Monday, January 28, 2008

Book Review Times Two

Two today - one badly written book with an interesting theme, and one wonderfully written book on a topic I couldn't get all that excited about.

"Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown: 5.5/10

This guy can't write* and needs to work on his pacing, but he knows how to tell a story. I started this book with low expectations, and ended up enjoying it much more than the Da Vinci code. The subject matter - the conflict between science and faith - was interesting enough to compensate for the cheesy writing (the description of the sexual tension between the two main characters was truly cringeworthy). It got a bit silly towards the end, but hey, it's Dan Brown. Definitely worth a try, even if you didn't really like the Da Vinci code all that much.

*some passages were clumsy enough to merit being read out loud in a silly voice for my husband's amusement.

"Road Fever" by Tim Cahill: 5/10

The tale of a record-breaking drive from the Southern tip of Argentina to Alaska. I'm a big fan of Tim Cahill's based on his other books - collections of adventure travel articles that span everything from fighting oil fires in Kuwait, to sea turtle conservation, to sky diving and hang gliding. It was Cahill's books that first inspired me to try sea kayaking - I'd read about it in a couple of his articles, thought it sounded great, and signed up for a course a couple of months after I arrived in Vancouver. I prefer to Just Say No to sky diving and hang gliding though.

So this book was a wee bit disappointing. Unlike Dan Brown, Tim Cahill can really write, and parts of this narrative were very engaging. But I just couldn't get all that excited about the driving aspect, which was obviously featured very prominently. Like Angels and Demons, it all got a bit breathless at times, and reading two books like that back to back is a bit much. I missed the variety of his other books, and the ability to dip in and out, reading one article at a time. I'd recommend skipping this one and picking up any of these other books instead.


  1. "*some passages were clumsy enough to merit being read out loud in a silly voice for my husband's amusement."

    I bet that was funny :)

  2. He seemed to enjoy it!

    We have a very similar sense of humour when it comes to pointing out other peoples' linguistic mishaps. e.g. last week we were watching a documentary about the sense of taste, and the narrator said that people who lose this sense often react with "dismay, or even worse". We both simultaneously piped up with "even worse than dismay?! Surely not".

    Just one of the many reasons why he's so awesome...


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