Vacation Book Reviews

Sorry for the long delay between posts everyone. I’ve been extremely busy getting ready for my vacation to Hawaii. The vacation is over (sigh) but at least I got a tan and managed to read a number of novels that I had been interested in for a while.  I won’t be giving a full review of each of the novels but I am going to give my quick impressions of them. The four books are Ready, Player OneLife of PiThe Road and Run, Rabbit (unfinished).

Ready, Player One

Ready, Player One is a science fiction novel by Ernest Cline that follows Parzival in an economically collapsed future as he tries to win the fortune of the eccentric billionaire James Halliday through a scavenger hunt/puzzle in the virtual reality world known as OASIS (good name).  I was alerted to this book by some of my co-workers who noted some of the similarities with my own novel. Aside from the nightclub scene (we both conceived of nightclubs in the shape of a sphere where everyone dances on the inside surface of the sphere with the DJ in the middle – eerily similar but it appears to have happened in parallel. I wrote that scene long before Cline’s 2011 publication date. I guess that great minds think alike), the plots and world are fortunately completely different. The story isn’t complicated but it is really well done and it’s extremely fun. I was continually pulled forward to see what would happen. It’s a lot of fun and a great read. Highly recommended.

Life of Pi

Wow. All I can say is wow. I got interested in finally reading the book after watching Ang Lee’s amazing movie. The book has been well-known for a while but I never had the time. I now wish that I had made the time. The book is stunning. It’s unique, it’s unconventional, it uses a number of interesting techniques like unreliable narrator and multiple perspectives to really pull together something that is special. It’s an amazing book that forces us to consider our relationship to god and what it means. Outstanding and highly recommended.

 The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy was somewhat of a disappointment. The story of a father guiding his son along the eponymous road in post-apocalyptic U.S., The Road was highly celebrated, highlighted by the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. After working my way through it, I really think that it was overhyped. It is a good novel but it’s vastly inferior to McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. It does have some great moments of poetry and other moments of horror but it lacks the broader narrative that keeps pulling the reader forward. I would recommend something else instead.

Run, Rabbit

Run, Rabbit by John Updike was a novel I just couldn’t get into and ultimately abandoned. It’s about a former star high school basketball player who has a mid-life crisis at age 27. Perhaps it was an important novel for its era (1960) but I just couldn’t bring myself to care about a character who is so passive and reactive to the problems in his life. I got through about 60 pages and then I lost interest. Not recommended.

That’s it for the quick reviews. I’m working myself through Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridan at the moment. It’s better than The Road  but still is a little too episodic and the protagonist is too blank for my taste but I’m still reading. I’ll let everyone know more when I’m finished.

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