Book Report, May

One of the books I’ve really enjoyed in the last few months was Nick Hornby’s Polysyllabic Spree which compiles his columns in The Believer. I really enjoyed the content but also the format and I thought it would be a good fit with what little I seem to write about books. When I started this blog books were supposed to be one of the main subject but it hasn’t been the case. Compiling them month by month still makes for a decent length article (certainly not AJ length but ok ;) ) even if I only manage one paragraph per book. So, here’s the first monthly book report, for May, a week late (already!).


  • Ringworld’s Children

    First off, this is not a normal month. I was in Paris for a week so I piled a few books before leaving, bought a few there and got to read more than usual. On top of that, the latest trade paperback Preston and Child novel, Brimstone came out, always an easy read and I grabbed an Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte, another easy read.

    In Our Time. It’s Hemingway dude! He’s becoming one of my favorite authors, more for the general feel and atmosphere of his books than for one specific title.

    Prince, The. The man, the legend, Machiavelli. There’s a word taken from his name for god’s sake! Seriously, I was more impressed with the way he presents his case and “plays the client” than the actual content of his recommendations. Part of the gorgeous Great Ideas collection from Penguin.

    Farewell to Arms, A. See two titles higher. One of my top picks of his so far.

    Brimstone. Aloysius Pendergast is one of my favorite characters in any media so it was a great treat to be able to dive in this latest appearance while sitting at various terrasses in Paris. Two great tastes that taste great together.

    As their admirers know, one reason Preston and Child thrillers work is because most feature arguably the most charismatic detective in contemporary fiction: FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, a wealthy, refined yet ruthless descendant of Holmes who’s very much his own character. Pendergast, as well as other Preston and Child semiregulars, notably rough-hewn former NYPD cop Vincent D’Agosta, Watson to Pendergast’s Sherlock, tread nearly every page of this vastly imagined, relentlessly enjoyable thriller…

    L’Or du roi. I’ve read 4 Alatriste stories in the last year / year and a half and I’ve enjoyed all of them. The best comparison is probably Dumas’ Musketeer stories. Swashbuckling at it’s best with more than a dab of history thrown in and detailed, engrossing presentations of Spain during that period. This one wasn’t the best and some parts—contrary to the examples I gave earlier—could have benifitted from more pages but still well worth the time.

    Anna Pourquoi. Part of the excellent Les Allusifs collection. A touching story mixing religion, art and love in a monastery.

    Sparadrap. Disturbing experience of a young woman who tries to escape life but ends up being a strong person and a survivor.

    Something that I’ve been noticing more in recent months is the difference between long and short books and movies, how you can take away as much from short ones as from long ones, how both extremes and everything in between can all bring something. Those two are great examples of short stories that bring a lot.

    Ringworld’s Children. Latest installment of the Niven Ringworld novels. Not bad. Not all that good either, a decent few hours if you enjoyed the others.