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Books I am reading

Since finishing the Emperor of all Maladies a little over 2 weeks ago I read a couple of lighter books. Some were quite good, so I decided to put them on my blog.

The Hampton Affair – Vincent Lardo
In the 1990s I was a big fan of Lawrence Sanders books about Archy McNally. After Mr. Sanders passed away Vincent Lardo took over and wrote a couple of great books in the McNally series. But eventually he stopped writing them, so I started looking for other books that he had written. On Amazon I found The Hampton Affair, a book written over a decade ago, very similar to the plots of the Archy McNally books: murder and sex in a place well known for the rich and famous. I recognized the style of Lawrence Sanders books right away, and very much enjoyed this novel. Too bad Mr. Lardo didn’t write many more books (I found just one more on Amazon) would have loved to read more from him. If anybody knows of books similar to this one or the Lawrence Sanders one let me know. Although this book is out of print and not available as an ebook (I bought it second hand on Amazon) I highly recommend picking it up if you are looking for a good summer read.

The Dirty Parts of the Bible – Sam Torode
After reading Water for Elephants a couple of weeks ago Amazon recommended me this book, so I bought it on my Kindle. It’s a short book, but well worth the read. No literature, but a fun story that takes place in 1936 about the naive 19-year old son of a Baptist preacher in Michigan who travels to his uncle’s farm in Texas and becomes a real man along the way. Obsessed with both God and women, he soon realizes that not everybody believes in God and so he turns most of his attention to girls. At a whore house he loses his money to one of the girls and from then on he has to try to survive his travels across the US without any possessions. A good read, but the ending was a bit bizarre and therefore I’d call the book good but not great. A nice book to read on a beach in an afternoon with a couple of beers.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand
Unexpectedly a great story. I bought it a couple of months ago, but only started reading it when I was on an airplane and was looking for a new book to read on my Kindle. I sort of forgot about the book after I bought it and when I saw the title I did not really know what to expect. The book follows the amazing life of Louie Zamperini, who was one of the best runners of his time (he ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics) and ended up in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during WWII. The things he endures in Japan are unbelievable (don’t read this book late at night before you go to sleep) and makes you wonder about humanity sometimes. He survives, but barely. His after war life is not easy but eventually he finds his calling (literally in this case as he starts preaching) and even forgives the guards who torture him. I am not a big fan of books in which people find God and then change their lives, but after what Louie has gone through I sort of feel it fits to him. Louie is still alive today and has lived an incredible life, Laura Hillenbrand describes it in details (sometimes a bit too much detail, esp. about his time in Japan). A good read.

A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin
I had high hopes for this book, as it was recommended by some friends, but it was not by cup of tea. I never read fantasy, but wanted to give the genre a try anyway. The story (which was put into an HBO series) is not bad, but it drags on too long and it’s just not my genre. The book (the first of a series of 4 books) plays in medieval England, but the England that we know of. There are different animals, a different climate pattern and of course the political situation is very different from the England hundreds of years ago. I could not get into the book, but it might be a very good read if you enjoy fantasy (the book has 4.5 stars on Amazon). So I am neutral, if you are a fantasy fan you should probably try the book (but then you probably read it already), if not read the reviews and decide for yourself.

The Last Resort – A Memoir of Zimbabwe – Douglas Rogers
This is the book I am currently reading (I am at about 2/3rd of the book, just enough for a review) and I love it. It’s the story about a British, but born in Zimbabwe, writer whose (white) parents still live there and try to survive (literally) in the corrupt, bankrupt Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe. They used to have a famous backpacker place, but the tourists have left and upon return to his parents place the writer finds that it has turned into a brothel. His parents live in constant fear that their farm will be taken over by settlers, which basically means that they can get kicked out of their own property at any moment. I have not finished the book yet, but so far I love it. Of the five books in this probably the best, esp. considering it is non-ficition. I look forward to the end of the book!

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  1. I have read one of these and am now reading another – good suggestions!