I received No Country For Old Men (the book) for my birthday in April. After finishing In Cold Blood, Truman Capote's beautifully chilling documentary of the unexpected slaughter of the Clutter Family which crippled the small-town of Holcomb, KS, it was on to Cormac McCarthy's fictional tale about a circus of death touring Southwest Texas. Most people will recognize No Country For Old Men as the Oscar-winning film released last year. Most people will also recognize the general rule that "the book is better than the movie." The rule holds true in this case. The movie, while excellent and worthy of its many awards and recognitions, is surpassed by the book. Here's why: the movie got bogged down by the murder, blood, and destruction but the book is able to transcend the violence. McCarthy aggressively deals with themes of faith, inevitability, free will, destiny, culture, change, and old age. Many people may have left the theater complaining of unnecessary violence or a bad ending. I finished the book contemplating the state of the world, the pace of change, and Anton Chigurh's strange worldview. The book was surprisingly good and a worthwhile read for both those who saw the film and those who did not. It is one of the best contemporary novels I have read in a long time.