Books Read April 2008

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
There are times, yea, verily, when life sucks and this is the true story of such a time. Sheff's son Nic was an athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist – that is before meth. After meth, he lived on the streets and stole (even from his eight year old brother) to support his habit. As grievous as meth addiction is for the addict, it can also destroy the very thread that holds a family together. Meth is the most addictive and fastest-growing drug in the United States, as well as the most dangerous. And, as Sheff’s story clearly points out, it has invaded every nook, cranny and demographic in America.
Heart-breakingly good read.

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
Cornelia Brown, seemingly happy city-dweller, up and decides to head for an idyllic suburb. Her husband Teo fits right in, but Cornelia struggles to find friends, and her neighbor Piper Truitt hates her. I actually know someone like Piper so I sympathize. Desperate for good pasta and a friend, Cornelia forms a friendship with a waitress named Lake and her son Dev. Add a few more couples – each facing life challenges and changes -- and you end up with a book filled with an unlikely group who most likely would never come together in the first place.
This book has a great cover which brings up the argument that you can’t judge the contents of a book by the design prowess of a graphic artist. Case in point.

Is The American Dream Killing You? by Paul Stiles
Stiles is a former Wall Street Trader that maintains that American capitalism "has become the driving force of American decline. The market is the heart that pumps the blood of America's ever more demanding cycle of work-buy-work and its social problems, from increased levels of stress to divorce, latchkey kids and the decline in spiritual and moral values. Stiles has a plethora of statistical data that document all that and more. He touches on many facets of how the market is killing us and also shows how advertisers use the media manipulates us to suit the market's needs.
Stiles illuminates the dark side of the free enterprise system and how many social ills can be traced back to one underlying principle. Some chapters were a bit difficult to get through, but I was mostly captivated – and mostly convinced.

Taft by Ann Patchett
John Nickel runs a bar called Muddy's on Memphis's Beale Street. Although is is/was a talented musician, he took the job to prove to his lover, Marion he could provide for her and their son. Marion and Franklin end up moving to Florida, but John stayed at the bar and let his passion for music die. Life is simple until Fay Taft shows up at Muddy's, lies about her age and asks for a job. What he gets is a needy girl, her drug-dealer brother Carl, and the sad story of their father’s death.
Parts of this book were brilliant, but for the most part it was draggingly slow.

The Magicians Assistant by Ann Patchett
And now ladies and gentlemen, watch closely as I pull an old book, circa 1998, out of my sleeve and reveal it for you today! It’s the story of Sabine, who, for many years, has been assistant and wanna-be lover to famous magician Parsifal. After his death she is lost and leaves sunny LA to discover the ‘real’ Parsifal with his grieving family in the snowy, windy mid-west.
Although I like Ann Patchett, this is not one of my fav’s. The magic is lost somewhere along the way, and even apparitions of the dead can’t help.

The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho
This is the story of Coelho’s journey across Spain along the legendary road of San Tiago -- which pilgrims have traveled since the Middle Ages -- and is the second most important pilgrimage for Catholics. In this contemporary quest, Coelho battles his own mind as well as real and present dangers from the dark side in an effort to retrieve his sword, and ultimately understand the nature of truth. His knowledge of Secret Society Initiation rites and actual experiences has you traveling along with him on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. I read somewhere that it is the first written account in the last 500 years. Regardless, Coelho once again blows our mind and reminds us there is a huge world waiting for us to discover, and I don’t mean vacation spots.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I'm a big fan of Paulo Coelho! You will love this! He's the first best-selling
author to be distributing for free his works on his blog:

Have a nice day!