The Hundred-Year-Old Man (Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared) is one of those books that starts off rather inauspiciously but picks up as it goes along and in the end turns out to have been a worthwhile read. The author jumps back and forth between the contemporary adventures of a centenarian who didn’t wish to participate in his 100th birthday party and the wild, globe-trotting tales of that same man’s younger days; the protagonist gets mixed up in many of the major events of the 20th century in very inadvertent ways. It’s a funny, full-of-heart read.
The Trial by Franz Kafka is a fragmented, unfinished book full of absurdity and surreal bureaucracy. It’s too bad that Kafka did not put it together and edit it, because it does suffer in it’s incompleteness. I’m not well-versed enough in literature or smart enough to make a credible review of this book, but to me it seemed to be a story without any point, and perhaps that was what Kafka was going for in trying to show that modern institutions and society itself are full of useless, pointless rules and systems.
In this bestseller, Alain de Botton tries to sum up the life and major work (In Search of Time) of Proust and how living a Proustian life would work. The title of the book is slightly misleading in that it’s not an advice book nor a book designed to improve your life, at least that was my perspective on it. It is interesting in parts, but I would recommend The Consolations of Philosophy and The Architecture of Happiness over this one if someone were interested in reading any of de Botton’s work.