Friday, April 16, 2010

new batch of books

These are the latest books that I have read. You can see my lists (nonfiction and fiction) of the books that I have read this year and there are in order of how much I liked them. Now, on to the books:

The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
If you haven't read any of Silva's books, egads, get out and get reading. He has a lovely methodical way of writing. This is the first of a long series of books involved Gabriel Allon. Allon is a Jewish operative (assassin). He is called to go all over the world to track down terrorists and those that threaten Israel and take care of them. His cover? He is a world famous art restorer. He is hired by churches, museums, private individuals to live in their city and restore famous pieces of art. But that is often interrupted as he has to track terrorists and go after them.

This is the first of the Allon books where we learn how his son was murdered by terrorists and we see him in action for the first time. Each one of Silva's books gives some historical background to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as well. If the Middle East is of interest to you and you enjoy action and storytelling, then pick up this book and get hooked into the Allon series.

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
Oh man, how I love this writer. This is the sequel to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I actually liked this book a bit more than the first one. This story revolves around Lisbeth (girl with the tattoo) and how she is being accused of murder. Lisbeth is a complicated character, to say the least. You like her, she frustrates you, you laugh and you shake your head in regards to her.

The story moves along at a brisk pace but you need to follow along as the story slowly unfolds and you try to figure out how all of the characters relate to each other. As usual with Larsson, it is a rolickin' good time.

Tennis Confidential by Bill Fein
I wanted to like this book. And there were parts of it that I really enjoyed it. It basically is a book that tries to go beyond the tennis courts and explore the personalities in tennis and how these people interact with each other and the media off the court. It succeeds sometimes. But a lot of times, you get some quotes from the players but you still don't really get to know the players. The other problem is that the book spends a lot of time on players that were relatively big at the time, but they were players that lasted in the spotlight just a year or two. Players long since forgotten. Overall, interesting if you are tennis fan, but not worth it if you are not.

A Letter to Christian Nation by Sam Harris
This is a follow up to an early book he wrote called the End of Faith. There have been quite a few discussions about this book as the author talks about why Christianity is basically fake. my problem with it is that he falls into the trap, a trap that many Christians fall into as well, of using specific passages of the bible to try and prove his pioint...where that passage may be taken out of context or is just strange compared to the other teachings of the Bible. By this, I mean, he takes an aberration in the Bible and makes the case that it is much bigger than that and that it supersedes other points of the bible.

I also felt that he was trying to discount Christianity by knocking down Christians. He would point out some of the preposterous things some Christians do...which he is correct in that, but it does not minimize the Christian religion because people do not live by the teachings.

The line that I did like from the book was this: 'One of us is right, the other is wrong. The Bible is either the word of God, or it isn't. If Christianity is correct...I should expect to suffer the torments of Hell. If the basic doctrine of Christianity is correct, I have misused my life in the worst conceivable way. I will admit this without a single caveat.' Interesting read but not one that I would necessarily recommend to people.


jamkmb said...

I discovered a fairly interesting author lately: Ben Mezrich. He's not the greatest writer, in fact he's not really good at all. But the subjects of his books are fascinating because they're all true (although surely with some poetic license in conversation, etc.), and they're usually interesting topics: card counting in Vegas, the founding of Facebook, oil contracts in Dubai...

Pretty random but interesting.


Sam said...

John--I actually read his book dealing with Dubai. I liked are right, he is not the most accomplished writer but he tells a pretty good story.