Monday, March 19, 2007

Mas Libros (more books)...

I´ve been burning through books lately, so here are BRIEF thoughts on a few.

Sidney Sheldon, Nothing Lasts Forever
As I mentioned, I ran out of books right before my long bus ride, so had to settle for whatever English language books I could find in the nearest bookstore. I hadn´t heard of Sidney Sheldon, but he appears quite accomplished. According to the book jacket, he has more than 300 million books in print and is responsible for several Broadway plays and hit TV series (including I Dream of Jeannie).

Which is why it was surprising that this book was so horrible. And, horrible in a badly written with implausible plot kind of way. The book is basically about a trio of female medical residents and their travails in love and at the office--complete with two murders, of course. Here are some choice quotes from just the Prologue:

-¨Paige Taylor´s attorney, Alan Penn, was Venable´s opposite, a compact, energetic shark, who had built a reputation for racking up acquittals for his clients.¨ That´s the best thing you can come up with to say about a defense attorney? That he had a reputation for acquittals? Very imaginative.

-Again, about attorney Penn: ¨Yet Alan Penn had the reputation of being a master magician in the courtroom. Now it was his turn to present the defendant´s case. Could he pull another rabbit out of his hat?¨ I don´t think I even need to comment on this one.

-Finally, a bit of law school snobbery, but this little aside totally undermines the author´s credibility: ¨The presiding judge was Vanessa Young, a tough, brilliant black jurist rumored to be the next nominee for the United States Supreme Court.¨ For all those non-lawyers, it is extremely implausible that a state trial court judge would be in line for the U.S. Supreme Court. This person would have no appelate expereience and would have to leapfrog 4 levels of judges above her. Well, I guess George Bush might nominate her...

Sidney Sheldon, you seem like an accomplished guy--I think you can do better.

Walter Mosley, Bad Boy Brawley Brown
This was an entertaining enough way to kill some time. It´s about a black ex street hustler in 1960s LA who gets back into ¨the life¨to help an old friend and ends up in the middle of a mixed-up black empowerment movement. I wouldn´t recommend spending any money on it, but if you´re in a bind and can´t find a better English book, it´ll do.

Augusten Burroughs, Running With Scissors
This memoir of Burroughs´childhood is truly fucked up and occassionally laugh-out-loud funny. I was reading it at dinner one night and my waiter came up to me and asked me if I´d smoked something before the meal. The answer was no, but--although I can´t be sure due to my limited Spanish comprehension--I think it may have led to an invitation for afterwards . Anyway, the book is a quick and entertaining read. It chronicles Burroughs childhood in a highly disfunctional setting featuring a psychotic mother, a withdrawn alcoholic father, and an adopted family headed by a criminally irresponsible psychiatrist. But, contra to the glowing reviews, I´m not sure it added anything important to my life.

Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
This book is fascninating and I would definitely recommend it. It´s the story of a tragic attempt at summitting Mt. Everest that cost several experienced guides and climbers (and some not so experienced) their lives. Krakauer does a good job both teaching us about mountaineering, and Everest in particular, and humanizing those who didn´t make it back. I´m not quite finished, but stayed up way too late last night reading (even though I obviously know the outcome).


David said...

It is great that you are catching up with your reading....I did the same when down there...BUT! Beware - I ended up regretting a bit how much time I spent reading instead of just throwing myself in the world and getting better at spanish - one poss solution - read a spanish book - See Juanita Run

Rosa said...

Do you want to switch places? I can read leisure books and you can finish my SAW! Your adventures sound awesome, I'm glad we can keep up with you on your fun blog!

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