Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Book Review Fail

Last Books Finished: "The Deep Dark" by Gregg Olsen and "Our Man in Havana" by Graham Greene
Last Book Failed: "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner
Pages: 397, 247, and 52
Total Pages: 1616
Time it took me to read: Umm, too lazy to figure it out
Next Book: "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan, a "Kron Klassic"

Well, since I last left you I got some good reading done before grinding to a massive halt over the last few days. We started out with "The Deep Dark" which was a book about a silver mine fire in Idaho that my grandparents gave me. I was a little skeptical at first but it turned out to be really good. It turns out that I'm way to big of a wuss to ever be a silver miner and the author really seemed to enjoy making that point. Anyway, these guys basically destroy their bodies mining this stuff for a decent wage and then die young. Some of them died really young when a massive fire broke out and burned the foam that was supposed to prevent fires. Irony alert!

At the time they didn't know that and most of the guys succumbed to the ridiculous amounts of carbon monoxide in the mine as they waited for help. However, two of the guys managed to survive 4000 feet below ground for several days with only a moldy tuna sandwich and a cupcake to eat. Pretty brutal. As their reward they got to feel guilty for the rest of their lives because the families of everyone that died wondered why they got out and their family member didn't. Hooray.

It was an entertaining read and I learned a lot about mining and it was a good example that ignoring or weakening safety regulations and training actually has consequences in lives. Something Bush's cronies don't give a shit about since they've rolled back many of the regulations put in during the last 20 years.

After that I had a terrible time finding a book I wanted to read that wasn't already checked out. I'm so sick of living in a town where people actually read. Can't you assholes just watch TV or something or maybe the library could buy more books? I don't understand how I can have a list of books or authors and every one of them is checked out every single time. And I'm also really sick of everyone parking in the library's parking lot and walking to the pool. I'm really shaking my fist about that one.

So, I had to go to plan B which was try to remember authors I wanted to read. Unfortunately most of those were checked out too so I ended up with "The Sound and the Fury" because I feel like at some point I need to read Faulkner and grabbed "Our Man in Havana" on the way out just because I enjoyed Greene's "The Quiet American" when I read it a few years back and this one looked entertaining.

It was what you might call a farce about a vacuum cleaner salesman in pre-Castro Cuba who gets sucked into spying for the British government to pay for his daughter's horse. He knows nothing and has no contacts so he makes up people and information that gets everyone worked up. Very funny and like a lot of Greene's work contains some political allegory, in this case regarding governments and their paranoid spying in the run up to the Cold War and who people actually have loyalty to.

So, after that I tried to start "The Sound and Fury." I was pretty sure I had tried to read it before and failed so I thought I'd give it another shot now that I was older. Unfortunately the result was the same and I really feel terrible about it. What's wrong with me that I can't get into this book that's widely viewed as one of the greatest novels of all-time?

The problem is that I start reading but he doesn't tell you anything about who the characters are. It's just a bunch of dialogue and I'm left to pick up pieces about names and context or whatever. Unfortunately it's summer and I don't have the concentration to figure all of it out. So, I'm 50 pages in and nothing has happened that makes any sense and I still don't know who any of the people are or what their relationship is and I just decided to say "screw it" because there are other things that I might enjoy reading more. So, yeah, I'm totally full of shit because I can't read Faulkner. It's straight to the Oprah book club for me. Hell, even that might be too hard for me....does US Weekly count as a book?



Anonymous Gregg Olsen said...

Hey, Ben: Glad you liked the book. I'll bet you're tough enough to be a miner. Thanks!

11:43 PM  
Blogger jen said...

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7:10 PM  

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