Saturday, September 30, 2006

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

I bought this book because of the absurd title and the creative layout – each chapter is a class on a syllabus for a Great Works literature course, with the conclusion as the final exam. It’s about a high school senior and her father, a professor – but it gets more complicated than the standard coming-of-age fare. I was immediately impressed with the writing, described by one reviewer as demonstrating a “talent for verbal acrobatics”. This is the author’s first book – published to mostly rave reviews - so I’ll bet there are more to come from her.

Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux

With a trip to Patagonia planned in Nov, I tried some of the travel literature related to Patagonia. First, I read In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin, a classic of travel literature - but found it boring and disjointed. Then read Old Patagonian Express about Theroux’s trip by train from Boston to Patagonia. It’s not really about Patagonia – but I really enjoyed Theroux’s eye for detail, sense of humor and writing style.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Camel Club by David Baldacci

It’s too bad that Baldacci seems to be suffering the fate of many authors who’ve published several books. The early ones were really good, but the later ones are predictable and far less interesting, including this one.