September 22, 2004
#33, #34, #35, #36 Down, 16 To Go

Yesterday we returned from a ten day Texas vacation, where i was able to put a significant dent in my 52 Books/52 Weeks project. Leisurely reading is a luxury I look forward to on holiday, and I finished four books during our much-needed break.

When I picked up Waiting for Snow in Havana, I expected a thrilling true account of Cuba's revolution through the eyes of a child. The book not only rewards the reader with the memoir, but does so with beautiful use of language that captivates as well as narrates.

Before we left on our trip, I found a tattered copy of Flannery O'Conner's Wise Blood at a used bookstore. Having lost my own copy while in college, I picked up the book and decided that it would be the first book I've reread all year. I found the book heartbreaking, bleak, and funny, as it celebrated the southern grotesque as only Flannery O'Conner could.

Once we arrived in Texas, I asked my brother for an interesting book or two (a tradition we carry on every time we meet). The first book he handed me was On Love by Alain de Botton. de Botton examines a love affair in great detail, from beginning to end, and through that affair love in general. The result is insightful and classically-tinged without being dry. This book drew me into the lives of the protagonists with humor and discerning observation, and made me anxious to read more of de Botton.

The second book I borrowed from my brother was The Advent of the Algorithm: The 300-Year Journey from an Idea to the Computer, by David Berlinski. The book was fascinating for its ideas, but these were often hidden under the dense prose of Berlinski. His style is probably an acquired taste: a mix of essays, fiction and history. I would have a hard time recommending this to anyone who didn't enjoy at least one of Berlinski's previous books.

My next book is Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy: City of Glass, Ghosts, the Locked Room.

Posted by david on September 22, 2004

after reading Paul Auster, i'd recommend seeing a movie he wrote called "SMOKE"

Posted by: [juan] on September 22, 2004 10:09 PM

Read the Red Notebook by Auster. You can read it in 2 hours. It's a gem. Gives a great insight as to who Auster is.

Posted by: on September 22, 2004 11:11 PM

I really enjoyed the New York Trilogy, even if I suspect I didn't entirely 'get' it. I'm curious to hear your opinion on it.

Posted by: frank on September 22, 2004 11:23 PM

I definitely think the NY trilogy is the right starting point with Auster, but any fan of those books should also check out Leviathan or Music of Chance. His more recent novels haven't been quite as good.

Posted by: satellite on September 23, 2004 02:49 AM

New York Trilogy is a great read. Even if you finish it wondering if you skipped a few chapters.

Posted by: Destro100 on September 23, 2004 08:32 AM

Alain de Botton is really good. I've read "On Love" and find it very insightful, even from a female point of view. His other stuff are good too, esp "How Proust can Change Your Life" and "The Romantic Movement."

Posted by: sharon on September 23, 2004 08:48 PM

Just finished Austers Oracle Night (and saw, in the same days I was reading, Smoke). Lovely novel, can't wait to read more Auster.

Posted by: Ronald on September 24, 2004 03:25 AM

Just finished the New York Trilogy a little while ago. Curious to hear your thoughts.

Posted by: Paul on September 25, 2004 07:49 PM
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