Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Reviews: Quick Hits

There hasn't been a lot of time for blog posts these days...  but I can assure you I've been reading, running and following the red sox.  I've read a few books of late and I'll provide a couple of notes on them below:

  1. The Blind Man's Garden (Nadeem Aslam):  A post-9/11 book focusing on the viewpoint of a family (and associates) in Pakistan.  Riveting to the point of being painful to read in spots.  It seems to have been written with the purpose of telling "the other" side of the story, maybe to Westerners.  The writing is impeccable.  The plot might be too brute-force at times.  I didn't like the ending.  I think it's a worthy read.
  2. How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia (Moshin Hamid):  Picked this up on the merits of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.  Written in the voice of a self-help book, but you easily forget about that.  It follows the life of a boy (unnamed, in an unnamed city, in an unnamed country) from youth to old age, his life, his loves, his successes and his failures.  It's not a (Love in the Time of Cholera) love story, way too light-hearted despite covering some very heavy events.  It's somehow the voice that keeps it as such, and for that reason, the book breezes by, pulling you in but never too far, making you like, but certainly not love, the characters.  That's real...  and the story is fantastical for sure, but it feels so real, even without all the minor details.  I really enjoyed it, but likely won't always remember it (and I'm fine with that and happy to have read it).
  3. Pilgrim's Wilderness (Tom Kizzia):  Wow, I was not ready for this one!  I picked it up after hearing briefly about it...  thinking it was going to be a book about a big, religious family trying to live in the "old style" in the wilderness of Alaska.  And, sure thing, there is that...  but WOW, this story is twisted.  It's a true account, gripping, cold and brutal.  I did not enjoy it, but I read it to the end.  Papa Pilgrim is certainly one of those characters that will be hard to forget.

Next up on the nightstand are Colum Mccann's TransAtlantic and Russell Banks' The Darling.  And soon enough, Dave Eggers is back with The Circle.

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