Literary Travels: The Angel’s Game and The Shadow of the Wind

I have been flying through reading material lately. Now that I’m back into my 5 a.m. weekday workout routine, I have more time in the evenings to enjoy dinner and make some serious headway on my book pile. I’m thinking about blogging my forays in literature on my workplace’s site with some of the other themed personal blogs. Not sure yet, but this might be an initiative for 2010.

Despite my ever growing book pile, my boss came over the other day with a book and said she wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but me because it was a little different. I wasn’t quite sure how she meant me to take that comment, but I was secretly pleased. I don’t mind being known as the book worm who’ll read anything; the more complex and bizarre the storyline, the better, although that’s not always true. The truth is that I’ll read any author, any genre, at least once. She must just know that about me.

The book she handed me was The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. As I started reading, I kept flipping to the back and cover to read the summary and information on the author, who was noted as a New York Times bestseller for his previous novel, The Shadow of the Wind. Funny enough, I own that book– it’s been sitting on my bookshelf since I got it as a bargain book from Borders a couple years ago. New inspiration to read it hit!

I read through hers quickly since she wanted to share it with a few others, but I only just finally wrapped up mine. Final verdict: I like The Angel’s Game but wasn’t quite sure about The Shadow of the Wind. The Angel’s Game was a little bizarre, but the plot kept moving. The Shadow of the Wind started off slow and gained momentum, but I kept having to reread sections because I was getting characters confused and storylines misconstrued.

It was interesting to me that both were set in Barcelona, Spain, but that The Angel’s Game, though published second, was a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind. It was an interesting history lesson as well as a reminder of some of the things I saw while I was in Barcelona back in 2005. One main thing I noticed was the references to the architecture, which was one of the few things I took time to appreciate while I was there. Second was the references to sitting in cafes, which I had taken more time to enjoy while there.

Spain was not one of my favorite countries, but the more I read about it and listen to other people’s experiences of it, the more I think I should give it another chance. My brother and I only went to Madrid and Barcelona, then enjoyed a train ride along the coast and over to Avignon, France, so maybe there were a number of treasures I missed. We had some excitement in Barcelona, and that trip was the first time I got to put my feet in the Mediterranean, but other than a few distinct memories, Spain was somewhat lost on me.

Now that I’ve read these books, its mystique has come back. Maybe with a little more reading I’ll be convinced that I shouldn’t have written it off after only one brief visit.

Been to Spain? Something I missed?

2 thoughts on “Literary Travels: The Angel’s Game and The Shadow of the Wind

  1. I just had someone else recommend Iris Murdoch to me in the past two weeks… I will definitely look into her soon! Thanks for reading and thanks for the suggestion!

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