A few new books…

I sorta fell behind on this:

A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby. It’s good…really interesting idea (the stories of a few unrelated people that planned to kill themselves but didn’t, all on the same night at the same location, told alternately through each of their voices). I can’t say much about what I liked and didn’t like without ruining the book. This is the same author that wrote High Fidelity, which apparently was a book before a movie (filmed right down the street from my apartment, actually).

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini. Really, really sad. Geez. You learn a few things about the history behind what the hell is going on with our little war over in Afghanistan, though it’s a novel so probably not the best source. And it’s just sad. I held off on reading this for a year or so after it was first recommended because it sounded like it would be either boring or too American in its perspective, too intent on justifying US action there or something. But really, it’s neither of those, and I see why it’s been so popular. I read it really quickly — couldn’t put it down.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini. Good follow-up to the previous book. It’s not a sequel. It’s not the same story, though the setting and multi-decade format are similar. Given, though, that it is similar at its base, it’s a completely different book, and it’s not the poor follow-up you might expect from a second novel. Very good, and I read this one even more quickly than the first one due to some airline troubles at O’Hare and LGA last weekend.

Diary of a Sex Fiend: Girl With a One-track Mind, Abby Lee. One year of entries from a blogger that remained anonymous until like three days after this book came out, at which point things kinda went to hell for her. It’s really not as scandalous as it sounds, and it’s not without its own bit of redemption towards the end. Nothing about her life is all that over the top — it’s mostly different just because it’s honest. Quick, fun read.

Also, I’m re-reading The Island at the Center of the World, Russell Shorto, which I had listened to as a book on tape a few years ago. After finally visiting Manhattan a week ago, the book makes a lot more sense…not that I’m now an expert on NYC from a day wandering there, but having seen the river and the island helps understand the book. And it’s such a good story, as I think I mentioned here before; this country owes a lot of its identity to the Dutch of New Amsterdam, not the English that came later.