Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Books (entertainment)

I know I talk a lot about tv in my blog but never really mention books. That's because I haven't really read a book in ages. I used to love books when I was a kid, but even then, I had a lot of trouble keeping focus. This was especially true of "classics". I read half of Beloved, half of The Great Gatsby, half of Flowers for Algernon, half of Oliver Twist, two chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird, two chapters of Red Badge of Courage, ten chapters of Moby Dick, and I'm sure there are more half-read classics but those are just the ones off the top of my head.

When I read fantasy/sci-fi books I read Terry Brooks (which some people deem "Tolkien lite") and never touched Tolkien or any of the Harry Potter books. I've bought a few non-fiction books over the last few years and the furthest I got was half-way through Friedman's The World is Flat. I do better with short story collections, including books about traders and gamblers, and most recently I found both of Chelsea Handler's collections of short stories quite enjoyable.

The reason I suddenly feel like talking about books is that I've noticed a lot of people on the subway lately with Kindles, Amazon's electronic book device. I've read terrific reviews about the Kindle and I think it'd make a great present for most people. However, if I were to kill time on the subway, I'd use my video IPod. Not only to catch up on tv shows that I've missed, but even if I wanted a book, I'd do an audiobook. My favorite is Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. It's a great read that I highly recommend for anyone, but I think the audiobook is even better because his voice really brings life to the narration.

Sometimes I feel it's kind of a shame that I don't read much nowadays. As a kid I was at the library a good amount. I used to fill those Scholastic book order forms month after month. My favorite author was Agatha Christie. My favorite book of hers was the ABC Murders, because it was the first time I'd come across the plot of a murderer with one intended victim creating fake serial killings to cover his tracks, something that reappears now and again in tv and movies. My only problem was that I often found her solutions to be a little far-fetched. It wasn't to the point of deus ex machina, but it wasn't often that one could logically come to her conclusions. When I felt that I wanted a shot at solving the mystery, I read Encyclopedia Brown.

I've heard so many times how "the book was way better than the movie" in reference to the LOTR, Harry Potter, DaVinci Code and other modern classics adapted to the big screen. I find that these films are usually more than adequate, especially the ones with decent budgets. Maybe someone can recommend a book that is great, not too long, and won't be made into a movie?

1 comment :

thg said...

An audio book recommendation: Jeremy Iron's reading of Lolita. Brilliant.