Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What I Read On My Summer Vacation

IMG_4514 As you may have heard, this has been a cool, wet summer in Maine.  So when you are there for a week and the kids exhaust themselves at about 7:30, there is plenty of time for reading.

At least there is for me.  Some of the other family members do puzzles, but there isn't anything more boring to me than doing a puzzle. 

Except maybe watching Olympic synchronized diving.

So I read six books in seven days and felt pretty good about it.  Most of it was your basic light beach reading, but it still felt good to be reading more than usual.

Nelson Demille's Wild Fire is a far-fetched post-9/11 thriller that seems to have been written to be made into a movie.  The book's hero, John Corey, is the typical guy I like to read about, a wise-cracking smart Aleck with an authority complex who always gets the hot woman.  Sound like anyone you know?  3 out of 5 stars.

Michael Connelley's Echo Park is 2006 installment (I got it on remainder, you think I can afford hard covers?) of the Harry Bosch series of detective novels set in the Los Angeles area.  A number of interesting twists and Connelly's usual knack for bringing us great LA settings makes this one of my recent faves.  4 stars out of 5.

Augusten Burroughs' Possible Side Effects is the funny but ultimately disappointingly pointless 5th of Burroughs' memoirs and the material is starting to get  a bit thin.  I mean how many essays can a guy write about his life as a recovering alcoholic, OCD nearly-psychotic gay man?  Apparently more, since there's a sixth book out. 2 out of 5 stars.

Dennis Coupland's Miss Wyoming was not at all what I expected, but it was well worth the wild read.  Part social commentary on the cult of celebrity and part gonzo Hollywood buddy book, this is a fun story that has some very poignant moments.  3.5 out of 5 stars.

I picked up the last 2 books at the Colonial Pharmacy since the Book Port has left The Port.  The books weren't bad, but god it's weird to buy books at a pharmacy.

Linda Fairstein's Bad Blood has her signature cool characters (another wise guy detective), a series of very cool settings, but an almost intelligible plot line.  The romance subplot is forced and the overall feeling is a bit of a mish-mas.  Some great historical references and a pile of stuff to look up on Google save this one 2.5 out of 5 stars.

My final book of the week was a new author for me and a book that is hot off the presses.  Richard Montanari's Merciless was interesting for me primarily because the thriller is set in Philadelphia and has a number of settings that are part of my everyday, including Spruce Street and some others that I had never heard of in the City of Brotherly Love.  The story spins a bit out of control, but the characters are well-cast and the tone is dead on for a cop novel.  3 stars out of 5 (3.5 if your a Philly guy/gal).


hchybinski said...

Thanks for the book review - I am an avid reader. . .I try to find time to squeeze it in when I can and would rather read than watch tv. . .hopefully that passion rubs off on the boys. . .LOL

patti said...

where are the 5 out of 5 reviews?

Chris said...

Well, none of this lot was a 5 out of 5, though Echo Park and Miss Wyoming were very satisfying reads in very different ways.