It’s the end of another month, which means it’s time to talk about one of my other favorite subjects aside from food — books. Though I’m just about to dive into some library books as I put this post up, I did make some progress with my personal to-read shelf and read some pretty cool stuff. Take a look:
Secrets (by Ruskin Bond) – This slim volume of short stories was the second Ruskin Bond book I picked up while on my recent trip to India — another set of stories clearly influenced by Bond’s childhood growing up in Dehradun. This was a really fast read for me — a couple of the stories were so-so, while others were more poignant (and even adventurous).
The Orphan Master’s Son (by Adam Johnson) – Considering the news cycle lately, I picked a fine time to read this book, which had been sitting on my to-read shelf for close to a year now. I’ve never been to North Korea, so I’m not going to be one of those people who goes on about how this book, a work of fiction, captures North Korea so well. It does seem to capture aspects of it very well based on some nonfiction books I’ve read (and the author certainly did do his research and travel briefly through the country). The book ultimately isn’t necessarily meant to be particularly realistic, but while it is certainly not the most cheerful of books, it is incredibly compelling and probably one of the better novels I’ve read in a long time. I would highly recommend this one.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (by Philip K. Dick) – Since this was the month of Blade Runner, I thought now would be a fine time to read the book the movie was based on. The only other Philip K. Dick book I read before this was A Scanner Darkly and I don’t think I had any idea what was going on while reading that book, so this novel wound up being an improvement to me. I know a number of people who think Blade Runner is better than the book it was based on — I’m not sure if I’m willing to say that either the book or movie are better, but I did enjoy reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, partially due to the fact that I spent a lot of time dissecting what eventually made it into the film and what didn’t, and what subtle nods to the book ended up in the film even if other plot points were cut out. If you like Blade Runner or science fiction novels at all, I do think this is a worthwhile read, but just be prepared for it to be a book that has its own identity outside of the movie.