In the Good Books

In my current state of limbo; awaiting the exam for my course but with no job yet, I have a lot of time on my hands. I seem to be spending this time mainly programming (an as yet unreleased internet chat program) or reading. I’ve really enjoyed reading good books again, until recently I haven’t felt I had the time. The two books that really stand out are “Vernon God Little” by DBC Pierre and “The Life of Pi” by Yann Martel.

Although the “Life of Pi” tells the truly fantastic story of an Indian boy trapped on a life-boat with a tiger, it is written in a wonderful down-to-earth style which has some people wondering whether it was true. Many people have found reading “The Life of Pi” to be a deeply spiritual experience. I certainly wouldn’t go that far but it was gripping read with a clever end and I thoroughly recommend it. I found out by reading a blog that M. Night Shyamalan is going to make it into a film. Although it was a beautiful book, it will make a surreal film that could be wonderful in a Beckett-esque kind of way or a disaster. I’ve found Shymalan’s film to be a bit hit and miss and I really hope that this film works out well, the book deserves it. There is an interesting interview with the author which explains that it was originally inspired by another book “Max and the Cats” by Moacyr Scliar which is now high on my reading list.

I read “Vernon God Little” on the recommendation of a friend and was absolutely gripped. In a way it’s a twenty-first century version of “Catcher in the Rye” but that description does not do justice to its originality. I’ve heard it said that it’s an insightful look at life in small town Texas and the American media. As a European, I’m not best placed to say how accurate a look it is but what made it wonderful to me was the writing style. It’s first person and although author is a different generation to the central character it still feels cracklingly alive. Amazingly, it’s Pierre’s first novel, if he writes more I’ll be first in the queue. I whole-hearted recommend both the books recommended here, they may not change your life but they’ll almost certainly change a few of your hours for the better.