I was recently stranded in Iraq at another base, one with a PX (LOL silly they even call it that), some free Internet….you know what I did? I read FOUR books! Figured I would give you a run down, because this has to be one of the oddest collections of books I have ever read, but when your selection is limited, you start to explore other avenues less travelled.
First book up was Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. This is a book that has been on my reading list for ages as it is a supposed ‘classic’ in the realm of urban fantasy, a sub-genre I really like. It started off smashingly, taking place in England with a Scot as the main character. England, check. Scot, check. Fantasy, check. Dark dirty urban images, check. Sounds like a winner. It starts out pretty good, moves at a good pace and has some quite interesting characters and the underground society is very interesting, though I was a little disappointed that Gaiman never goes into too much depth about how or why things are the way they are, only that they simply ARE. The book has talking rats, people with super powers, magic that is really more like just a different type of physics (than opposed to a ‘fantasy’ magic’), and a freaking fallen angel. Wierd. It was a pretty good read, I had to force myself a little through the middle, never a good sign, but this could have been I was a little busy at that moment and distracted with work more so than a fault of the book.
Next up, another writer long on my list. Clive Cussler and his hero Dirk Pitt. Holy crap. If the devil himself rose up Dirk (who my room mate and I took to calling Dick instead) would kick his ass, steal his girl (though not do anything more than a kiss, he is a gentleman after all), and do it all with that heart stealing, woman wooing smile. Jesus this guy needs an enema. Dirk is so unbelievably superhuman and in just the right places at just the right times, that at times I literally shouted out “Come on!” I suffered through 550+ pages simply to see what insanity would arise. Dirk saves an entire cruise ship worth of people…..twice. Check. Dirk wins the girl’s heart. Check. Saves a plane full of disabled children from, no lie, a guy flying a Red Baron plane. Check. Dirk saves New York city (and the World Trade Center btw) from a Liquid Natural Gas ultra-large tanker. Check. Oh my god, then to top it all off, Clive Cussler himself shows up in the novel………
wtf. I recommend passing on this book, and most likely any book by Clive, especially if he is in it.
Next up I bought at the PX because it was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and honestly he quoted the Fantastic Four comic book in the front, I mean how bad could it be? Oh how wrong I was. I seriously have lost all faith in
any sort of awards that people are given these days. This book was about and took place in parts in the Dominican Republic, and quite possibly Spanish was the writer’s native tongue because he couldn’t decide Spanish or English throughout the book. In the middle of an entire paragraph of English, boom a complete Spanish sentence. Now I am decently smart and could figure out what most of it meant, but damn, why you got to make reading soooo damn difficult? The parts about Oscar were pretty good, but in between and scattered about 120 pages of good reading are 150-200 more pages of flash-back (sort of) bull crap that totally sucks. This tragedy is painful to read, difficult to suffer through, and in the end is nothing more than a terribly written and hard comprehend soap opera about a fat nerd. Pass unless you really need a doorstop.
Next up is a book I honestly picked up because I needed a hard surface to write some Christmas cards on. Really, I no lie. I read the first page and started wondering where this could go. In my real life, I would never have picked this book up…ever. I have to say that I tore through this book in one day and was intrigued by Ms Holland’s awesome skills. This book has no real plot and could almost be a series of essays on life in West Virgina, and how out of place and slowly fitting a city person would feel. It is filled with so many funny little insights and interesting details about the culture and lives of the people who live in the hills and valley surrounding her house. This book should be on a reading list for any college reading list for contemporary American country life. If you find yourself on a rainy day with nothing to do and want a heart warming (wait, did I really just write that?!?) book that feels like a long chat with a dear old friend, then highly recommend this fine book. One of the most entertaining and educational (without being a boring drag) books about life in America that I have ever read.
So how is that for an odd collection of books? Good times all around, and it sure has made me want to pick up that pen and take a stab at writing again. Bridget just send me this great leather bound journal too……hmmmmm