"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2030 by Albert Brooks

In a word- depressing. I am impressed by Brooks thought process. He used the state of the nation today and followed it all the way through to his picture of 2030. It reminded me of a practice I use to stop worrying about something. I ask myself at each stage- what is the worst thing that could happen? And I might say, I would lose my job. O.K., and if I lost my job, what is the worst thing that could happen? And so on until I get to the very worst of the worst and then I ask myself- could I live through that? Could I survive? 

When I read this novel it felt like asking myself continuously- if that happened, what is the next worst thing that could happen? I try to stay positive about the way the government is handling things, or NOT handling things, as the case may be. I try to stay positive not because I believe that the motions and directions of the government are positive, but because if I don't I am petrified by my own answers to, then what is the worst thing that could happen? My mantras surrounding politics are focused on knowing that the destruction of the ways things have been done is the only way to rebuild and improve. The difficulty I have with this book is not that it isn't a good story, because it is. It is not because the writing isn't very, very good, because it is. It is not because I don't see the brilliance in the way Brooks processes and creates an alternate reality that is encompassing and visible, because I do. My difficulty with it is a direct result of Brooks' ability to answer me when I ask, and then what is the worst thing that could happen? During my time with this novel I found it next to impossible to chant my self reassurances about the necessity of destruction before the possibility of growth and change.  For me, this book was not just a work of fiction-it was a horror story. 

You will find an official plot line description at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9875493-2030

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

The Interpretation of Murder was a very mediocre experience for me. I neither loved it or hated it. The mystery was compelling and the exchanges between Freud, Jung, and the others were also compelling but I found that sometimes the combination of those two elements in the same small space this novel created made one distracting to the other. Just when I started to get in a philosophical rhythm and really contemplate the ideas of Freud, the story swung back to the mystery. Just when I started to inch toward the edge of my seat in the mystery, I found myself back with Freud and friends. 

Despite that, I did love each part of the book separately. I loved getting to know Freud and Jung that way. Imagining what it might be like to talk with them over dinner and contemplating the conversations that may have taken place was fascinating and intriguing. The murder mystery was suspenseful and exciting. There were some laugh-out-loud moments and I fell in love with the star detective. At the end of it all my disappointment came from not getting enough of either piece because the combination of both meant giving up more of each individual part.

You will find an official description of the plot line at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/820394.The_interpretation_of_murder

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project was a nice reminder of how to pivot and focus on the things that matter. I appreciated Gretchen Rubin's methodical and organized approach to each of her monthly goals. She does a good job of respecting that every person's happiness project will be different, looking at different goals and facilitating the project with a different process. She shares her successes and failures equally. She makes notes of both her positive attributes and the elements of her life and personality that she would like to change or improve upon. I found The Happiness Project inspiring without any preaching. I was not so inspired that I jumped right into a happiness project of my own but I have found myself drawing on a number of observations and musings from the book since I finished this account of Gretchen Rubin's journey to a happier existence. 

You will find an official plot line description at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6398634-the-happiness-project

Monday, January 2, 2012

Eldest (Inheritance, #2) by Christopher Paolini

Eldest, the second book in the Inheritance series, is a 3-star beginning that escalates up to a 4.5-5 star rating. Eldest is used to set the stage for everything that follows. Eragon and Saphira spend the majority of the novel in training while the other characters take their places. It's a necessary part of the story but it does serve to slow the momentum somewhat in the beginning. The reduced pace is temporary! Like a boulder rolling downhill, events continue to escalate until the last 200 pages. By that time I held this book in a white-knuckle grip and had to remind myself to breathe until I had turned the last page. Once finished, it took a Herculean effort to refrain from snatching up the third installment right there and just keep on going.  I loved this series the first time I read it and I'm enjoying it even more the second time around. The extent of Paolini's imagination is awe inspiring and I think it's a true testament to his talent as a story-teller and writer that I am just as enthralled with the tale the second time as I was the first.

You will find an official plot line description at: