Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book review: A Farewell to Arms

I greatly enjoyed Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, which I read earlier this year. The Sun Also Rises is also one of my favorite books of all time. Based on these two reading successes, I decided to pick up A Farewell to Arms. Once again, Hemingway did not disappoint. I'm not one to read war books, but Hemingway made both this and For Whom the Bell Tolls very readable even though it's a subject I generally wouldn't touch. I will say that I thought For Whom the Bell Tolls was the better read. There were times during A Farewell to Arms when I got a little bit bored by the war storyline, specifically the part when the troops are retreating. The rest of it was fantastic, however. Definitely a must-read.

Book review: Shutter Island

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane was a book I picked up because I had seen previews for the upcoming movie by the same name and thought it looked interesting. Recently I have read several books because I wanted to see the movie. I usually find that it is better to read the book first, because the book is, about 98 percent of the time, much better the movie. The Road, The Reader, and Shutter Island are all books that I read because I wanted to see the movie. Just last weekend we rented The Reader. This movie was one of the rare exceptions to the "book is better than the movie" rule. I definitely liked the movie better than the book in this case. I felt more attached to the characters and felt more of an emotional impact with the movie than I did with the book. Really a great film.

Now, on to Shutter Island. I'm guessing that, in this case, the story will again translate better on the screen than it did on the page. It was a good enough book; something of a page-turner as you try to guess what is really going on. The reveal is not disappointing in the least. It almost read like a movie script at times, though. I also think that it will benefit from what can be done visually with the story. The book was not creepy at all, in my opinion. The previews I have seen for the movie, however, make it look very creepy. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Where has the time gone?

My goodness. I only recently started this blog and already I have been away for far too long. October has been a crazy, fun, and emotional month for me. My husband and I enjoyed a week-long vacation to Washington and Oregon. We left Oct. 7 and returned Oct. 14. Since returning, the focus has been on returning life to normal. There have been other things that have preoccupied me as well. I hope to now return to my blog and do a better job of doing regular updates! I also hoped to do a blog or multiple blogs about our trip, a sort of journal. I will try to get started on that over the weekend. For now, I'll just catch up on my book reviews.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Book review: The Road

Earlier this week I finished reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. This is a post-apocalyptic novel about a man and his son who are trying to survive. This was a quick read and I really enjoyed it. I felt connected to the characters almost instantly and cared about what was going to happen to them. Essentially this is a story about a father who will do anything to keep his son alive. It is clear early on that everything he does is for the boy, even though sometimes the choices he makes are not always the best or right ones. There is an interesting contrast between father and son throughout. The father had a normal life growing up: living in a house with his family, celebrating holidays, and attending school. The son has had none of that. It is interesting to see how this drives each one's actions and reactions, and to think about the fact that, should humans survive and continue to procreate in this new world, eventually none of them will have memories of life before, and will evolve and adapt accordingly. The father does try to give his son some special treats and memories, such as a can of Coca-Cola. It tugs at the heartstrings to think about events in the book that would be considered special memories later on to the boy, such as getting to sleep in a warm bed for a few nights. I found this a fascinating and well-written story, and look forward to seeing the movie adaptation that is coming out this fall.