April 24, 2011

New! The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary by Allison Hoover Bartlett

About: In the late 1990s, John Gilkey stole his way through a significant number of expensive antiquarian book collections. Ken Sanders, a book collector and security chair for the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, noticed the pattern of thefts and began pursuing Gilkey, whose obsession with his precious old books led him to commit a flurry of other crimes—stealing credit cards and forging checks. Bartlett opens up the quirky world of book collecting fanatics with respect but occasionally too much adulation—a perspective that Judith Brackley is guilty of in her more effusive moments. But on the whole, Brackley's enthusiasm is welcome; she excels when exploring the minutiae and arcana of the book collecting subculture and executes the male voices well, with a clear distinction and depth.
I saw this one while browsing at a local book store Golden Braid Books and I instantly wanted it. The story sounds so enthralling and I actually just found this one of sale at Borders 70% off. Sadly they were closing down. But I got a book I've been wanting so it worked out. Also Ken Sanders owns a bookstore right down the street from me!

April 17, 2011

Review: Candy

Candy by Luke Davies

About: Candy depicts heroin addicts set in Australia. "Candy" is the slang name of the unnamed narrator's two great loves: his girlfriend and heroin. He introduces her to the drug, and they descend from being high on life, love, and drugs, to being shamed through prostitution, crime, addiction, and recovery. With no character background, the book reads as a string of scams to score money and heroin: some hilarious, some desperate, and some both at once. One scam starts when they answer a ringing public phone that the caller mistakenly believes is a suicide prevention line. Candy and the narrator are ruthless but human; their likableness and the immediacy of their dramas make them sympathetic even when pathetic. The writing is lean and strong but offers no resolution. Although that reflects junkies' reality, sometimes the pacing is jarring as the characters take action long after the audience is ready. Still, the good writing, realistic portrayal, and affable characters plunge readers into the junkies' world, safely returning them with veins intact.

Review: When a book starts out like this..."Everything's fucking beautiful!", you know it's got to be good. Candy is a book about a nameless author who takes us on his journey of meeting Candy, whom he's in love with, and heroine, who he's even more in love with. The book is actually fun, not the heroine part, but the way him and Candy are in love, go on adventures and basically just lay around all the time, waiting for their next hit. Davies is an amazing writer. From start to finish I was so involved in the story and the characters. Even the one's that quickly come in and out of their life from using, random connections, or friends. Davies does an amazing job really letting you understand the main character without even giving any descriptions of him, or even naming him in the book. It's interesting the way the book is laid out, he meets Candy, they go through their lives together, trying to get clean, going back on smack, the repetitiveness of their stupidity, yet you feel so much for these characters. The last chapter ends with Candy's first hit. It's breath painstakingly beautiful, every word Davies writes. Please read this one, it's absolutely phenomenal.

April 3, 2011

Review: The Stranger

The Stranger by Albert Camus
About: Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." (from amazon.com)

Review: The Stranger is a very interesting book. Even though I should have finished the quick read of 123 pages, it took me a bit longer (school and work will do that). The entire book the main character did hardly anything. He sat by his window, watched people, talked about his neighbours, drank, smoked, talked to his neighbours, sort of fell in love. Basically it was the life of an ordinary man who randomly kills someone else. The second half is his trial and it's interesting the way he thinks about life. It's insightful, interesting and I love that it's set in France. I enjoyed this book, it's not necessarily a dry read, but I think you have to be able to really imagine this book to like it. I recommend it for the avid book reader.