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I was able to pick up on my book reading over the long break last December, and there were 2 books that I was able to see through its ending, and one that I simply could not process anymore and decided to retire in our “book box”.      The 2 books that I finished till the end were Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession by Julie Powell and The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.

Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession  is a continuation of Julie’s story after her successful Julia & Julie book.   I actually did not read the 1st book, but have seen and liked the movie version so when I saw this book sequel, I thought I’d find it interesting.

But I was disappointed.   About 70% of the book talked about Julie’s love affair (obsession) and only 20% was dedicated on the cooking, or rather, on butchery (meat).   The remaining 10% talked about anything else (marriage).     I dunno if I’m simply unsympathetic to her situation (methinks her husband is okey and yet she continues to go after her lover) but maybe the reason why I didn’t enjoy the book was because I didn’t expect it to be about a marital problem which, judging from Julie’s first book/movie, is far from possible.    But then again, I commend her honesty in coming out with an all-tale book, something I didn’t expect when I bought this one.

A similar disappointing experience happened with Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff which didn’t get me past the next hundred pages because I feel the narrative wasn’t energetic enough to make me visualize the whole scene with clarity.   So I decided to retire the book for now and re-read it later when I have much lesser things in my hand.  Maybe I need a different kind of focus with this one, since I read book before sleeping.  This book, being a historical non-fiction one, needs attention to details that I think I will fully appreciate if I will read it with an energetic mind, too.

The book that has kept me awake past midnight in the last few weeks of December was Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.   We bought the illustrated edition at Fully Booked and it was a delight to read.   It was amazing the see the actual places where the mythical riddles in the book unfold and Prof. Robert Langdon did a good job again – this time unlocking the ancient mysteries surrounding the Masons.    The only comment I have in this book was that the ending was anti-climatic, it short of died down in the end and my reaction after following Langdon and his team uncover another the long list of symbols and riddles was:  “That was it?”    The ancient mystery was a very simple one, it turned out and personally, I think this book paled in comparison to his 2 earlier works, Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code.

I still have books in our cabinet waiting to be opened and read, and some which I have already finished, the most recent one I was able to finish in 4 nights.   It talked of a different culture that I didn’t know exist to this day.   Will write about that pretty soon.