Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Book Roundup

Yay for books!  In 2015 I read exactly twice as many non-fiction as I did fiction books.  Modern fiction books in general are a disappointment to me, and have to come highly recommended (either through a friend or a thorough book review) before I invest hours with them.  Except once in a while I'll grab an audio pulp fiction off Library2Go (the Grisham book for example).

My non-fiction book topics range from earth science to modern politics to current world concerns to historic stuff I should have learned in school (maybe it was taught but I wasn't listening?).

Books with asterisks are audio format.


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Millions by F. Bryce: I saw the movie first, and like it better.  2 boys find a sack of money that was thrown out of a train by a thief.  One boy is giddy with the possibilities, the other is more conniving.  The story is cute, but the dad eventually gets wind of the find and feels the family deserves to keep the money.  I cringe that a parent would instill that in his kids.

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New York* by E. Rutherfurd: A Michener-style history of New York through the experiences of fictional characters, beginning with pre-white settlement.  Author follows families down the centuries.  I learned a lot about a city that figures prominent in my own ancestry. 

Product Details Middlemarch* by G. Elliot: A super novel about multiple families searching for status, and about women striving for independence and self-worth.   "For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half-owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."  Amen.

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Stories* by G. Keillor: a collection of short stories, some hilarious, others dull, by usually master story-teller Garrison Keillor. 

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Moriarty* by A. Horowitz: Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty have gone over Reichenbach Falls, but Holmes's methods and Moriarty's evil live on.  New characters fighting against evil, horrid people creating evil.  Entertaining.

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Gutenberg's Apprentice* by A. Christie: Remarkable account (though this is fiction) of the coming forth of the Bible printed by movable type, as told through the story of Johann Gutenberg's apprentice.  Pretty good.

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The Confession* by J. Grisham:  Great book by a very popular author of whose books I have read only one previous.  In this, a minister meets a criminal who wants to confess to a capital crime in order to save an innocent man from execution.  The minister wants to help but by doing so compromises his values and his profession.  The story brings up critical and interesting ethical questions.  Good.

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Nemesis* by A. Christie: One of Agatha Christie's many mysteries.  Entertaining.

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The Deepest Water* by K. Wilhelm: Set in Western Oregon near Bend, a man in a remote mountain cabin is murdered.  His daughter is frustrated with the police work and she ends up gathering clues to the murderer's identity, and determines it is someone close to her.  It's a good mystery but the end falls flat.  The murderer is revealed and gets his/her comeuppance, but it's unsatisfying because the author didn't expand on the murderer's motive.

Product Details All the Light We Cannot See* by A. Doerr: Very popular book.  I don't know the words to describe this kind of writing but it's unusual.  Author moves back and forth in time and place, so I wasn't always sure at first whose thoughts and experiences were present, and where they were.  Still, the tragedy of war comes through strong, and the far-reaching effects of war never completely dissipate.  The only serious disappointment I had was when family members didn't ask obvious and important questions about their deceased loved ones.  It is worth reading.   


Product Details One Step Behind* by H. Mankell: Swedish detective Kurt Wallender is on another case.  He is out of control--he has neglected his health and untreated diabetes is raging, his temper is shockingly abrasive, and now he can't stop a serial killer who seems to be after people who are celebrating life.  It's a good mystery, but I did get tired of being reminded that Wallender was tired and thirsty and had to pee ALL THE TIME (symptoms of diabetes).  Also, he guzzles coffee and beer constantly.  And hardly sleeps, and when he does, it's in the backseat of his car.  Sheesh.

Product DetailsThe Virginian, A Horseman of the Plains* by O. Wister:  The Virginian loses none of its spunk, adventure, charm, and thrill, no matter how many times you read it.  I've lost count for myself--maybe a dozen times, and that includes 2 times listening to it read by an ideal narrator.  Sometimes I crack a wry smile, other times burst out laughing as when one character says (referring to an awkward social situation), "And with you present my dear, the absence of a coffin was not felt."  Long been on my all-time top 10 list of books!

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde* by RL Stevenson:  I had never read this well-known story.  It's ok but Stevenson has better stories.

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Natchez Burning* by G. Iles: A Mississippi lawyer and his doctor father get involved in solving some serious race crimes from the past, and go up against a Southern mafia in the process.  An intriguing and well-worth read, if you can get past the foul language.  I won't be reading another Iles because of it.

Product DetailsOdd Thomas by D. Koontz: Have not read Dean Koontz before.  This is the oddest [ha] book, yet I couldn't put it down.  There are about 10 more OT books that follow.  Thomas not only sees dead people but communicates with them, and helps them out.  For instance, a dead murder victim came to him and he was able to catch her killer.  Don't know that I'll read more OT, but this one was good.

