The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
In the end, what we really think is the end isn’t the end. Nothing ever comes to an end. It’s always a beginning. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is an explosive work of literature. Riveting. Where else will you read eight hundred and thirty eight words in one sentence, a sentence that makes perfect sense, from point to point to point, with only one full stop, one lonely full stop, at the end? Simply riveting (I said that again), adrenaline-inducing, and electrifying.
You’ve got to read Junot Diaz’s works. He is from another planet of writers. Wow!
Undisputed Truth – Mike Tyson
I always start reading a book from the dedication page. This one got me hooked right away. “This book is dedicated to all the outcasts – everyone who has ever been mesmerized, marginalized, tranquilized, beaten down and gotten the wrong end of the stick. And incapable of receiving love.”
In his autobiography, Undisputed Truth, Mike Tyson strips himself naked to the world. He throws a flurry of punches at himself. Throws a left hook and a right hook hitting his jaw bone and then a left upper cut which I thought would knock him out cold. But he just staggers to the ropes. He continues to unleash a barrage of punches at himself, bleeding profusely, head spinning like the wheel of an over speeding vehicle.
And with one last punch, his signature right upper cut, knocks himself out cold falling face down on the canvas. The referee counts the old Mike Tyson out. And now, he’s picking himself up, the new Mike Tyson, leading a more purposeful life.
For a man who became a street thug at eight years of age, didn’t think he’d live to see his sixteenth birthday, has a rap sheet that’s so long you’d have to turn pages upon pages to read it all, struggled with a combination of addictions (sex, alcohol, cocaine and weed), ran bankrupt and just lost it all, it’s understandable why he called himself an arrogant good for nothing SOB and POS (google can help with those acronyms).
Mike Tyson tells it all, what it’s like to fall from grace. He tells how the media will vouch for you all the time, writing good things about you. When you achieve a certain level of success at your game, the same media that put you up there will break you, tear you apart at every opportunity and make your life miserable.
Undisputed Truth is a book worth reading a million times.
Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
Long Walk to Freedom is the memoir of a man who sacrificed almost 50 years of his life in the struggle against racial injustice in South Africa.
With an idyllic first few chapters, the flawless story telling prowess of Tata Madiba brings to light the numerous sacrifices he and his comrades made as they proudly stood up for what they believed in. They fought a system which didn’t recognize them as human beings, a system which robbed them of their rights as citizens of South Africa, a system which divided the rainbow nation based on race. Against all odds, courage, resilience and hope kept them going. Tata Madiba didn’t drop the baton, not even after crossing the “finish line”.
The pockets of humor bring some light moments to this deeply enlightening and reflective collection of experiences of a true hero who will never be forgotten.
DRUNK – Jackson Biko
My favorite part in this book, the one that cracked me nuts, is the last paragraph on page 136. There’s this guy in rehab. He tried committing suicide by taking a dive into a manhole sewer. The acid got into all his pores, burning him in the most ruthless way your imagination can think of. He screamed his tears out.
When good Samaritans pulled him out, homeboy didn’t want to die anymore.
I read the back page of DRUNK to my friend Larry and burst out into a thunder of laughter before I could get to the end.
Larry – the guy who runs the back end stuff of my blog, – tth his fazed haircut and rough beards covering his cheeks and running down his jaw bone just shook his head. He flushed a forced smile, probably praying a dog poops at my doorstep at home.
He picked up the book, flipped to a page, read something, placed it back on my desk and walked away.
So I sent him a text the other day.
“Yo’ Larry,” I typed. “Would you like to read this book that has Larry as its main character?”
And 53 minutes later, he replied.
“I read page 1…not bad. Keep it around.”
I got back home that evening and found a pile of dog poop in the grass outside my door.
Maybe Larry telepathically speaks to dogs and they listen to him.
The Larry in DRUNK has no dog. He has ex-girlfriends, liquor, cigarettes, a brother who has his life together and a praying mom. There’s someone else in his life, a girl whom he speaks to in his dreams. He has a special relationship with her.
Uncle Dysfunctional: Uncompromising Answers To Life’s Most Painful Problems – A.A Gill
Laugh. Raise your legs up and fall to the ground. Roll on to your side. Keep laughing and choke from it until you get a head ache. Let your cheeks hurt. Face palm yourself and laugh some more. That’s what Uncle Dysfunctional will do to you.
A.A Gill takes a satirical approach to answering people’s questions, probably the craziest counsellor and advice writer you’ll ever read. From questions on love, dress code, sex, religion, God, school, parenting and any other whacky ideas, AA Gill has answers that’ll thrust your lungs up the roof.
Some answers are many paragraphs long. Others are just one sentence. With A.A Gill, the length of his reply doesn’t matter. Each sentence is a work of entertainment. But he has responses that are measured and infused with thought provoking nuggets. They’ll leave you meditating on your life choices.
I’d previously posted some of these book reviews on my Facebook page before I started this blog. I’d wondered how best to shift these book reviews on to this blog. Today’s prompt allowed me do just that.