Monday, October 1, 2007

Tastes like fiction

I've been reading a lot lately and thought I'd share some books I really liked. They're not all fiction. They just taste like it. Delicious.

Life of Pi was amazing. The detail and depth Yann Martel goes into describing the fantastical places and experiences in the book completely immerses you. The main character is Pi, who lives in India and fervently practices Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism simultaneously. The family leaves India for Canada on a Japanese ship and there is a shipwreck, which leads to the many extraordinary events Pi faces afterwards. I don't want to give too much away, but the ending brings it all together and leaves you with a lot to think about. Rumor has it there will be a movie based on this in 2009.

I just finished Random Family about a week ago and it is a definite page turner. I was up late into the night many times reading it, totally engrossed in the lives of the characters. The author, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, followed the lives of two families in the Bronx to write this book and the result is like a window into the world of the ghetto, where poverty reigns and people do anything they can to get by. One of the most amazing things about Random Family is the amount of time the author spent with these families (11 years) and the detail she goes into to be accurate. The lives of the characters are nothing like most of middle America and you truly never know what will happen to them from one moment to the next.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but this book was nutty and wonderful, like an Almond Joy. Augusten Burroughs writes a lot like David Sedaris, if he had been raised by an insane mother who turned over guardianship of him to her psychiatrist, who was probably the least sane person in the whole book. This is a memoir and that is one of the things that makes this book so good. You can't believe that all these things actually happened to someone and that he survived with mental facilities intact to tell about it.