Hiking more than 200 miles in Austria is no excuse for not reading. Admittedly, I did sneak in some audiobooks while trekking up and down mountains this summer.
What have you been reading?
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (3/5 stars)
Three-line review: Though this is an engaging story told by an Indian chauffeur who drives a wealthy couple around Delhi and how he came to own his own taxi service, the protagonist is despicable from the first page. I don’t understand why the author chose to tell the story through the course of seven days of letter writing — that didn’t add anything for me. However, I am intrigued by the main character’s nickname of the elusive white tiger and the fact he refers to those with white skin (particularly Americans) as being overtaken by the ambition of those in the East in the very near future; something seems to be simmering below the surface with this allusion.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown (5/5 stars)
Three-line review: Everything about this story and the way Brown tells it is engaging. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t be interested in the topics this story touches on, but the author does an excellent job weaving together one man’s personal history, the finer points of boat building, how a rag-tag group of men became world-class athletes, and the rise of Nazi Germany. This was a stay-up-late book for me; I highly recommend it.
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (4/5 stars)
Three-line review: This coming-of-age story is very straightforward and uncomplicated, almost to the point where you have to ask if there’s even an actual story here. Despite it’s simplicity and slightly unlikable main character, I remained curious about where the story was going. Maugham is an excelling writer, and the language and syntax holds up even after nearly 100 years.