A good book and a soft pillow

I tend to do a lot of my reading in bed, lying down, relaxed at the end of a long day, and rested enough to truly enjoy a good book.  Not everyone can read in bed, some just can’t find a comfortable position to read and hold the book.  Some find the light needed to read is disturbing to their bed partners, and others just are too darn tired at the end of a day!

I sympathize with you all, I’m rarely comfortable enough to read properly, and yet, I still need my fix, I used to often have “light issues” with my wife when I read in bed, and felt bad if I read til the wee hours with the light on.  Recently with the purchase of a lighted tablet, that’s no longer a problem (Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0), but as a result, I feel more comfortable reading later than ever before, so I tend to sleep at 2 and sometimes 3 in the morning!  Not good if you have to get up at 7.  Fortunately for me, it’s the summer, the children are home from school, doing their own sleeping in, so I get a chance for some extra sleep time.

As it happens, I tend to read what I think are pretty good books, ones that make you want to read “just one more chapter” until you realize that that glow out the window isn’t the streetlights, it’s the sun!

While I was on vacation in D.C., I had the opportunity for some family movie nights.  We decided on the movie of the night by vote.  The first movie night, we had the options of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”, and “Oz the Great and Powerful”.  Curiously enough, two films that involved magic, Oz won the vote, and although it had what I think was a great premise, it kind of missed the mark.  It was too long, and slowly caused me to lose interest.  Strike one.  So a couple of days later, we decided to try again, and we chose the Chinese movie “The Sorcered and the White Snake”.  Although the action scenes were pretty cool, the sub-titles were far to fast to actualy make anything out of the movie, it looked good, maybe I’ll find a dubbed version, but this was not a good film, Strike 2.  Now it comes to our last night in D.C. and we’re crazy enough to try again, so here we go, “Life of Pi”.  Wow, what a film!

“Life of Pi” the movie, and book I read shortly afterwards, is the story of a young man who survives a shipwreck and spends most of a year lost at sea.  The movie was great, and the story moved along very well, we finally had a winner on our hands, just as it seemed we might strike out.  The movie was so good, I decided that I needed to read the book as well, and it’s that book that I finished at the end of last week.  Truth be told, had I read the book first, I would probably have thought more of it, than having seen the movie first.  While the movie was well paced, there were moments in the book that dragged a bit.  I know, I will probably be lambasted for daring to spout such nonsense!  But that’s how I felt, it was a great book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it nonetheless.  I did, however, find it strange that the book was partly set in Toronto, while the movie use Montreal as it’s “present” location.  No matter, I just assume filming in Montreal was cheaper than filming in Toronto.  In either case, it was the Sea, the Boy and his Tiger that were the stars of both the film and the book.  without a doubt, worth the effort!

The Joy of Summer Reading.

I got back home after a lovely week in Washington D.C. on Sunday night, after having driven for 12+ hours.  Trust me, this is not something to do on a whim.  It’s well worth the slight discomfort to be able to spend a week with family we have not seen for some time, as you know, Skype Chatting does not count as spending time with family!

It was while in D.C. that I finished my latest book, and started something new.  I finished reading “314” by A.R. Wise, which is some sort of suspenseful thriller with a bit of supernatural thrown in.  It was a good book, but there were a few things that kinda irked me about the book.  The characters were believable, and the story flowed very well.  It made an interesting use of time, by showing us the happenings from the past just prior to the current happenings, and even turned this around as things got more complex as we approached the present.  The author makes note of this in his afterward. (yes, forwards, afterwards and thanks pages should be read in every book!)  The past, in this book, seems somewhat fluid, as what happened then, continues to happen in a sort of loop, which means some of the characters are doing the same thing they’ve done before, and some characters are experiencing things for the first time in a new way,thanks to the happenings in the present.  A little complex, but intriguing.

The part that bugged me the most was the premise that 314, the number for Pi (3.14159~) is used as a focus point in the book, and even is given as a code for the name of the corporation that has quarantined the town.  The problem is 3.141592 is supposed to represent the score for different tiles in the game of Scrabble, whos letters make up the name of the company (Cada EIB).  The thing is, this works for Cada, but the letters EIB are not scored 5/9/2, rather 1/1/3.  As a Scrabble Nut (most readers and writers seem to be) I know this, and the characters in the store, who are also supposed to be Scrabble Nuts, should know this, but the author cheated in order to push a point.  And that just irks. 🙁

Something similar happened when I was reading “The List” by J.A.Konrath.  Yes, another book by J.A. Konrath, also known as Jack Kilborn, as I’ve come to enjoy his writing style.  In The List, which I also finished during my vacation in D.C.!  This author is one I’ve come to really enjoy, as he’s able to really make his characters come alive.  But like just about all authors, they all make mistakes.  The one that really “ejected” me from this novel was one of services available in some locations and not in others.  In this case, gas companies.

In the book, two of the characters disguise themselves as gas company employees in order to gain access to a building where the president of the United States is giving a speach.  The problem is that the gas company they disguised themselves as employees of, “Enbridge,” does not provide gas services in Montreal, where the speech is taking place.  Instead, they should have disguised themselves as “Gaz Metropolitain” employees.  Surely in the next edition of the novel, this will be fixed.

Other than that, this book is a fantastic fun ride, every character shows their humorous side, and have fun with each other.  There are lines that made me laugh out loud, which can be confusing to those sitting around you.

One thing I learned while reading both “The List” and “314” is to try not to read them while resting at the beach, the sunburn is not worth it!