Monday, February 23, 2009

Short Book Reviews

Here's a round-up of the books I've read since my last post on books I read:

1. Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt. The book's subtitle, "The Banality of Evil" captures most of what the book is all about. Adolf Eichmann, who was responsible for the transport of more than six million Jews to their deaths in concentration camps, struck Arendt as ordinary - he was not intelligent, he betrayed no strong passions, and was actually quite forgettable. His instrumental role in the Holocaust boggles the mind. An extremely good read. For the law fiends, Arendt has an interesting take on the legality of the Jerusalem tribunal. For the history fiends, she has a very informative discourse on how the different European countries reacted when the Nazis ordered the deportation of their Jews.

2. The White Tiger, Aravind Andiga. At first it seems like a very well written discourse about class struggle, but on reflection one of the best books I've read that dwells on amorality as an effect of poverty. It has left me still pondering. Read it.

3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon. A good narrative about the Golden Age of Comics and Jews in pop culture. I don't know much about the art of comic books, but I found this very fun to read.

4. The Gathering, Anne Enright. The most depressing of the books I've read this month. Set against the backdrop of the narrator's loss of a sibling to suicide, insights into familial relationships are interwoven with their dark stories. Really good and no-nonsense writing, but bleak.

5. March, Geraldine Brooks. Have you read Little Women? This book is the story of the absent father, who joins the Union army and undergoes painful experiences of his own. Mr. March is made very human, and as depicted, can conceivably be the father of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. The lyrical writing has officially made Ms. Brooks one of my favorite contemporary authors (but I preferred her first book, A Year of Wonders, more).


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