Monday, September 06, 2004

Summer Reading 2

The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum

I decided to read these books because I really liked the movie versions of the first two. (Will there be a movie version of the third? Who knows.) Also, I needed some mind candy kind of reading stuff, and this provided it. Blowing through a 500 page book in a day or two really boosts the reading confidence. It's a great contrast to laboring over ten pages of Plato a day.

Having said that, Robert Ludlum has got to be one of the worst best-selling authors of all time. Here's a blurb from Publishers Weekly:

"The literary faults and stylistic excessesthat characterized The Icarus Agenda, The Gemini Contenders and other of Ludlum's works are present in his latest mammoth thriller, but fans will nonetheless cheer the return of his most popular character, David Webb, aka Jason Bourne, the assassin who never was. . . . The Ludlum trademarks are present: improbable bloodbaths, repetitive action, stilted and off-the-point conversations and--most annoying--the use of italicized words or entire paragraphs to simulate passion. This is formula writing that delivers even less than its meager promise."

The only thing these books have going for them is plot. (Character development? What's that?) The plot of the BI and BS are better than the contrived BU. I found BS to hold up the best, since it has a pretty fast, intriguing, and believable plot and also lacks the most annoying scene in the Ludlum corpus, which occurs right in the middle of BU, a horrendous scene where Bourne's wife, allegedly a "strong female character," appears in Paris to help Bourne--she's supposed to be in a CIA safe house--and only succeeds in foiling Bourne's mission and getting his partner killed. And then everyone seems to just forget about what a moron she was.

Note to people who liked the movies: The plots deviate wildly from the books.

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