"Life of Pi," by Yann Martel (Harcourt Inc., 2001, 336 pgs.)
This extraordinary tale of a boy adrift on the Pacific aboard lifeboat with only hungry Bengal tiger for company asks us to reevaluate God's place in the universe, and more intimately, God's place within ourselves. Written in an almost musical prose, (something). Refreshing and different, Martel accomplishes with "Life of Pi" that rare feat most modern authors crave but never achieve: a story worthy of the word "unique."
"Black Sun Rising," by C.S. Friedman (Daw Books, 1991, 586 pgs.)
What isn't wrong with this book? Friedman's fantasy fiction trilogy opener had potential as a decent stuck-in-the-airport sort of read, but she manages to shoot herself in the foot at every turn. Its otherwise adequate premise plagues with a lack of focus, plot holes, deficient descriptions, mis-developed characters, dead dialogue, clumsy action sequences, and a host of other problems. Most trying for me was Friedman's liberal use of adverbs (those infamous L-Y words), betraying her inability to construct vivid descriptions. "The tear glittered wetly in the corner of her eye." Aargh! Shame on Daw for publishing this pile of garbage.
"1776," by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, 2005, 386 pgs.)
"The Planets: A Journey Through the Solar System," by Giles Sparrow (Quercus, 2007, 224 pgs.)
"Final Blackout," by L. Ron Hubbard (Bridge Publications, 1940, 184 pgs.)