Wednesday, August 20, 2014

50BC14:#2 Clavell's Shogun & #3 Coelho's Manuscript Found in Accra

This year's 50 Book Challenge is actually going to be a 20 book challenge as I am starting in August.  I actually finished both of these books before the Solnit, but forgot to blog them.

Shōgun (Asian Saga, #3)Shōgun by James Clavell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Epic is as good a description as any to describe this novel--not just for its length, but for its scope. There are moments of real beauty in the scenic descriptions and the cultural tapestry woven by Clavell. It is an art to reveal culture and history through fiction with finesse, and Clavell excelled at this. Blackthorne is a most excellent figure in that the reader learns as he learns, and we realize that in some sense, we are Clavell's pawn much as Blackthorne is the pawn in a larger game. Some of the political strategy and inner-thinking can feel long-winded, and if you are looking for a book full of action and plot, this book may not give you wa.

 Manuscript Found in AccraManuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This has a lot of the same lessons as The Alchemist and many of his other books, but lacks the same beauty simply because of the format. There are some timeless aphorisms and beautiful nuggets of wisdom, but the poetry is missing. I felt the book was tedious in the final two lessons from "the Copt," save for the last two pages of the book. That's where the real wisdom is, and it is made all the more effective, actually, if the reader finds himself/herself mildly frustrated by the formulaic approach. Those last pages save the book.

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