October 2006

…not philosophy, social comment, moralizing or artsy literature, please.

Action, revenge, mystries, blood and guts, spycho-thrillers, that’s what I like to read. Books that read like an action movie, where you sit at the edge of your seat and can’t look away for fear of missing something important. (One such movie was ‘Double Jeopardy’) It’s the enjoyment of gathering all the puzzle pieces that make up an intricate plot picture, and coming to the end of it and wanting it to continue. It’s fiction that has much which is based on fact.

It started with James Clavell, whose books I devoured. I loved every word he wrote. One of the only books I have read twice, and probably will again, is “Shogun”. It’s a fictional story, but it’s also the history of Japan and it’s fascinating. When I was just about to find out where to send a note (pre-email) to let him know how much his books meant to me, he died.

So now when I find an author whose books I really enjoy, whose style doesn’t become stale, his/her stories don’t become a formula, I find them online and tell them how much I like their work. We complain far too much, praise offsets that a bit.

So who are the authors I really like, whose books are thrilling? Those listed below are the cream of my crop:

  • John Grisham a former lawyer (he can be a bit ‘preachy’)
  • Ken Follett Whiteout, The Pillars of the Earth, completely different books, such good stories!
  • Steve Berry another lawyer. The locations and themes of his books are delightfully different and very suspenseful
  • Michael Connelly is a journalist. His writing style is so good, you can see the characters, their surroundings, feel their mood and follow the plot easily.
  • Kathy Reichs a working Forensic Anthropologist, University Professor, Book Author, TV show “Bones”, doesn’t waste any of her time…
  • Patricia Cornwall (Her characters can be a little too introspective.) Her website is very sophisticated, it’s got an interesting, interactive challenge on it to check how much you know about the real collection of evidence vs. what you see on CSI.
  • Dan Brown Well, if you haven’t heard of his books (DaVinci Code, etc.) you’ve been living in outer space. Ah, I just love it when the serious debates start as a result of a fictional plot. Zelots discussing fiction and taking it as fact, it’s a stage show… :-)
  • Jan Wong – Red China Blues. This book doesn’t fit into this category, it’s also not fiction, but it is a fascinating account of China written by someone who ‘grew up’ there in more ways than one.

There are others, but those are the most recent. I can always add some more. Meantime with this list you can read for a year.

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Road Rage…

October 14, 2006

…or something like it!

I don’t know what it is, but as soon as there is rain announced, just even mentioned on the news, the righteous drivers on Vancouver Island start slowing down. Traffic is moving at a snail’s pace today. Where the speed limit is 50km/h, people cautiously slow down to 40km/h. It’s sunny, mind you, just a few cirrus clouds, a little cooler, but hey, it could rain, or even ice over in seconds… One cannot be too cautious…

The drama at the traffic light is also something to behold. The cautious driver slows down, way down and slowly coasts towards the light. Most turning lanes are fairly short, so not too many cars can line up safely, but the righteous, cautious driver leaves at the very least two car lengths space between themselves and the car in front. They must have listened hard to the safe driving tips that advise to keep some space between the car in front, so that you can safely move around that car, in case it stalls… well, I guess two car lengths is very, very, very safe. If I can, I sometimes plug that hole with my car, I just hate wasted space… :-)

And then the cautious driver has so much to think about while he/she is driving that they often forget how to use their indicator. They are slowing down way back from an intersection and coast to a stop and cautiously wait, the indicator blinking left turn… on a straight road, without traffic. Just as I want to pass them on the right… that cautious driver with the left turn signal on, turns right.

I could go on, but there is one very funny flash video that explains it all much better. Come on! Move it!

(Oh, wait, it’s Friday the 13th… I better slow down.)

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