Friday, June 22, 2007

Two Reviews

NYT Notable Challenge Review: The Echo Maker by Richard Powers. Ugh. That's all I really want to say about this book. Why on earth it made it to the NYT Notable list I don't know. Bookmarks Magazine also gave it a pretty good review....it was already on my to be read list before I signed up for the challenge. Usually I have good luck following Bookmarks' suggestions. This is a book about a guy who gets in a car accident and ends up with Capgras syndrome, which is a rare brain issue. There's a lot of information about brain function in the book, which I generally find interesting but in this novel was utterly boring. Also, there's a lot of information about birds -- the lead in to most chapters is a description of bird life. Also pretty boringly written. I read another book entirely while stalled in the middle of this book, something I rarely ever do. I didn't want to pick up this book to finish it, but I was on vacation and hadn't brought another book to read. So I finished it, grudgingly.
I chose this as one of the books that says something about me for the Something About Me challenge. It was the only book I chose that I hadn't read, but I knew without reading it that it would say something about me! I was an Air Traffic Controller for 11 years before I had kids and my husband still does the job. Almost every book, article, movie, etc. about air traffic control gets it hideously wrong. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed watching the movie Pushing Tin. They got some things right, too, but that's not how it really is. This book is phenomenal in detail, getting almost everything right. I "recognized" the language, the culture and the camaraderie. He goes into a lot of detail about air traffic control and how it works. This was highly interesting to me, but I'm not sure if it would be for the layperson. Still the story is engaging and horrifying (not too sure if I should have picked it to read on a plane, but...) and fast paced. If you like good suspense, I think you'll like it. Not only that, you'll get some education about the politics that go on for air traffic controllers, and you might even do something about it, like visit The Main Bang or write your senator!

5 comments:

Chasida said...

I'm glad to see it wasn't just me who disliked The Echo Maker. Sometimes when I read these books that receive all this praise I start wondering about myself. What did I miss that everyone else got? Thanks for restoring my faith.

Joy said...

Oh, that's not good news. I have this on my list to read. Ut oh.

N.Vasillis said...

It's disappointing to read a bad book. But what's more disappointing is when that book received critical acclaim.

kookiejar said...

I wasn't totally bored by 'The Echo Maker' but it wasn't worth the great reviews it got. I'm rather mystified by the NYT list. I wonder how that whole thing was decided.

Lazy cow said...

I lasted 1 1/2 chapters into The Echo Maker. After that, I vowed that I wouldn't read any more new release hyped-to-the-eyeballs books until they're at least 5 years old, to see if they last the distance. There are so many good, older books that have stood the test of time, why waste MY time?!