Wow I'm about four books behind posts huh? Guess I'll have to do quick recaps then to catch up. Let's see:
Victoria Redel's Border of Truth:
Good, but not great. Now having read both her books, I'll say that her female protags have a way of grating upon me a little. I think I find them a little pretentious or self-important or something. Maybe that's how they're meant to be, but it makes it hard to sympathize. That being said, I liked the story of the father, his letters and his anguish much more. He was funny and interesting. Unfortunately, I don't think the book came together and touched me as much as I would have liked. It was meant to, I'm sure, but it fell short a bit. Maybe part of it has to do with too much saturation of the Holocaust market, that you expect something gut-wrenching. This read was good enough, but it wasn't groundbreaking.
Barack Obama's Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father:
I lumped them together since I listened to them on audio back to back while doing a cross-country drive. The first was much more a meditation on his ideals of government and values, etc, which I found really fascinating. His ideas made me respect him as a person, as well as a father, and reaffirmed my belief in him as a truly good person striving to leave a positive mark in the world. I found that I agreed with him in many respects (if not all). While it still remains to be seen how he can take these ideals and apply them practically as our president, and what the ultimate outcome of his presidency is, listening to Audacity makes me at least feel secure in the knowledge that our country is being led by someone with some really solid values and common sense, as well as compassion and empathy.
Dreams was much more a memoir, which I found really interesting, just to hear about the different experiences that he went through. What I find interesting especially, is that despite being raised by the "white" side of his family, his struggles through adolescence were so integrated with the African part of his heritage. I suppose that's inevitable, but I also though it was interesting how in his preface, when he talked about his mother passing away, he said that if he could do it again, he might write more a meditation on her, rather than on the absent parent, because she'd been such a driving force in his life. That was the one part (early on too) of the book that moved me to tears. So I wonder if, now that time has passed some, and with maturity and age and experience, if he's been able to reconcile the two parts of himself a bit more. In any case, I think it's really interesting to note where our current president has come from, what unique experiences he really has had from those that came before him. I also really like the fact that he is such an introspective person.
Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts:
Really intriguing concept, one that totally absorbed me from the outset. It's so creative and unique, being both a thriller but also a conceptual literary idea. However, the ending left me a bit unsatisfied, as I felt that there was a lot going on but didn't completely get explained as neatly as I'd have liked. I wanted to understand the rules of the game a bit better, as well as get the thing between Scout and Clio more. Maybe it's silly for me to want it spelled out, but I suppose I wanted the big a-ha reveal, ala Harry Potter, in which all the elements, however strange and fantastical, are pieced together in a coherent world.
I really need to do better maintenance on my blogs, but it's been a whirlwind the past few months, and probably won't settle down until September! [I'm tens of meals behind on my food blog for instance!]