Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review

I took a trip to Savannah, GA and I was able to read two books on my vacation from winter. One disappointed me and the other provided me great joy as I read.

The first book I read was The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. A follow up(but not a sequel) to Zafon's masterly The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel's Game does not live up to its forebearer. Zafon creates a tale with a great number of plot twists and unexpected turns. However, the book reads like Zafon got so carried away with creating plot twists that he was unable to find a good way to end the story. Zafon also seemed to get wrapped up in the spiritual aspects of the story that it did not seem that he was able to weave this strain into the story in an effective way. In spite of these disappointments, Zafon is such a gifted user of language that the book was a pleasurable disappointment.

Due to an unusually long mechanical delay on my flight to Savannah, I ran out of reading material and needed to buy more books. The book I bought was Clyde Edgerton's The Bible Salesman and I am glad I did. The book focuses on a 20 year door to door Bible salesman in 1950's North Carolina. The salesman is a little on the naive side and ends up getting involved in a multi-state car theft ring because he believes he is actually helping undercover FBI agents. Along the way, our salesman begins to read the Bible and realizes what it says isn't what his fundamentalist upbringing led him to believe the Bible said. As someone who grew up in a religious culture that revered a certain view of the Bible, and tried to pretend it was still 1953, I greatly enjoyed the gentile satire that recognizes the good that people in that culture are capable of but also recognizes the mental childishness that thrives in fundamentalist religion. Oh, and the book will make you laugh out loud. It is that funny and that good.

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