I spent the last week cycling around and read three interesting books. I recommend all three.
1. The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal: If you can write a bestselling book about homosexuality in 1948 that doesn't fall back on stereotypes and age old prejudices, then you've got my attention. The fact that the book is actually good, if not great, makes it all the better. I can't say this is the type of book I'd normally read. I've always thought sexuality in general is one of the most boring topics out there. Minus the politics of the matter (which I do care about), the subject has always been sort of irrelevant to me - not something I'm all that interested in reading about. But I've developed a mini Gore Vidal obsession this year after reading a few of his essays - and this did seem like one of his best known novels. At 207 pages, it's a quick read, and a powerful novel at that.
2. The Shack by William P. Young: I read this book because other people told me they loved it. I didn't know anything about it and for some reason thought it was some sort of atheist or agnostic novel about God. It's not - It's definitely Christian fiction, which is fine by me too. I think it takes some real guts to make God a character in your book (And to make one aspect of God a boisterous black woman even more so). The book is about reconciling God with the great tragedies of life. Some of the metaphors and similes were a bit much for me, but whatever - I've never thought of religion as something that is logical, but instead I've tried to approach the subject in terms of faith and emotion. On those two aspects, this novel passed muster. I didn't find the book to be as "edgy" or "life altering" as some people suggest - but hey, to each their own.
3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck: I'm about halfway through this book and it's amazing. Everything I've ever read by Steinbeck is such a pleasure - he's got a dark humour about him that I find appealing. This book tells the history of two families in the Salinas Valley - which in itself doesn't sound all that interesting. But it is - The characters, the writing, and the story are all fantastic. I actually woke up early this morning to read the book and I'm hoping to get a quarter more done tonight.