04/01/2013 07:02 pm ET Updated Jun 01, 2013

52 Books, 52 Weeks, Week 13: A New Life for Pi

This week's read for 52 books in 52 weeks is, as they say, an oldie but a goodie. First published in 2001 by Yann Martel, The Life of Pi is getting a second life with the successful release of the movie version, so much so that the book climbed back to the top of the trade paperback bestseller list last week.

If you haven't read it -- I just checked and this book has almost 450,000 reviews on Goodreads. Yowza. Life of Pi is about a 16-year-old named Pi who survives a mid-Pacific ship sinking only to be left adrift in a lifeboat full of animals from his family's zoo, the scariest and most relevant of which is a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. What follows is best left to be read, as Martel's imagination flourishes brightly throughout the book.

I first read this book many years ago. I admit that I was positive I was going to hate it. So many people were gushing about it, you see, and I sometimes have this perverse nature that leads me to pre-hate things that people gush about. (I missed out on the first couple of seasons of Seinfeld for this very reason.) I'm not sure how I ended up reading it despite this, but I was glad that I did. The book won me over from the first chapter and I was lost in Martel's imagination in a way I rarely am. I found it just as enjoyable on the re-read; not a perfect book, but one whose popularity, both critical and sales-wise, I perfectly understand. I have not seen the movie, but from the trailer it looks like the visual style, at the very least, is reflective.

Sidebar: Several weeks ago I read and enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower for this project. I finally saw the movie this week and -- wow -- what a great adaptation! Both the serious and the funny aspects of the book were kept, and the casting was pitch perfect.

So, this brings me to the next read and a reminder of why I am doing this project in the first place. This week's number one New York Times bestseller is Six Years by Harlan Coben, a writer I admit I have never heard of until now, and this despite the fact that he has 50 million (!) books in print. Where the hell have I been?

The education of Catherine McKenzie continues.

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