17 October 2009

72. The Boy

The Boy - Naheem Murr

This book was very dark. It was too dark. It was so dark that I didn't want to read it after I started.

There is this guy from Ireland who spends his whole life building himself up to be Prime Minister. He calculates every step. He maneuvers every action in his life to reach that goal. At some point he messes up and does some stupid stuff with a prostitute. He fathers a child with her (the boy)..

The guy has given up his dreams of running the world because he now has a big skeleton in his closet. He becomes a renowned social worker with something like CPS. When the prostitute gets killed he decides to be the foster father for this boy.

They lived together for five years. During that time his legitimate son dies, his daughter commits suicide and his wife leaves him. The boy goes to a group home. The man falls apart but maintains his job.

Time passes and he then goes in search of the boy. Now the boy is a "rent boy" outside of London. He has mastered manipulating everyone around him to achieve his goals.

It seems like every character in this book has some serious mental issues. The ex-priest running the boys home and his wife are ridiculous. The boys in the home are all nuts. The foster father is a whack-job despite being the guy at the top of the social work chain of command.

The only person I think is normal in any way is the girl who cooks at the boys home, who the foster father has a thing for because she reminds him of his ex-wife.

Oh...the end sucked.

Anyway...if you want to read something really dark (have I said it was dark?), this book was pretty well written. I liked the words used. I liked the way it flowed.

Overall, this was not terrible, but it is definitely something you have to be in the right frame of mind in order to read.

12 October 2009

71. The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom

This was a very interesting book that tells a tale of a very old man after he died. He thought he lead a boring and wasted life. The five people he met when he went to heaven showed him how his actions, intentional and unintentional, had influenced their lives. He learned that his "wasted" life had actually saved hundreds upon hundreds of children's lives.

It was fun to read. It was a feel good book. I doubt it was very hard for the author to write this one. Nice, but not very difficult to figure out every step of the way.

It was not what I think heaven will be like.

10 October 2009

70. Batman & Dracula: Red Rain

Batman & Dracula: Red Rain - Doug Moench, Kelley Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Les Dorscheid, Todd Klein, Eric Van Lustbader

I thought I would give one of these graphic novels a shot for a change. There are 20 something year old guys at work who talk about these graphic novels and "manga" and what look to me like comic books. They are very into them for whatever reason. So, I asked about them and a few guys said this one would probably be good for me.

What did I find? Well, this is a part of a series called "Elseworlds". "Heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places- some that have existed or might have existed, and others that can't, couldn't or shouldn't exist. The result is stories that make characters who are as familiar as yesterday seem as fresh as tomorrow."

OK...that sounds wonderful...so what did I get?
Dracula comes to Gotham City with his vampire army. They feed on the homeless. Batman must fight him to save the city. Batman wins, but he becomes a good vampire who will live forever.

What did I learn?
Nothing at all. Not a single vocabulary word. Not a single thought worth mentioning.

What did I really learn?
The guys talking about these books are not very intelligent I guess. They talk like this stuff is the best writing in the world and the stories are classic. It was just a fancy stinking comic book. It was written like a comic book and felt like a comic book as I read it. OK, they added a little sexually suggestive junk with female vampires to make the horny dorks like it more I think.

Something else I noticed. The list of credits for writing a stupid "graphic novel" is ridiculously long.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

09 October 2009

69. Chasing the Dead

Chasing the Dead - Joe Schreiber

This book is OK, but a bit to Stephen Kingish for me at this point in life. This type of horror book where some creepy guy who was killed 100's of years ago coming back and doing things in the modern world just seems too childish any more.

It was not bad, but didn't really get me wanting to read the rest of the story. It was suspenseful, but not edge of the seat suspenseful. It was puzzling trying to figure out what was happening, why, and who the "bad guy" really was, but it never really mattered to me as the reader.

06 October 2009

68. Anthem

Anthem - Ayn Rand

First I bought Atlas Shrugged because it was suggested to me. Then I heard that The Fountainhead was kind of a lead in to Atlas Shrugged, so I bought it. Then I read that Anthem was the predecessor to both these books, so I got it. I read it first because it was published first and because I wanted to see the progression the author makes with her ideas.

This book was only 105 pages long, but I think it is one of the most meaningful 105 pages I have read yet. I will come up just short of calling this book required reading. The only reason for that is because I think it is a subject people would need to find interesting to find it that good.

I can't wait to get into The Fountainhead now. :-)

05 October 2009

67. Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes - Pierre Boulle

This is the book that the 1970's movie phenomenon was based on. I expected it to be much like the movies, which I loved.

What did I discover? The movies were based VERY loosely on this novel. Yes, there were apes. Yes, there was a space traveling man. Yes, there were chimpanzees named Cornelius and Zira. Yes, there was an orangutan named Zaius. Yes, there was a mute human woman named Nova.

That is about it for the similarities. The screenplay was obviously Hollywooded up. Not that the screenplay was bad, because I loved those flicks, but it was completely different.

I am very glad that I read this. It is one of the few books that I thoroughly enjoyed while expecting something other than what it was. Usually that is a big let down. This time I think the story was so unique that it kept me wondering what would happen next.

I would recommend this to anyone who was a fan of the old Planet of the Apes movies or science fiction books in general.

One topic for discussion with a fellow book reader at work was whether Planet of the Apes could be considered a dystopian novel. I thought it could be based on my experiences with the movies and not having read the book yet. Now, I do not think so...and then again...

Read it.