance to read a ripping yarn of his always goes down well, and this was no different.

The first of the story is classic Holmes, with the highly confusing case solved with wit and resilience, while leaving his intellectually inferior companions utterly in the dark. The story then settles you down for the second half, in which we hear the back story that caused the events in the then present-day.

I never like it when Holmes disappears for the entire second half of a book, as he's the best thing about the stories, but it's a good tale and told well-enough as the central protagonist of the story relives his time in the Wild West where he helps bring an evil gang of vicious men to justice by infiltrating their gang as one of their own.

A Film by Spencer Ludwig - David Flusfeder: An interesting and different story of a son and his very ill, fragile father going on an impromptu road trip from New York to Atlantic City. The relationship between the two characters was well imagined, and the change in their roles from child-adult to adult-octogenarian was well told and full of pathos. Some odd scenes in the book didn't quite gel for me - the father accidentally winning thousands of pounds at backgammon - but overall an enjoyable read.

How to be Good - Nick Hornby: I was after something light for a trip to Berlin that involved a 4:45am start, so this seemed perfect and indeed it was. It's a fun little tale, told with enough zip to keep you engaged with and some nice idea based around society, neighbourliness and consumerism that's only peppered lightly throughout. Hardly a classic or a must-read (what is?) but nonetheless a  fun, easy, light-hearted read.

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