Book reviews

    One of my sources of sanity in recent days has been reading. In recent years I have fallen out of the practice of reading good fiction. I have always been a avid reader of non-fiction, news, and political commentary, but relishing in good story telling has sadly taken a back seat.

    That has changed though with two recent books that have grabbed my imagination.

    The first one, is the first volume of The Lord of Rings (To devoted followers of Tolkien, I am referring to the first section of the single work.). I had attempted to read Tolkien in the past, but didn’t get into it… now though… I must have been smoking crack back then to not get into it. I have fallen in love with the characters, Frodo, Gandalf, good old Sam, Aragorn (a.k.a. Strider), to a level that hasn’t been achieved since my high school obsession with the original Star Trek television series.

    I am also mesmorized by the density of description and the wonder of the world that Tolkien created. In what I have read so far (I have been reading this for a month and am still not finished with it.), Tolkien has played poet, geneaologist, linguist, bard, the whole nine yards in weaving an epic tale that IMHO is only rivaled by The Holy Bible.

    Sheesh, I admit I am getting obsessed by this book, but it is so amazing. I will though refrain from writing only in the Elvish toungue on JMBzine, as tempting as it may be.

    OK, on to book #2. My friend Kimberly (the source of many keen music and literary recommendations) gave me a fascinating anti-war book that is wickedly funny, Slaughterhouse Five. It is so unlike any book I have ever read before, and is some of the darkest comedy have ever heard in my life. It deals primarily with a veteran gone mad, who in his early days saw first hand the devastating firebombing of Dresden, Germany (which I had heard of, but had no idea the level of evil that it was until reading this book… I will try to find more on this subject to post later).

    Other than this briefest of descriptions I don’t know what else to say. It is crude and brutally real without being pornographic. It is hillariously funny while describing the most horrible of situations, and it has lines in that will curdle your blood when you least expect it. It is irreverent to the point of excess in describing human life, but in doing so illuminates the incredible worth of life.

    What else can be said? I don’t know, but I highly recommend that you read it. I am planning re-read this one very soon.