Category Archives: Novels

The Life of Pi

Disclaimer:  I’m afraid this isn’t going to be an objective review of a book.  I think, with the risk of sounding like a cougar or a kook or both (& possibly fickle), I’ve fallen in love with the central human in the novel The Life of Pi, the young man known as Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi).

This novel, by author Yann Martel, won a number of awards when it was first published, and it has also made its way on to high school reading lists and read by book clubs so I’m not the only reader who’s been swept up (swept away) with this character and his tale of survival.  For me it wasn’t until the latter pages of this story that I realized how emotionally wrapped up I had become with Pi and his story.

Full disclosure: In light of how I feel about cats, both big and small, I believe this aspect of my personality and emotions was also tapped while reading this story.  At one time in my life I had a cat I named “Tiger Moon.”  At another time in my life I had a cat whose survival and my ability to take care of this animal became very very important to me.  I also believe that meerkats are fascinating creatures.

Here is one of my favorite passages from this novel Life of Pi:                                                            “There were many skies.  The sky was invaded by great white clouds, flat on the bottom but round and billowy on top.  The sky was completely cloudless, of a blue quite shattering to the senses.  The sky was a heavy, suffocating blanket of grey cloud, but without promise of rain.  The sky was thinly overcast.  The sky was dappled with small, white fleecy clouds.  The sky was streaked with high, thin clouds that looked like a cotton ball stretched apart.  The sky was a featureless milky haze.  The sky was a density of dark and blustery rain clouds that passed by without delivering rain.  The sky was painted with a small number of flat clouds that looked like sandbars.  The sky was a mere block to allow a visual effect on the horizon: sunlight flooding the ocean, the vertical edges between light and shadow perfectly distinct.  The sky was a distant black curtain of falling rain.  The sky was many clouds at many levels, some thick and opaque, others looking like smoke.  The sky was black and spitting rain on my smiling face.  The sky was nothing but falling water, a ceaseless deluge that wrinkled and bloated my skin and froze me stiff.

There were many seas.  The sea roared like a tiger.  The sea whispered in your ear like a friend telling you secrets.  The sea clinked like small change in a pocket.  The sea thundered like avalanches.  The sea hissed like sandpaper working on wood.  The sea sounded like someone vomiting.  The sea was dead silent.

And in between the two, in between the sky and the sea, were all the winds.

And there were all the nights and all the moons.

To be a castaway is to be a point perpetually at the centre of a circle…”

I finished reading this book last nite and today am realizing I miss Pi.  Some characters have the ability to draw the reader in and Pi, for me, is one of them.

lifeofpi               Life-Of-PiImage2.png


Book Titles — Whose are the Best?!

This is something that’s been mulling around in my head for the past few weeks.  I recently read a book by the author, Gail Godwin entitled Queen of the Underworld.  I was attracted to the book because it took place in Miami, FL in 1959 at the time when I, myself, lived as a child in Miami.  From what I read in the book’s blurb the story sounded also potentially appealing.

The book is about Emma Gant, a young journalist fresh out of UNC Chapel Hill and her experiences in her first reporter job at the city’s main newspaper, the Miami Star.  Emma, the central character, is NOT the “queen of the underworld” – it is another character who Emma develops an interest in, and who the reader anticipates is going play a significant role in Emma’s life and in the novel.   This never occurs.   The woman who’s deemed the “queen of the underworld” looms about in the corners of the story yet does not appear until the final pages.  What happened?  The book’s title just doesn’t match the story line.

I’d read a book by author, Gail Godwin, some years back entitled Mr. Bedford and the Muses.  I don’t remember questioning the title of that book.  Actually I rarely question the title of a book.

I began to think about book titles that stand out in my mind as true and memorable.  Who I thought of first and most emphatically is the author, Tom Robbins.  His book title gives you a glimpse into his novel, and depending on your slant of mind, you’re either attracted or repelled about reading the particular book.  Now this is possibly the case with a lot of writers.  It’s just that with Tom Robbins his book titles often capture his style and storyline well.

I actually haven’t read all of Tom Robbins’ novels – at some point I had a hard time finishing one of them and after that didn’t seek out his books anymore.  I still pay some attention to what’s he’s writing for the most part and I still love his book titles!

Books by Tom Robbins (written in order of publication year for the most part):

Another Roadside Attraction

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Still Life with Woodpecker

Jitterbug Perfume

Skinny Legs and All

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

Villa Incognito

Wild Ducks Flying Backward

B is for Beer (this one it turns out is “a children’s book for grown-ups, and a grown-up book for children”)