Monday, August 21, 2006

books: recent books

I lost my notebook wherein I've written book reports since I was in school. I should somehow share these with Amazon. Meanwhile...
Temples of Sound, Jim Cogan and William Clark 2 stars
Semi-coffee table book about the great recording studios. It's inconsistent and badly organized and not very detailed, but still evocative.
ISBN 0-8118-3394-1

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers 4 stars
He comes close on the second part, but all the meta-fiction games (starting with the copyright page — he even tells you "Matter of fact, the first three or four chapters are all some of you might want to bother with" in the 45 pages of introductory remarks) distance the "heartbreak" part.
ISBN 0-375-72578-4

The Ebony Tower, John Fowles 3 stars
The setting is so over the top but he's obviously stood in the corridor outside a love object's closed door, convulsed in a paroxysm of anger, despair, longing, lust, and self-hatred. Heck, who hasn't!

I didn't realize it was one story in a collection, so I was feverishly hoping to see what would happen in part 2 when it ended for good.
ISBN 0-316-29093-9

Digital Fortress, Dan Brown 1 stars
Lame, technically wrong, low-thrills cardboard effort from the Da Vinci Code author. The tiny chapters endlessly jump-cutting between the two locations is tiresome.
ISBN 0-312-99542-3

Gridiron, Philip Kerr 2 stars
Similar to Digital Fortress, another computer out of control but now it's in a prima donna architect's new building. Slightly less cardboard characters, but the malevolent computer is a weak HAL and there's little thrill.
ISBN 0-0995-9431-5

The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown 4 stars
The blockbluster, unlike the English press I'm not going to kick it when it's up. It trots along, I solved half the puzzles as I read, the historical Christianity lectures aren't too pedantic.
ISBN 0385504209

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro 3.5 stars
Simple fiction from the Remains of the Day author (whose Britishness emphasizes the cultural similarities with Japan), but as you and they understand their predicament the story gains power and melancholy. Hard to believe it takes the protagonists years to figure it out.
ISBN 1-4000-7877-6

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