Over the past 6 months I have travelled to work in San Francisco every day on our subway system, BART. It is a 20-25 minute route each way and I decided I would make the most of that time and read. Well, I read 6 books in my span… here is my quick review.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Jean Dominiqe Bauby
This is by far
the best book I read over the past few months. It was written by a completely paralyzed stroke victim by using his only form of communication, his left eyelid, to dictate letters to an editor. He has what is called “Locked-in Syndrome”
and has a perfectly functioning brain essentially imprisoned by his body. To help write the book, the editor reads through a line of letters and Bauby would then blink at the right letter to finish the intended sentence. Bauby does not pity himself or regret anything about his situation, he merely talks about his experiences, memories, joys and pains… It really offers a glimpse into an unimaginable mind. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” is a short read but leaves an permanent impression. Look out for the movie, just released in some cities, however it is in French, the books native language.
A Woman In Charge - Carl Bernstein
This book was long and a little drawn out. Mostly a factual biography, there were only a few parts that talked about her policies and political views. The in depth history, however, was great for understanding how Hillary came to formulate her character and social, political and family views. I thought the book was very honest as it talked about Hillary’s strengths as well as her weaknesses.
The Assault on Reason - Al Gore
This book started me off on my recent political interest. Al Gore pieces together everything he thinks is wrong and right about our current democratic society, including everything from the Patriot Act to the problems with television advertising in campaigns. As a former Vice-President and a Nobel prize winner, Gore’s analysis tends to be dead-on and empirically accurate. This is probably a little boring if you aren’t into politics or the current state-of-affairs in America.
Microserfs - Douglas Coupland
“Microserfs” is a hilarious book (fiction) that follows the life of a young Computer Programmer working for Microsoft who brances off and works for a startup company in California. It definitely appeals more towards the tech crowd, especially programmers, due to its many technical jokes and code references. Di did read it though and she found it mildly interesting. Overall, its a good, short read for anybody you know who works with code.
The Audacity of Hope - Barack Obama
After reading the Hillary Clinton book, I promised myself I would read Baracks book as well. This book is written as a collection of thoughts and anecdotes, and of course the defense of the political ideas that followed. Barack is a decent writer, passionate and colorful about his politics, yet his book tends to be on the boring side. It is a great way, however, to get to know his stance firsthand.
Mister B. Gone - Clive Barker
In between my Hillary book and my Barack book I wanted to change pace in my reading so I got a “horror” book called Mister B. Gone. When I got the book, I was excited at its (simulated) aged pages, intricate font design and cover, but the book was literally the worst I have ever read. Not scary at all, the book was often comical in its attempt. It took halfway through the story to get any glimpse of plot, but then quickly withered away to a few strands of cohesiveness. The best pages were the last 20… it makes me think this book started as a short story, then was stretched 200 pages in front to make a novel. Definitely DO NOT read this book unless you are into wasting your time.
I’m not sure which one I will read next but both look really interesting. The first is a look at all things skin-related, both socially, politically, and scientifically. The second is about the history of the fight on cancer, another interesting read. I can’t wait!