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The Disappearance* by J.F. Freedman: A foul washed-up lawyer and former DA takes an unwinnable case at risk to his self-respect, and even his life.  If it wasn't for the foul language and annoyingly crass sexual relationship, it would have been a good book.

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The Man From Beijing* by Henning Mankell:  Multiple-threaded story of odd mass murder connected to a 19th century incident involving Chinese laborers building the American railroad.  The end is a little weak but the story is good.

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The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar* by Roald Dahl: a heart-warming story about a man who learns he has a special gift of sight without seeing, uses it to cheat at gambling, but then turns around and does good with his monetary winnings.  Good story but does that make it ok to act dishonestly and then be charitable with one's profit??  Maybe not so heart-warming after all.

Product DetailsOne Second After* by W. Forstchen:  The same week I listened to this book Ted Koppel came out with a book on the same subject, only his is non-fiction.  This fictional story isn't greatly written, but it effectively conveys the complete helplessness our society would be in if an enemy staged a particular type of nuclear attack on the US.  It is well worth reading.  It leaves the reader with a lot to think about: How prepared are we for the worst that can happen?  Is it possible to even be prepared for something like this?  What kind of people will we be when the going gets very rough--Charitable?  Exclusionary?  Defensive?

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The Pyramid* by Henning Mankell: A compilation of shorter Wallendar investigations, including a few that are prequels.  As usual, dark and dreary, but I enjoy these intriguing stories. 

Product Details Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner: I thought this book was pretty good.  Sometimes I'm disappointed by modern fiction, but this book is consistent and thoughtful and I did not anticipate the ending.  Two sisters are evacuated from London to the countryside during WW2, as were tens of thousands of other children.  They become separated and that's all I can say without spoilers. 

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Watership Down* by R. Adams: second reading.  Still intrigues me 30 years after first reading.  A colony of rabbits breaks away from home to start new warren and runs into dangers and adventures.  They learn to work together and appreciate each others' strengths and gifts.  Even though parallels with humanity are apparent, the author claims no such thing.  It's a novel based on bedtime stories he used to tell his children.  Well, even if he didn't intend parallels, humans can learn something here.



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In Search of Our Ancestors by M. Smolenyak: Second reading.  This is a collection of stories about serendipity in family history work.  Perhaps an "outsider" would think the experiences are too far-fetched do be believed.  I am a veteran of over 40 years of family research and know exactly what Smolenyak is talking about; these experiences have happened to me again and again.  Perhaps I'll write my own book some time.

Product Details Whole* by T. C. Campbell: It's too bad this book has a snarky tone to it, for adopting the plant-based diet he strongly urges would be of benefit to all.   He is a scientist and I believe he knows what he is talking about there.  But his put-downs of mainstream thinking really bug me.  Mainstream thinking has given us medicines and cures for terrible diseases.  And no matter how well you eat, you are human and vulnerable to communicable diseases and to cancer--after all, people have been dying prematurely for thousands of years.  He mentions that his wife was diagnosed with a later stage of melanoma, and if you know about melanoma, you know it was once a sure death sentence, and even now survival is iffy.  He says his wife did not do chemo, but stuck to her plant-based diet and defeated the cancer.  Either he hasn't given us the whole story or she's one lucky woman.  

Product Details The Ghost Mountain Boys* by J. Campbell: Reading this make me want to scream out against war.  If my son or husband or boyfriend or brother was sent into these conditions as unprepared as were these soldiers, I'd be horrified and spankin' mad.  Of course, I wouldn't know about it until it was too late, but that's beside the point.  New Guinea was as primitive as any spot on earth in the 1940s, and these men were sent in to fight the Japanese with no previous jungle training, inappropriate equipment, inadequate medicines and supplies, etc.  It's a must read, but not an easy account to digest.

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Out of Captivity by Gonsalves, Stansell, Howe: These American men were contracted by the US government to destroy fields in Columbia that produced drugs.  Their plane crashed, they were captured by the anti-government revolutionary FARC, and their horrendous captivity lasted 5+ years.  Their treatment was brutally harsh at times, they were ill, starving, and chained up.  The book is about 100 pages too long, as it doesn't mince words about their terrible ordeal.  Other than the unnecessary length, it's a good book.


Memory: Sarajevo by S. Catovic, unpublished: Selma turned a happy 15 years old, and the very next day the siege of Sarajevo began, which sorely tarnished the rest of her teenage years.  At first she wouldn't acknowledge the war; she had a serious case of teenage denial.  The siege and fighting escalated and people she knew began to die.  Shells fell closer and closer to her home.  And then her father was killed in the fighting.  Eventually she risked her life to flee the country under sniper fire.  An American woman sponsored her and gave her a college education.  The book is taken largely from her 11 war-time diaries.  Wow.

