Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cities of the Plain

Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy

This was the last book in the Border Trilogy and I must concur with a friend who was wondering why on earth he didn't win the Pulitzer Prize for these books.

This book combines the main characters of the first two books - John Grady Cole and Billy Parham. I think it might be the most tragic of the books although each book is heart wrenching in its own right.

I love McCarthy's language in these books. He paints such a grim and bleak picture of the life of a cowboy yet it felt like a romantic, poetic perspective. Once again he vividly paints the landscape and the beauty of the vast open lands along the border - this time around Alamogordo, NM. With few words his characters convey much. They are men of brevity but there is a feeling of depth to the characters.

This is the kind of book that one must read in large time blocks as opposed to picking it up 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there. I also needed a couple of days to decompress afterwards because it left me feeling both empty and full at the same time. I was sad to finish the book and wished there were more to come. In each book, each tragedy struck me in a sad and horrific manner but the foreboding of what was to come in this final book was the hardest to bear.

I loved these books and highly recommend them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson

Well, the long awaited final book in the trilogy did not disapoint. My synopsis will be brief so as to not be a spoiler.

Like the first two books it is fast paced and chaotic at times (trying to keep track of all the bad guys vs good guys in different arenas was a challenge).

I recently read an article that was published in the NY Times Magazine regarding Steig Larsson, his books, his "estate" and the disagreement between his father and brother and his long-time companion. His companion, Eva Gabrielsson, stated that he had planned a 10 book series. Apparently an unfinished book #4 is on a computer in her possession that may or may not ever go to press.

The book ended in a way that finished the trilogy but also could have easily led to the next book. I stayed up until 1 AM to finish the book and I didn't feel that sad empty feeling I sometimes get when I finish a good book. I was satisfied - for now.

Next time, I'll read all three back to back and see if I feel any differently about it.

If you have read the others, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire, this is a must read and I don't think it will disappoint. If you haven't read them, maybe you should. They are excellent police thrillers with plenty of mystery, twists and turns to keep from getting bored. They are extremely graphic (violence and sex) though, so I don't recommend them for young adult reading.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This is a novel about the writing of a novel. It is set in the 60's in Jackson Mississippi. It is told from the voice of three women, one white and the other two black.

The fictional novel is all about the lives of black maids in the south from their perspective - good and bad. The actual book itself is all about the writing of this fictional book and what is going on in the lives of the three main characters as well as their friends during the 2-3 years or so that it takes for the book to come to fruition.

Once I got into this book, it was a real page turner. I highly recommend it for book clubs as well as individuals (but you are going to want to talk to someone about it when you finish).