Saturday, December 29, 2012

Brief praise of Christopher Hitchens final book "Mortality"

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
A quick and insightful glimpse into the final days of a great journalist and debater. His voice and his pen will be missed, I am just glad he left behind a wonderful collection of his thoughts and his stories behind for us to enjoy till we reach our ends. It is everything you would expect from Hitch; a no holds barred account of slowly dying from cancer. Very poignant insight into life during cancer treatment and all the raw painful experiences to be found in "Tumorville".

Friday, November 30, 2012

My experience with "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden

Golden does a wonderful job of blending the history of Japan from the 20's through the 50's through the eyes of one Geisha it is hard not to imagine him sitting in a teahouse in New York with a tape recorder and notepad at the feet of an aging Sayuri. Part history of Kyoto and all about the life and culture of the Geisha of Gion, it is a tale that draws you in from the first pages to its somewhat predictable conclusion.

Being a realist I imagined the worse scenario befalling the heroine and in this tale it usually did, but for me the ending was not full of the terrible grief and loss that I had come to expect. A truly moving tale with memorable characters and imagery that will endure in my mind for years to come. Thanks for a great read, one of those rare books I couldn't put down and that leaves me a bit sad to return to the shelf.

I started this journey on a rainy November afternoon in a small hotel room in Kyoto just across the river from Gion and steps from Pontocho. I finished it back home in Los Angeles, and as I read it here I found myself back in Japan side by side with Sayuri as she walked the streets I had so recently left behind. Thank you for taking me back to Kyoto so vividly and for giving me an even greater desire to return.