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Poolside Readings

[View of Diamond Head from Waikiki] I’ve done so much reading by the pool that for most of the time I have to put my Kindle 3G+Wifi away to prevent water damage. You may think that water might as well incur equal damage on the pages. I’ll take care I don’t fall asleep and render my books vulnerable to the dive into the pool like in Phuket. What an interesting coincidence that I’m reading two books set in Spain, The Angel’s Game in Barcelona and Learning to Lose in Madrid.

I have high hope on Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s new book after Shadow of the Wind. My enthusiasm grew when I read the first chapter of The Angel’s Game but immediately I realized it wouldn’t live up to the praise of the predecessor. I read to the end of Part I (153 pages) when the struggling writer David Martín is offered a shocking fortune from the mysterious Andreas Corelli to write a book on a new religion. I’m even more shocked that I’m actually not curious about what will happen. Two cosmos later—I put the book aside (I will come back to it) and picked up Learning to Lose by Michael Trueba. It’s a story that revolves around a family in crises and saturates on people’s need to connect to others, whether through sports, love or money. A teenage girl got run over by a car and broke her leg. Grandma broke her hip in shower. Grandpa just experienced an erotic awakening that sent him to chalet. An Argentinian transplant soccer player tried to live a normal life in the presence of glamorous hangers-on. Hilarious and provocative. Madrid would be the winner for this round!

If you haven’t done so, check out my review of The Palisades by independently published author Tom Schabarum. I finished it here by the beach yesterday and the story just hits my nerves and heartstrings.

17 Responses

  1. I only got to read by the pool a few times this summer, which is unfortunate, as reading by the pool is probably my favorite summer pastime!

  2. Shadow of the wind is great; The Angel’s Game is fairly good,still entertaining enough, but no where near the first one. A bit more Gothic in spirit, yet somehow in spite of it, less thrilling. I read the third one as well, called Marina, which is actually meant for (older) kids and thus came before the other two. I think that Shadow is on a whole different level compared to the other two. Did you know that C.R. Zafon composed music for this book as well ? I found it enchanting, music and Shadow both. If interested you can download it from his web site where you can also enjoy trailers for his books 🙂 (I think that is the first time I actually saw a trailer for a book:).

    Don’t know if you had a chance to read it but I would mention The Meaning of Night, by Michael Cox, another Dickens-lover that I think you might enjoy.

    • Thanks Gradiva. I was off looking for the book after you mentioned it. I’m glad to find a copy—it’s a huge volume, but it does read like an engaging literary thriller.

  3. Angel’s Game is not as good as Shadow was, but I’m still looking forward to more by Zafron. I don’t know of Learning to Lose but I’ll look for it. I’m leaning towards literature in translation these days.

    • I’ve always been a fan of translated literature because it opens my eyes to the social condition and history of countries beyond my reach. Trueba had published two previous novels but unfortunately, they are not available in English.

  4. I am longing to go to Hawaii and will be there soon. It sounds like you are having a wonderful vacation with lots of reading and thinking time.

    • Hawaii is an emotional and soul recharge. I could never get tired of watching the ocean and the changing sky. I just have to put on lots of sun block and mosquito repellant! 🙂

  5. I found the Angels Games was ok as a read but nowhere near as thrilling as shadow of the wind. I could have quite happily stopped reading The Angels Games halfway through.

    • I don’t find Angels Games very spectacular. It’s a good read but it doesn’t live up to all the hype. The hype should belong the first book.

  6. Zafon is just not for me, I suspect. I read Shadow of the Wind earlier this year and pretty much hated it every step of the way! I know tons of people love it, but I just did not get the appeal at all!

    But so jealous of your Hawaiian getaway! I’ve long wanted to visit Hawaii!

    • bring lots of good reads when you do come to Hawaii! Zafon is a writer who can seize you from the very beginning. Unfortunately, The Angel’s Game just doesn’t deliver that magic for me. It’s plain compared to the previous book. I won’t recommend it to you if you hated Shadow of the Wind!

  7. I would glady put the Kindle away to be able to be reading by the pool. Enjoy your vacation!

  8. Oh jealous, jealous! It is wise to put the Kindle away when you are poolside…you can’t use a hair dryer on it like a real book! You are right, The Angel’s Game wasn’t quite as good, but it was good. A much high body count that is for sure. The end is worth the work, trust me. I am now listening to his newest YA book, The Prince of Mist. It is wonderfully spooky and atmospheric, as it should be!

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