Sunday, September 22, 2013

MTQ 5 Recommended Reads

Sadly, summer is quickly coming to an end.  This was a great summer and as I indicated in my "Work like you're retired" post, I took many opportunities to take time off from work and soak up the sun and read.  I like to use the summer time to stock up on my books.  The Book Nook in Crossings Park of Colonie is a favorite summer time haunt and used books are cheap - 50 cents for any softcover and $1.00 for any hardcover.  I'll also acquire used books as the opportunity arises from the library, thrift stores or lawn sales.  As with any used purchase you need to be alert and balance your interest with the condition of the book - strong smoker's books or moldy books are generally a no go as they can infest your other books although I did pick up a pitiful copy of Carl Sandburg's Lincoln from the free bin this year and made it through a final read before permanently retiring it from circulation.  In this post I am going to identify 5 great reads that I have encountered over the years and would recommend to anyone.

I recall initially reading the synopsis of this book which read something like, "whoever investigates a murder in the Louvre" and my initial reaction was "yea, who cares...never been to the Louvre and not likely to go anytime soon..."  Frankly, I'm not crazy about all of these umpteen murder mystery books and after awhile you get numb to the point of "here's another one."  Well, I'm pleased to reflect that there is a reason that this book was on the New York Times best seller list for over a year.  This book is much more than a fictional story; it engages and challenges the reader with an unemotional examination of religion and history.  This book helped me to revisit my feelings toward life, religion and the bigger picture of life to the point that that I dedicated a post, "Finding God with Dan Brown and Wikipedia" to the topic.
While it was Khaled's, "The Kite Runner," that garnered the attention of the movie going public, I thought this was the better of the two.  Both books will provide some cultural exposure.  What is special about this book is that it paints a picture of pure love.
Wow, what a surprise!  Dennis Lehane is a master of pacing the novel and getting inside the mind of his characters.  This was an intriguing read, baring the intricate perspectives of characters who share a common bond of neighborhood, but travel very different paths.  Lehan's skill is also demonstrated in another of his books, Shutter Island which is also a recommended read.  It is no surprise that both of these books were tapped for major motion pictures.
I'll be the first to admit that I need to read war books in moderation. This is one of those books that is a must read. Tim O'Brien lived the experience and does a phenomenal job of examining his very emotional response to being drafted and serving in the Vietnam War.
While I realize some may gasp seeing a book such as this among other much more conventional selections, this selection is a tribute to bringing the fun back to reading. Winter's are cold here in New York and getting a dose of zany Florida is a treat on a cold day. Triggerfish Twist was my entry drug to other entertaining reads by Dorsey as well as from Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard.

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