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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Last 5 Books I Read

Pet Sematary- Stephen King
This was my first ever Stephen King book, believe it or not. It was really quite good for reading at the beach over the summer. Quick paced, exciting visuals/descriptions, and good spooky tension to keep you turning the pages. The build up of creepy happenings is actually a lot scarier (for me at least) than the actual climax. King does a really good job though of taking a morbid premise and expanding on it in every conceivable direction.  Solidly spooky and super appropriate for our coming Hallows Eve,

Tinker, Sailor Soldier, Spy- John LeCarre
I picked up this book because I could recall my Grandpa talking about how much he had enjoyed it when it first came out.Literally the day afterward, I saw a commercial for the movie remake starring Gary Oldman. Strange timing! This is a really solid spy story taking place in the heart of the cold war. The characters a richly painted and the espionage lingo sprinkled heavily throughout draws you into a dark seedy underworld of British Intelligence. A pretty good mystery with layers like an onion.

Going Postal- Terry Pratchett
This was a good book to bring with me on vacation.  Like most Pratchett books, the story was light and humorous, painted with the creative brush of the metaphysical Discworld. It follows the tale of an ex-con appointed/sentenced to the lifetime position of Postmaster General, forced against his will to revive the ailing postal system. The humor in this book is among the silliest I think I've read from Pratchett, with a strong Monty Python feel.

Journal of the Plague Year- Daniel Defoe
This book was written in an autobiographical style, from the perspective of a citizen who rode out the Black Death in 1655. However, it's actually a very well researched bit of historical fiction from Defoe, originally published in 1722. Now, given that the 70 odd years that passed between the plague and the novel is dwarfed by the nearly 300 years to me reading it today, it reads like it might as well as been a first person account. Despite its age, this book reads very easily. I got a kick out of the scientific explanations and cures for the plague that were still accepted as fact in the 18th century, knowing how horribly wrong they were now. It's a fascinating but morbid peek into the lives of those who lived during one of the biggest modern pandemics. Fun for history/ 18th century fans!

The Screwtape Letters- C.S. Lewis
This is a fun and thought provoking read. Lewis examines internal struggle against sin from the perspective of a slick devil that wants to eat your soul. It does a good job of reflecting the internal monologues that guide our daily life, and illustrating how our thoughts lead respectively to paths of good or evil. The Demon Screwtape is a despicably fun narrator, that serves as a ready foil for the piety and perfection of being Christian. The tone is so convincing that you almost forget that Lewis blanketing science, humanism, evolution and democracy as the work of the devil. It's a thought provoking treatise on human nature, and poses some interesting arguments as to how we should be spending our mental energy and time on earth. I deem it a must read.

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