Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Friday, December 29, 2006
Stuff I've Read Since July
I just finished one of the greatest books of all time - The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck - and I was sad when it was over. I have not been so touched by a book in a long time, perhaps since All Quiet On The Western Front, which must have been at least a couple of years ago.
The Good Earth was the best-selling book of 1931 and 1932. It is the story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer. I won't say one more thing about it, because you should read it for yourself. Go to your library or book store today and get your hands on a copy. Read at least through Chapter 3. If you aren't interested after the first three chapters, then you can let it go, but not until then. I attempted The Good Earth years ago (my wife highly recommended it) and made the mistake of giving up before I had completed the first chapter.
I went to the One Book List to read the reviews and I was astonished that The Good Earth is not mentioned.
I read other books, and some were quite good, but nothing in the recent past compares to The Good Earth. Have I raved enough? I'll move on.
Dracula, by Bram Stoker, was surprisingly, unexpectedly good. It gets a little wild and disjointed at the end, but the strengths of the story - the intensity and the imagery - win out.
Stag: A Story About Coming of Age - In a Bar, by Tim Relf was also a pleasant surprise. I picked this one at random from the library shelves because I liked the cover (a plastic man falling into a pint of beer) and it was just a couple minutes until closing time at the library. It was Stag or nothing to read that night, and I have to read. This one is about a likable young British guy who drinks too much because he never wants to grow up and he's got inadequacy issues. I found him a sympathetic character. The author is a good storyteller. I think this is his first book, and it came out just last year.
Numbered Account, by Christopher Reich, is another first book. The protagonist, an ex-special forces guy who is searching for his father's murderer, goes to work in a Swiss bank and deals with shady characters. I thought the setting - a secretive Swiss bank - would be a lot more interesting than it turned out to be. I had hoped for more.
Not a Day Goes By, by E. Lynn Harris, was entertaining enough, and another of my random selections. It's the story of an African American bisexual former football player and his diva girlfriend. I'll leave it at that.
Now go out and get The Good Earth.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
So Few Posts, So Much Time
In recent months I have missed many opportunities to post on topics that are of interest to me. The list includes What I Did Over My Summer Vacation; Bruin Football; Midterm Elections; Global Warming; Thanksgiving; Christmas; and Investing. My primary reason for not posting is advertent. There are many demands on my time and I am deliberately weeding out those things that compete with my job, my family, my work around the house, my church work, and my son's Cub Scout Den. I hate to admit it, but there is not much time left over when I have taken care of the important stuff, and then I am too tired to post.
I am making an exception today not because there is nothing more important to do (there always is), but because I feel like it and it appears that no one has been in this pathetic coffeehouse in quite a while.
Parting shot - my last visit to the Chinese restaurant near my work yielded this message: Prosperity is our God given right. I like that! May you (all seven or eight of you) have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.