Monday, September 24, 2007

I want to rub books all over my naked body

Schindler's Ark (a.k.a. Schindler's List) by Thomas Keneally - This is one of my favorite books. I'm a big fan of non-fiction that reads like fiction (Wild Swans by Jung Chang, to a lesser extent Washington's Spies by Alexander Rose), and this is written like a fluid fable. The past is brought to life in vivid detail, with personal accounts and memories used to weave a complete, balanced look at Oskar Schindler's life, and it reads like a great novel. I also like that the book deals with the details of the Holocaust in a way to leave a lasting, uncomfortable impression without disrupting the flow of the story. What I mean is, the whole of the Nazi extermination plan is looked at through the lens of the Schindlerjuden and Schindler's quest to save as many Jews as possible, and it's so much more "real" than statistics or unconnected stories. The book is about a flawed man with a flawless goal, and about horror and hope. Fantastic effort by Keneally.

The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly - This is one in a series of the Harry Bosch detective novels, although I didn't know that when I bought the book 12 years ago. You know how they say we use very little of our minds? I wonder how much of our brains is used for storage, because there are details of this book I have not thought about in over a decade that I remembered instantly upon rereading. Anyway, the novel isn't fantastic, but it's a decent mystery. Bosch is supposed to be a straight L.A. detective but he seems like a bit of a dweeb (mustache, jazz fan, named after a painter). However, the investigation into his mother's death is not filled with many twists and turns, but just enough to keep it interesting. The big fight towards the end of the book is a major letdown, but even that doesn't stop Coyote from finishing up with more positives than negatives. For every one cliche or obvious plot device, there are two original ideas, so all things considered, it's not a bad book.

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