Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Night of the Gun by David Carr

The Night of the Gun is an autobiography by former addict turned journalist, David Carr. He outlines the nitty-gritty details of his addiction and profession, but doesn't stop there. He attacks his story like a journalist would attack any story. He gives us what he knows then attempts to back up those memories by interviewing the people (friends, family, cops, etc.) who were there and gets the facts from them.

The premise is great and I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. There wasn't anything wrong with the book (it's very well written), it just didn't grab me like I thought it would. I read about 100 pages and then put the book down. While I found it interesting, it just wasn't "calling me" to pick it up again. It could be that it was just too much of a contrast from my previous book. I love this premise so much, I haven't totally given up on it yet. One day, I hope to try again.

I truly admire his bravery for seeking out his past and putting it down on paper for all to see. I know I wouldn't be that brave and I don't have near as many skeletons in my closet as Carr does (or did). I'd rather leave my past in the past, but I admire his decision.

For now, it's going back to the bookshelf.

100 Girls by Adam Gallardo and Todd Demong

In 100 Girls, Sylvia is one strange teenage girl. She's extremely strong, can move like a gymnast and has some weird nightmares. Her parents are beginning to notice that something is wrong and soon she gets in trouble at school. Things really get interesting and heat up when she meets another girl who looks a lot like her.

This is the first graphic novel I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was likeable enough, but definitely written for a much younger audience. What I loved the most were the illustrations that accompanied the text. They were awesome. A far cry from the simple storyboards that accompanied the "Archie" comics of my childhood. Because I've never been much of a comic book reader, I had a little trouble figuring out which dialogue to read first, but after awhile I got used to it.

Since the book didn't quite conclude and even though I didn't love the story, I still think it would be sort of neat to follow Sylvia's further adventures in subsequent books. I'm curious as to what happens to her next.

Overall, I enjoyed it as a graphic novel. I'd recommend this book for tweens or young teenage girls.

Fuzzy Navel by J.A. Konrath

In Fuzzy Navel, Police Lieutenant Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels is at the scene of a homicide, when shots ring out. Things are about to get really interesting as the cops become targets for a group of unknown gunmen. As the smoke clears on that scene, the day has really just begun for Jack as trouble from her past and present follow her home. She'll be lucky if her and her loved ones make it out alive.

Awesome book with a great story! I thought from the cutesy title, I'd get a cutesy mystery. I was wrong. It's an amazing dynamic, high action, fast-paced, gore filled, humorous thriller in which everyone has more lives than a cat. It's hard to believe all of it takes place in such a short amount of time. Nine hours, in fact. I just didn't want to put it down, but I also didn't want it to end.

I loved that each chapter was written from the viewpoint of one of the characters. Many of them in the first person. Because of this I got lost once or twice because I missed the chapter heading that stated who was talking. Other than that, it was very easy to follow and a quick read.

Konath's characters were a little over the top at times, but that made the story more entertaining. I liked all of the characters, but I really loved Jack as well as her friend Harry. I don't know why but I kept picturing him as Jerry Orbach. Weird, eh?

I had trouble getting into my next couple of books because they were not as dynamic as this one. I kept kicking myself because I read it so fast rather than savouring it. Oh well, it's a good thing there are more books in the series. I'll be keeping my eye out for those on the backlist as well as any subsequent books.

Highly recommended.

First Darling of the Morning by Thrity Umrigar

First Darling of the Morning: Selected Memories of an Indian Childhood is the memoir of author, Thrity Umrigar. She includes stories from her early life that not only shaped her later in life but also shaped the books she would come to write. It was fascinating to read about her friendships, her family relationships, especially her tumultuous relationship with her mother, and her agonizing decision to leave India and move to America.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Thrity's writing is beautiful, fluid and easy to read. While I didn't enjoy it as much as I did her books (The Space Between Us and If Today Be Sweet), it was still a worthwhile read and I'm glad I got a chance to read it. It was neat to see that some of the events in her life vaguely resemble some of those in the lives of her characters. Now I know where a few of her ideas came from.

One of my favourite "characters" was Mehroo, Thrity's aunt. Thrity would have turned out to be a very different person had she not had Mehroo in her life. I think Mehroo benefitted too from the relationship.

If you've read Thrity's other works, this is a must read. It's a great companion to her novels.