Books – November 2009

So November with the holiday and birthday for Ash, I found myself either going to bed too late, or getting distracted with a game on the phone. Needless to say I only completed two books for the month.

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – So the sad reason of what pushed me to get this book was one of those cheesy Facebook quizzes that told me what “book” I was based on answering a couple of random questions. It’s one of those books that’s always on the Borders “recommended” reading tables, and you see it on lists of great novels. One trip to Half Price Books later and the book came to reside on my shelves.

It’s a fascinating novel concerned with the rise and fall of a family and the parallel and very joined story of the rise and fall of the town the patriarch founded. The family history has all the scandal, love, war and odd dynamics that can happen. There is a sense of the mystical, and superstition rules many members of the family, but others are war veterans trying to escape their past, or tireless carousers who meet early ends. It’s characters are what really keep this novel together. With many generations of the families drama played out, and all their names typically being a continuation of the family name, it never descends into a muddle of characters because of the strong personality that each of them displays.

One of the mothers of a generation had a meek personality, and at a portion of the book you even forget she exists, because of the forcefulness of her offspring and their wives, but as she outlives them and enters he own old age, you see her try and reassert herself by repairing and restoring the home, but eventually succumbing and failing. It’s a fascinating book and I couldn’t have asked for more in an unknown novel to me. Please read!

Angels & Visitations – Neil Gaiman – A random pickup from Goodwill one afternoon, I picked it up for the love of his comic work and a couple of his novels. Neil Gaiman, the wonderful comic book writer known for his Sandman series, is one of those wonderfully creative writers when it comes to wondrous stories. Very steeped in myths and legends, this collection of some of his short stories, introductions and poetry is a good quick look at some of what he’s about. From a hard boiled detective story about Humpty Dumpty or a modern telling of Billy Goat’s Gruff or a great tale about the Holy Grail, it’s a wonderful, fanciful ride through some great reading and well worth it.