Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Multi-Review Fiesta 2

One of the things that being alone on a business trip allows me to do is catch up on my reading. Also, flying to Europe without my daughter will do the same. As such, I have a ton of books that I've read in the past month.

The Roads to Sata
Alan Booth

This was an interesting book. I certainly wouldn't consider that it's something for everybody. It's the story of a guy who walks from one end of Japan to the other. He does it the back way, going along the Sea of Japan instead of along the Pacific Ocean, where he would have gone through Tokyo, Nagoya, and all the other really big cities on his trip. I found it fascinating because I lived there, but it might not be everybody's cup of tea. The prose is lively though and I do like the different stories about peoples' reactions towards him, particularly the person who said that they couldn't sell him a room that evening because he didn't speak Japanese when he was there speaking Japanese to them. If you're interested in Japan absolutely get it. Even though it's more than 20 years ago when he walked, it's a great account of the country.

Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden

This was a very fast read. It's not my normal style of book, that's for sure. However, in my quest for all things Japan, I picked it up a bit ago and got around to reading it on my last flight. The way that Golden writes it, it seems like it's being told to you. I wouldn't call it a page turner, because it's not got the edge-of-your-seat action that I would expect from a good page turner, but it does have a nice compelling narrative. One thing to note however is that if you've seen the movie, you've seen the book in general. The movie was one of the most faithful adaptations of a book that I've ever seen. It doesn't mean it's not worth it, but due to the detail to costuming and location in the movie it really colored how I saw the book.

The Bourne Identity
Robert Ludlum

Really, if there's only one Ludlum book you ever read, it has to be The Bourne Identity. I'd read this before but I picked up The Bourne Supremacy before we went to Europe and I had to re-read Identity to get back into the groove of things. I read this before I saw the movie and as a result, even though people loved the movie, I hated it. The character in the book is far different from Matt Damon and the book is better for it. Sure, there's no Clive Owen in the book, but I like the character of Marie St Jaques better in the book as well as the villain. I realize that the director of the movie had a tall order trying to rejigger it as Carlos the Jackal has been in prison for well over a decade, and changing the villain to the CIA and whatever other groups created Treadstone wasn't a good idea in my opinion. It would have been better to create a new terrorist and villainize him. The end result was unsatisfactory, at least for me. I should have expected disappointment as that's the end result of most movie adaptations (Jurassic Park and Clear and Present Danger, I'm looking in your direction), but you can always hope. At any rate, Ludlum does a fantastic job with the characters and the plot moves along at a breakneck pace with the requisite twists and turns that you have to have in any good book like this. I've read quite a few of his books but I have to say that this is where he is at the absolute peak of his game. My wife picked it up after I was done and blew through it too with a lot of the same results, even though she is not a fan of the genre. I can't recommend this enough.

Tomorrow: The reviewage continues!

1 comment:

Cheeth said...

I have been meaning to get a copy of The Roads to Sata. Alan Booth is now deceased, but I have a professor that loved that book and highly recommends it.