The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand
This was the 2nd Ayn Rand book I've read since I read Atlas Shrugged almost a year ago. I must say, I did like Atlas Shrugged more, but perhaps that was because I found it more romanticized. Regardless, this book is another example of Ojectivism, placing the individual and self before others. I liked it a lot. I read it at a time I really needed to. The best thing I'd say I took away from it was the idea that people should not look to others for their self worth, nor should they necessarily look to others to tell them what to do, but rather it is the self that is the most pure. It's a good mixture of storylines and a vast amount of characters, all surrounding the society and climate in the book. It takes place in the architecture world mostly in New York City, and I must say I now have a new respect for buildings. While I'm not about to go out and join Rand's group or whatever, the ideas she presents in her stories definitely have a way of ringing true. This is definitely an important piece of literature, although I probably would have read this prior to Atlas Shrugged. I definitely recommend it.
Naked - David Sedaris
I'd heard so many good things about Sedaris writing, that I did indeed have to pick up a book. I had seen a friend reading this particular one, so I decided this was the one I was going to start with. This book is basically a collection of stories from Sedaris's life, about his family and some of the interesting things he did while growing up. While I found some parts greatly funny, I just wasn't all that impressed. Although it did certainly leave me with a sense of nostalgia for my own family stories, I guess I prefer one more fluid story.
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balances look at the Right - Al Franken
I loved loved loved this book. It's hilarious, and not to mention highly informative. I learned a lot of stuff. I'm typically not one to read political books, it's just not my thing, but it was on sale at BJ's and I like Al Franken, so I gave it a try. I'm glad I did. I'm not going to make my mother read this before election day. The best part of this book, besides pointing out the lies the media and Right Wing Officials have told, was all the correction of false statements by the President, and other public figures. I mean, certainly, I wasn't going to vote for Bush in the upcoming election. But to see how very clearly he lies about so many things has me completely appalled. I'm with Mr. Franken in believing that if someone says something untrue, or incorrect, especially in the media, they should admit they lied or were wrong. But that doesn't happen. I will now chuckle every time I hear the words "liberal" and "media" together. This book also made me start thinking about the types of propagando and lies the Repulican Party and the Conservative Lying Media will be telling as we get closer to election day. I can say one thing for sure, if by some chance BUSH wins the election, I think we should demand a recount in every state and every county. This is a book everyone should read. It's definitely going to be my resource guide for how to not do things when I become the president one day.
These next 3 books are all by Dan Brown. I'll review each of them individually, and then give an overview of the author.
Angel & Demons - Dan Brown
This is the first appearance of the studious yet charming professor Robert Langdon. This books definitely has a great storyline, complete with all sorts of thrills, twists, and tons of action. Only Dan Brown can make the Catholic Church exciting. But seriously, there were a lot of neat ideas in this, plus tons of information about the Catholic Church, Artists of the past, the Illuminati, and religious icons. I think I read this book in about a day and a half, because I couldn't put it down. I would definitely read it before considering reading the Da Vinci Code, although it gives some background to the man character and his past.
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
For those of you who love conspiracy theories, mysteries, puzzles, and art, this book is for you. I hear that since this book came out, people have flocked to the Louvre and other historical places in Paris looking to visit the places Robert Langdon went to on this journey. This is the more famous of Brown's books, although I think I liked Angels & Demons more, but they both are extremely interesting especially as far as the ideas about the founding and history of the Catholic church and our ideas that come from the bible. This is probably one of the most important pieces of literature in the last couple of decades.
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
A different arena all together, Digital Fortess go into a story about our own government, the information age, and code breaking. It was a view good book, although I'm not sure how much of it is ficitious and how much of it is based off of real information. If you like Cryptography, code breaking, and internet/email securites stories, you'll like this. It poses an importan question as to what is more important, the right to privacy, or the government's ability to protect us. This is an issue that while not exactly the same, is something we should be considering with bogus bills like the Patriot Act that in the "interest of safety" basically destory our rights to privacy.
Now, I said I would talk about Dan Brown's books as a whole, since I've just read 3 of them (I believe he's only written 4 or 5 so far). While I have liked each of his books, I've noticed they are rather formulaic, and that's kind of been bothering me. In each there is basically only one female character who is good and pure, extremely intelligent, and almost an exception to "the rules". She is always paired off with a brilliant bookish type man who turns out to be more than just brains. There's always a twist towards the end about who you think the bad guy(s) is/are, and the truth. And there is always at least one (or two) people with a disability or physical handicap that makes people underestimate them. Now, do these formulas work? Certainly. Did I enjoy the books? Very much so. But do I still kinda feel like Dan Brown cheated when he wrote these books? Kinda.
So that's that. Right now I'm reading The Laws of our Fathers by Scott Turow and am not very impressed, but whatever.