Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Weekly Read: 36

This week was another good one for reading, despite the fact that I happened to finish all three of these books on Saturday. :)

READ: Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself | Alan Alda
Another truly enjoyable book by Alan Alda, and the audio book of this one has the benefit of being read by the man himself. While Alda's first book definitely falls into the genre of memoir, this one can more accurately be described as inspiration and advice. Every chapter is based around a speech Alda has given, whether it be a public commencement speech or a private conversation with family. This isn't just a transcript of those speeches, though. Alda takes the time to set up the circumstances leading up to each talk, describing his thought-process and reasoning for saying the things he did. And through it all, not only are you indeed inspired to live your life better, you really come to understand his life philosophy as one to be admired and followed. Alda sums up this book best in the last few pages, and I can do no better than to quote him here: "So that's it. I've told you everything I know. Think clearly and think for yourself. Learn to use language to express those thoughts. Love somebody with all your heart. And with everyone, whether you love them or not, find out if you can be helpful. But really, it's even simpler than that... The meaning of life... is life. Not noticing life is what's meaningless, even down to the last second."

READ: Deadly Décisions | Kathy Reichs
This third book in the Bones series is another engaging Temperance Brennan story. The action is quick-paced and the plot is interesting and well-woven together. I have to admit, though, that biker gangs cannot be considered one of my favorite subjects. It's hard to find closure with a closed case when you know it's not really over. Gang killings beget more gang killings, and innocent people get caught up and hurt. I'm as dishearten and disgusted as Brennan at it all. Kit's rebellion was frustrating, and I had to keep reminding myself, "He's just 19. He doesn't realize. He doesn't mean any harm." I was most disappointed by Ryan's journey in the story. Not only was he barely in it, but when he saw, it was in such a sad, anger-inducing way. I never believed he could do anything so bad, and though things are certainly not resolved yet, I have faith they will be. It better had not take long! I am also encouraged by Claudel's slightly improved regard for Brennan. Like her, I can't help but want his approval, and any little nod of respect is received as a great victory. That probably isn't rational, but that's just how it is. :) I look forward to reading the next in the series, which will hopefully feature more Ryan (in a good way) and less bikers.

READ: The Solitude of Prime Numbers | Paolo Giordano
I can't remember the last time that I've thoroughly enjoyed the reading of a book but been so disappointed in the way it ended. While beautiful written and engaging, with specific and special characters, I felt ultimately disappointed in the conclusion of this slim novel. As two "prime numbers", people that don't necessarily fit with anyone else, Alice and Mattia seems meant for one another. Their characters are built so that though they fumble around in life, and mix up their communications so much that they don't realize how much the other one cares, one still believes that eventually, they have to be together. It's inevitable, like two interlocking puzzle pieces, that they will sit beside each other for life, belonging together like no others could. Despite the brevity of the story, seeing only small snippets of their lives throughout the years, I became quickly invested in their lives and relationship. And perhaps that why, when it didn't end up as I expect, I felt deeply disappointed. All those things I felt building, I was wrong about. I felt fooled and foolish, for hoping for things out of reach. I lay in bed last night after finishing this, trying to figure out what happened, how it could possibly have ended so impossibly wrong. Despite my disappointment, I can't regret reading this book, because it truly is effortlessly and beautifully written. It's simple and concise, and every word seems perfectly chosen. So yes, you should read it, too. And maybe, because you are a little forewarned, you won't have your heart broken as mine was.

Up next week: Starting the audio version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I am reading in preparation for the Part 1 of the last movie which is coming out in November. Other than that, I am not sure. :) Happy reading!

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