Monday, July 30, 2007

"Real" Book Roundup

So, I've been on one of my kicks where I'm devouring prose novels & books at a rapid clip. Here's some quick capsule reviews if you're still on the look-out for some good summer readin'.

Gone Baby Gone - Dennis Lehan

Saw the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation and decide to give the book a try, I haven't read anything by Lehan (author of Mystic River), but had heard nothing about good things. This is just a devastating book, spinning out from a child abduction case, two PI's are drawn into one of those cases where "nothing is as it seems", but it's handled very well. I don't want to get into too much of the plot simply because to summarize it does a disservice to how well written it really is. That said, there is very little beauty in this book, it's string of gut-punches and the ending proves that while justice can be done, it's not necessarily the right thing.

Can I Keep My Jersey? - Paul Shirley

On to some lighter fare, I was turned onto Paul Shirley's writing by columnist Bill Simmons, Paul is a lower-rung NBA player who is the guy who fills the end of your bench when several of your players are injured. Since college he's kept a blog of his travails in the NBA and (mostly) European Leagues, it's generally fascinating stuff, even for those of us who haven't really cared about the NBA since Michael Jordan rendered it very boring (when you've seen the greatest, why bother watching a lot of people who aren't as good?).

Mr. Shirley is very self-deprecating and I was able to connect with his work mostly because he holds himself far apart from the normal professional-athlete mindset. He doesn't think he's very good, he definitely doesn't think he's better than most of his teammates and he fully appreciates how lucky he is to make a very good living playing a game. The hardest part of his writing is that since he is so self-deprecating, you have to continually remind yourself that even a guy who heats the bench for 10 days at a time in the NBA is still one of the best 500 basketball players on the planet and also, he kind of comes off as a bit of a misanthrope, but if you had to surround yourself with this type of co-workers or work on a potentially mob-run basketball team in Siberia, you'd probably have a low opinion of your fellow humans as well.

Bad Luck & Trouble - Lee Child

Yet another Jack Reacher novel from Lee Child, and yet another one that is very, very good. Essentially this is a brutal summer cation movie in novel form (think the Bourne series). Reacher is an ex-army MP who prefers to live life as a nomad, traveling only with the clothes on his back and living off of his meager savings. While most of the novels in this series usually end of with Reacher getting into a situation involving a convoluted coincidence, but this time...wait for's personal. One of his Army buddies has just been found dead and essentially, he's getting the band back together to hunt down those responsible. It's a fun, quick read that doesn't stick with you too long after you're done with it, but you're ready for the next book to hit the stands none-the-less.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling

So yeah, much like 10 million other people across the country I bought and read this book last weekend. Much like the rest of the series it was very good and provided a fitting end to the series. It could have used a little editing in the drawn-out middle part, but I'll give Ms. Rowling a break because you can tell she didn't want it to end the same as her readers.

If you like the series you'll like the book, if you don't, well, you won't.

Soon I Will Become Invincible - Austin Grossman

So one last book, a novel about a super-villain, recently escaped from prison bent on conquering the world. There's a parallel thread about a new superhero joining the world's biggest super team. This is a fun little book, and the author is able to create a world with a rich history of super-people without boring you by giving you endless tracts on its history. Once again, this is nothing that will change the world, but it's fun none-the-less, it makes a good point to try to get into the head of a supervillain and try to understand why in the devil he wants to use his obvious brilliance to take over the world. Especially since that's a rather thankless task.

So that's what I've devoured ion the last few weeks, I've still got quite a stack on the nightstand, so hopefully I can give another report in a little while.


CalvinPitt said...

I've generally enjoyed the Jack Reacher novels, so I'll have to get around to picking up this new one soon, or more likely, waiting for my dad to buy and reading his copy.

Jason said...

Yeah, I get the Reacher books at the library, as much as I like them, I doubt I'll ever read one twice.