June 3, 2004

On Books: May

Its the beginning of a brand spanking new month so its time again to review some of my reads from last month.

The Good:
You'd think Denis Lehane would be a little intimadated following the success of Mystic River. And while it was a good book, people often forget he authored five books prior to it, all of which are excellent. With his latest release, Shutter Island, Lehane lived up to the reputation he's gained. Set in the 1950's on, appropriately, Shutter Island, a mental institution in Boston Harbor, Lehane weaves a truly disturbing story. I always think its a good sign when something leaves you breathless and manages to roll around in your head long after you turned the last page. This one was one of those.

Also of note is Chris Stewart's memoir Driving Over Lemons. Little known fact - in 1968 Stewart joined then exited the band Genesis as their first drummer. Laboring lately as an itinerant sheep shearer, Stewart and his wife decided to uproot themselves from England and settle in Spain. Stewart's a decent writer and his story is worth reading.

The Not So Good:
Why must every young author be compared to J.D. Salinger? Wherever he is, I'm sure Salinger isn't pleased seeing his name bandied around like this. Especially when used in conjunction with David Amsden's Important Things That Don't Matter. Its a fine book but not Salinger-caliber. Speaking of mistrust of blurbs, I fell for the 'spellbinding literary noir' claim on the back of Samuel Ligon's Safe In Heaven Dead. It was noir to a point but it certainly wasn't spellbinding. Not horrible but not excellent either. Similarly not horrible was Jere Hoar's The Hit. When a narrator starts weaving his tale from a mental institution, you'd think the story's going to go somewhere and get interesting, right? This one didn't.

The last two - Lee Child's Running Blind and Die Trying - are cheap, pulp throw-aways but were vastly entertaining. Recommended for mindless reads.

Posted by Chris at June 3, 2004 7:36 PM

I'm halfway through one of your recommendations - "Man Walks Into A Room". I really into this read. Thanks.

Posted by: Charlene at June 3, 2004 9:25 PM

"...mindless readers."

Like Harlequin romance novel fans? I'll call my sister and make the recommendation.

Posted by: HR Lady at June 4, 2004 7:55 AM

Mindless reads: Terry Goodkind series, starting with 'The Sword of Truth'

Have I mentioned this before? Could be cause I'm on book 8 of the series, enjoyed all of them.

Posted by: wlfldy at June 4, 2004 8:44 AM

I loved Shutter Island! It's definitely one that sticks with you long after you've finished reading it.

Posted by: jen at June 4, 2004 2:13 PM

I read the Lemon book--had no idea he'd been in Genesis. If you'd like another in that vein, try "Round Ireland With a Fridge." I can't remember the author, but am sure Amazon could tell you.

Posted by: Casey at June 4, 2004 6:04 PM