Sunday, November 3, 2013

Micro-Reviews of Books Read, October 2013

Reviews of books read last month. Only two books completed this time,
though I'm part way through two more.

1. "The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

This novella is set in an impoverished Mexican fishing village during
the 1940s. Kino is a pearl diver, who lives with Juana and their baby
boy, Coyotito. Kino dreams of finding the largest pearl in the world,
which will save his family from poverty and his son will be able go
to school. When he does indeed find an enormous pearl, it brings out
the worst in the other villagers: envy, opportunism and eventually

An interesting and cautionary folk tale about how a realised dream
can quickly turn into a nightmare.

2. "Shift" by Hugh Howey

This is the second book in the post-apocalyptic Silo or Wool series.
It is set before the events in the first book, between 2049 and 2345.
It describes how a network of silos was secretly funded by US power-
brokers. One of the main characters is a newly-elected congressman
and former architect, who was recruited to design a silo. Initially,
he has no idea what is really going on. When the bombs fall, he is
ushered into Silo 1, and put into deep-freeze. Over the centuries,
he is awakened from cryo-sleep to work short "shifts" to advise at
critical times. Each time he learns a little more about the origins
and real purpose of the silos.

Reading this prequel, it becomes clear why the trilogy started in
the middle. If you're intrigued by the series, I'd strongly advise
reading "Wool" first to avoid spoilers. I hope to read the final
instalment soon.