Product Details The Invisible Girls by Sarah Thebarge: The author met a needy Somali immigrant family on the MAX train in Portland and ministered to them.  The Somali mother of 5 young daughters didn't even know how to turn on the heat or the oven in their apartment.  Their primitive habits could drive people away, but this gal Sarah doesn't run.  She understands that we are angels in God's hands, and people are put in our path for us to help.  Or we are put in their path.  Inspiring.

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  The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by G.T. Lemmon:  An Afghani woman riskily creates a home-sewing business during the Taliban times, which comes to support many families.  She meets every challenge head on, and later created other business to employ Afghani women who had been held down for years.  A marvelous story.

Climb* by ????: I got this book because it was about climbing accidents, and though I don't mountain climb, I spend plenty of time in the outdoors and know the value of learning from the mistakes of others.  The book was less about the details of accidents, than about climbing philosophy which is frankly rather boring.  Now I can't even find the book again to see who was the author (Amazon or library website, it doesn't come up).

Product Details The Know-It-All* by A.J. Jacobs: This off-the-wall guy sets out to read the entire Encyclopedia Britanica, does so, then writes the book about it.  Just the project itself is crazy and hilarious, and the book is so funny.  It's also very profane.  I wish authors would realize the F word subtracts from their work.  Anyway, he goes letter by letter discussing stuff he learned and it amused me.

Product Details Empire of the Summer Moon* by S.C. Gwynne: Story of Quanah Parker and the Comanche tribe.  I learned a ton from this book, including that the Indians of the southern US migrated from up north, assuming territory as they went.  So the next time an Indian whines about whites stealing his land, well, everyone has stolen everyone else's land from the beginning of time, including Native Americans.  Anyway, the book is worth reading, though the author lacks some skill.  I would find myself thinking of better ways or more complete ways to say what he just said.  Still, the story of the kidnapping of white settlers, and then later, the violent murderous Quanah's acceptance into American society is very interesting.  However, the author did not follow up with why this man who once committed the worst atrocities you can imagine, was slapping backs with an American president.

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The Path Between the Seas* by D. McCullough: France, then the US, strive to build a canal between 2 oceans.  The work was full of travails and tragedies.  It took the right people in the right place at the right time to make this happen. 

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Midnight in Siberia by D. Greene: A journalist travels on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, interacting with locals along the way.  Even though I only ever spent 2 weeks in Russia, I found his assessments of the country align with my own.

Product Details The Boys in the Boat* by D.J. Brown: Background and rise of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team.  Everyone must read this book.  Some of these boys came through mighty hard upbringings, and worked devilishly hard to become champions on the UW team.  Then they faced the Olympics in Berlin with madman Hitler on the rise, and deliberate rigging of the rules.   And oh yeah, they had to pay their own way to the games.  No entitlement here.  Highly recommend.

Product Details Without You There is No Us by S. Kim: Korean female journalist now living in NY poses as an American missionary so that she can teach school in North Korea and write a book about the experience.  This bugged, that she was there by pretense, and also that she kept calling her almost non-existent boyfriend her lover.  Eeewww.   Read this along with Nothing to Envy and you will never complain about petty inconveniences again.

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  Twelve Years a Slave* by S. Northrup: A free black man in 1830s New York is kidnapped and sold south where he works on various plantations for 12 years.  He describes everything: how the work was done, the food, spare time, treatment by the masters, etc.  Quite riveting.

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  Argo* by A. Mendez: Detailed story of how the Canadian government sheltered and therefore saved the lives of 6 American Embassy workers who escaped the takeover in Iran in 1978.  The CIA is more brilliant than I thought.  This book is super-interesting. 

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I Am Malala* by M. Yousafzai: Malala is a remarkable woman and has the gift to inspire others to do good.  She also recognizes that in answer to her prayers asking God to make her taller, she now has the power to reach people world wide because of being shot by a Taliban member for promoting education for girls.  She is now very tall.

Product Details Duchess of Death* by R. Hack: Agatha Christie's life and work.  If you enjoy Agatha Christie stories, this is worth reading about how Christie's career grew and flourished against the backdrop of her failed first marriage.   I enjoyed it.  She was a child of privilege so I couldn't muster up the sympathy for her being sick during her one and only pregnancy, when her only task was to keep down the food that was brought to her on a silver platter.  No cooking, no housework, no effort required on her part.  But that has little to do with her life story; it's an interesting one.

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Full Rip 9.0 by S. Doughton: A reporter writes about the Pac NW geologic history and the risk of a future mega-quake.  Washington is more at risk because it has a more intensive fault zone.  As an earth-science lover I enjoyed the book, but I could have done without the peppy and pop phrases the reporter reverted to occasionally.

