Sunday, 14 April 2019

The Rooster Bar - John Grisham, 2017

When I was growing up, I had two passions: basketball and girls. I had no time for reading, I thought it was enough with old the classic books I had to read at school. I normally linked boredom to books. That was the reality, I’m sure it was because I was reading the wrong books at that time. One Sunday morning, my dad gave me money to go to buy bread and the newspaper and he handled an equivalent of 20 GBP note so reluctantly I went for it. I used to buy the paper in a small shop just 100 yards away from my home, that store was owned by one of my neighbours. When I asked for the paper, the girl at the till asked me “Do you want the book it comes with the paper?” I looked to the book and saw the name “The Rainmaker” by John Grisham. The name sounds familiar and the story sounded great so against all odds I said - “yeah, I’m taking it too”.

That same evening I started reading that novel, I was hooked. Since that day, I love reading. No way back. John Grisham made me love reading. After that I have read many of his books. I loved them all.  The last one I read was “An Innocent Man” and I stopped. I wanted to read other writers and suddenly I forgot about him. Couple of weeks ago, I saw one of his books “The Rooster Bar” and I decided to read him again. 

Before I started reading I went to my Goodreads account and checked the reviews. Some said “Classic Grisham”, “Loved it!”, others however said “Slow paced”, “Predictable and boring”. Who was right? In my opinion, the first ones!

If you’re looking for a modern classic, a book with eternal twists, a novel with 300 characters and deaths all around the board, you simply don’t know who John Grisham is. The American writer will get you into a big social issue alongside 2 or 3 young, starving lawyers who will fight against a big rival in an uneven battle but their brains will beat their dollars and at the end they will run with the money.

‘The Rooster Bar’ dives you into the University for profit world, where students are lured into a University thinking about a bright future and only to know they are heavily in debt, the university scammed them with a poor education and they won’t be able to pass the bar, therefore they can’t work as a lawyer but they have to payback the university fees that could be as high as $250K. To recap, no bar, no future, no money, no life. These three student fight back the system posing as lawyers even before they graduated, a felony. 

In the other hand, Grisham points out the American Inmigration problem, especially how illegal immigrants are treated when caught. The drama of the deportation, and how affect them and their American family members. This is a touchy subject on today’s world. 

Throughout the three main characters you experienced first person all these problems on vintage Grisham style. 

I have enjoyed reading it, re discovering why I loved his books so much and now i’m more than eager to buy or get the other novels I had missed all these years.

Do I recommend ‘The Rooster Bar’? Hell, yeah.

The Rooster Bar
Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
ISBN A: 9781473616981
ISBN B: 9781473616998

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Inhuman Resources - Pierre Lemaitre, 2017

We all have one person who recommend us a book, a writer or a genre. ‘Have you heard about x,y or z writer? You should read his/her book. It’s amazing.’ With that simple sentence our brain starts working. The consequence? We will try that author, book or genre. That person in my life is my sister-in-law. For the last eight years, she has been recommending books and I have to admit, 95% of the times she has been spot on.

It must be around four years ago, when we were talking abut thrillers and she was so enthusiastic about a French writer called Pierre Lemaitre. Honestly, before that day I never had heard of him. But she spoke so highly about one novel (Alex) that I bought it stratight away. I loved it! Simply phenomenal! Then I read another three of his books, same result, fantastic!

Last January, I went to visit them back home in Spain. As usual, she recommended me another book, Inhuman Resources.

I have mixed feelings for this one, I liked it but I didn’t loved it. It’s well written, characters very well crafted but some parts of the storyline bored me. Some parts are just not credible and some turns are just ‘too Hollywood’, but again, I have enjoyed it and I would recommend it.

I enjoy talking about politics, I have my views on things which I don’t pretend to be right, just have them and I respect any contrary opinion. Fine with that, but on this particularly novel his turns against capitalism are ludicrous and populist. Obviously, companies want to maximaze profits and shareholders get more money in bonus than workers but capitalism is not the devil. Is it improvable? Yes! Is it perfect? No. Pierre Lemaitre hits the fan against it too often and in situations that were avoidable but in a sense it’s understandable. The main character, Alain Delambre, is an outcast. He was an executive in a big corporation, his company merged with a foreign one and he was made redundant. As he’s over 50 he can’t get back to the job line and has to work in underpaid jobs. That hit him up to the point of depression, humiliation and his self stem is down to the floor. When a situation gets worse, he had an interview that could change his and his family life. Sadly, he discovered that he has been played out and he had zero chances to get it. At this point he starts creating a net of lies, deceit, wrongdoing that will make him fall.

This is a tale of frustration against a society, corporativism and modern economy where profit beat humanity, and Lemaitre made it easy to understand and follow.

No doubt I would recommend ‘Inhuman Resources’ but don’t expect to its reading will change your life. From 1 to 10, I would give this a 7.

Have you read it and you disagree with me? Fantastic, let’s chat about it leaving a message below.

ISBN - 9788466343244
Penguin Random House Group.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Maze Runner - James Dashner, 2010

And once again, I decided to read a book that eventually became a movie. I know that loads of people say that no film will be as good as the literary source and I agree but there is no other way of finding out this than reading the book and watching the motion picture - however the order - right?

The first book is quite hooking at the beginning, when Thomas get into the maze, the unexpected arrival of Teresa the very next day and all the events that will follow. What I do appreciate of the book is the way James Dashner narrates the world inside the maze that is nothing but the basic organization of social group: the providers, the workers, the authorities, even the medics. Whilst the providers are limited to agricultural and livestock, the hunters will be substituted by the runners who are in charge of a critical task: to map the ever changing labyrinth. Therefore, the survival common goal of any social group which is mitigated by the external supplies given by ‘The Creators’ is replaced by another implicitly agreed purpose: to get out of the maze.

Another great merit of Dashner's work is the detailed exploration of Thomas’ mind during his adaptation process to the community: the fears triggered by the partial loss of memory, the bullying and the unknown, as well as his imminently raising as the leader of the group with its small victories and downfalls. And, another nice touch of the plot for me was to be able to remember one of the most popular phrases of a great teacher in my master of business: the only constant is ‘The Change’.

The second third of the book gets a slower rhythm and sometimes I felt like nothing is happening but you will later discover that all those little details that may seem irrelevant will be key on the last part. And, yes, I must confess that the last dozen of chapters kept me turning the pages non-stop until my delicious chai latte got cold.

An advise for all our followers and, in particular those looking for adventure books: The Maze Runner will be one of those fascinating readings that will make you want to buy get the next three parts. I would also recommend to shake off any memories you may have of the movies – if you saw them – and get into the story with fresh eyes and mind.

If you want to revive those first days in school, when you joined the Boy Scouts, your first fight, the day that you discovered those skills that made you decide and build your future, etc. The Maze Runner will be, without doubt, the right book for you.

Thanks to Małgo for the nice present!

Very recommendable.
ISBN - 9781909489400