Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm back! With 3 books!

I'm back, and with a vengeance. Though I've made my way through 33 books this year so far, (yes, I kept track!), I have to start somewhere, and I'm not going to start at the beginning. Instead, I'll start with the 3 books I've read this week.

1. Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
This book was by far the best of the 3 I read this week. This is the first Jonathan Lethem book I've read - much to the dismay of one his biggest fans, my lovely husband Aaron. He's been trying to get me to read one of his books for about 5 years. I actually started this book before, but sort of lost interest and abandoned it. But I'm glad I came back.

This is a detective story at heart, but it has much more than a typical who-done-it story line. What made this book so compelling was that the "detective" suffers from Tourette's syndrome, and he is just such an interesting and funny character to follow. Lionel Essrog & several other boys, all orphans, were enlisted by Frank Minna to do various & mysterious jobs around town. They grew up doing this work, and eventually became Minna Men - employed by Minna, but kept in the dark about a lot of his dealings. Minna is killed early on, and Lionel spends the rest of the book discovering his secrets, and tracking down his killer.

The characters are truly compelling, and I think there's a pretty good pay-off in the end without all the plot-twisting cover up look this way while the mystery is that way that you typically find in a mystery story. I am looking forward to reading more of Lethem's books, and I highly recommend this as a great place to start.

2. Envy by Anna Godbersen.
This is the 3rd in a series that I borrowed from Lindsey. I think she's reviewed these before, so I'll keep it short. Basically this is Gossip Girl in the early 1900's. Silly & predictable "scandal". But still somehow enjoyable. I get a kick out of thinking that this was right around the time my great grandma was born. Although, I'm sure "out west" was a very different place than New York in this era, so she probably didn't live anywhere near as scandalous a life. Bummer.

If you feel like a silly fun read that you can finish in a couple of hours, go for it. And don't let your husband's scoffs at the type of books you read deter you.

3. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.
Like the book above, this is a pretty mindless read. And another one I was made fun of for reading. But oh well. I read it anyway.
This follows pretty much exactly the same path of the last 2 Dan Brown books. Robert Langdon finds himself plucked out of his everyday life and "surprise!" he has precious few hours to reveal a mystery hidden for the last xxx years by the xxx group to save xxx's life. Will he do it! Can he survive!

I usually like Dan Brown's books until the endings, which are all just sort of... there. It's usually a bunch of scandal and surprise at some group being misunderstood and a big reveal as to who the bad guy really is, and this book was just the same.

The story itself was less compelling than The DaVinci code, but that might be because it wasn't set in Europe, which is always more interesting to me. I think that this book is a good fast paced read, which is at times suspensful (predictable or not). I always like puzzles and codes, and the like.

What I find most annoying about Brown's books, though, is the way he uses Langdon to spew his own obnoxious pretentiousness. (is that a word?) Langdon always points out these words that have alternate meanings or clever origins, whatever. I think Brown uses Langdon, though, to try and sound smart & well researched as an author, and that bugs me.

Anyway... Is it worth the read? Maybe. Fast paced mindlessness doesn't bother me, but if it bothers you, you probably already know not to read a Dan Brown book, and you don't need me to tell you that.

So there you have it! My week in books so far. I forgot how terrible I am at reviewing books, but oh well! Who cares! I'll be back with more mindlessness at a later date. ta ta.

1 comment:

Lindsey Lou said...

Review all 33!!! Hehe.