Product Details The Longest Winter* by A. Kershaw: One heroic American platoon is chronicled, who "saved" the Battle of the Bulge.  They held off the Germans long enough for the Allies to strengthen and get positioned, in this battle, Hitler's Last Stand.  The platoon members suffered a lot, and were not recognized until decades later for their heroic efforts.  The book made me glad to be an American, especially when I read the last chapter.  One incident mentioned relates how a member of the platoon was on vacation in Germany many years later, went into a bar, and came face to face with the German soldier who had once held him at gunpoint.  The German closed his bar, invited his family down, and they all celebrated the "happy reunion."   Wow, who does that??  Americans and Germans, I guess.  Parts of the world could learn a lesson here.

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Earthquake Storms by J. Dvorak: Love this book.  It goes into detail about the discovery of the San Andreas Fault and its habits and behavior.  The author gives in detail particular spots where evidence of fault activity can easily be seen.  I see a field trip in my future!

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What I Saw At the Revolution by P. Noonan:  Reagan's speech writer reveals Reagan's character that she observed close-up while she worked for him.  I delight in the rational reasonable personable and even amusing person he was.  She elaborates on what it was like to work in the White House.  It's a short, revealing book.

Product DetailsBlizzard! by J. Murphy  Book is a series of anecdotes pertaining to the Great Blizzard of 1888 that slammed the northeastern US without warning.  Like now, in 1888 people were tough and they were foolish.  Author profiles a number of people who went to work at the height of this bitter storm, found work closed, and were later found frozen in drifts.  One little boy was sent out to buy his mother a sewing needle.  Yeah, at the height of the blizzard she sent out her kid to buy her a needle.  He made it back without the needle, because stores couldn't open that day, as . . . . there was a major blizzard going on.

Product Details The Case Against Hilary Clinton* by P. Noonan: This poorly written book was published in 2000 when Hilary was running for senator from NY and golly, I wish a new, better-crafted edition would come out this year in time to dissuade folks from voting for her in 2016.  It's too bad that the author makes the mistake of telling the reader over and over what Hilary is thinking, when the author does not appear to have interviewed Hilary for the book.  Bad form.  She creates an entire stupid "dream scene" without telling the reader it is a made-up dream until the end.  All that aside, Noonan put the fear of God into me anticipating America's coarsening if we became victim of more Clinton-ism through a Hilary victory.  Have people not noticed that everywhere Bill or Hill goes, scandal, lies and deceit, and controversy trail like the inevitable billowing dust cloud following a cattle drive?

Here's my personal Hilary experience from 2000.  In October 2000, a month before the presidential election, I was visiting some distant cousins in Olean, NY whom I had not met before.  They invited me to stay over and as part of my visit they invited a group of family members over to meet me at dinner.  Super nice folks.  While we were eating the 15-year-old boy commanded everyone's attention and said, "So, Mrs. Walker.  What do you think of Hilary Clinton??"  All conversation ceased, and not only were all eyes focused on me, but all were leaning forward so as to not miss a word of my reply.  My heart raced as I realized that I could alienate the entire family by my honest reply.  But I went forward and diplomatically explained that I did not care for Hilary, and thought her move to NY was offensively opportunist, blah blah blah.  The entire group, nay, the entire room including the dining table in front of us breathed out a huge sigh of relief and the cousins relaxed back into their chairs.  These rural New Yorkers ended up being mowed over by the huge liberal population of NYC, and Hillary was elected senator, a stranger in a strange land.

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Agent ZigZag* by B. Macintyre: Double agent Eddie Chapman's convoluted life is examined.  Interesting and revealing.  I had no idea how spies were recruited and operated, and how creative they have to be to survive.

Product Details The Next Tsunami by B. Henderson: Author goes into great detail about the coming Pac NW tsunami that will result from a subduction zone earthquake.  Even though there's only about a 30% chance this will happen in the next 50 years, surviving this tsunami depends upon the knowledge we gain and strategies we develop now.  No time to read instructions when it's on it's way.  For many years I have not gone to the Coast without noting my surroundings and escape route.

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Frozen in Time* by M. Zuckoff: During WW2 several US military planes went down in Greenland which is about as remote as it gets.  Rescues were attempted and some were successful, some not.   In the recent past an expedition went in to locate and raise (if possible) the planes which have been encased in ice for 70 years.  Greenland is no more hospitable now than it was then, and I was impressed with the dedication of those who wanted to locate the planes and the remains for the sake of the families of the dead.  

The Wrath of Khans* (podcast) by D. Carlin: This 20-hour in-depth study of the Mongols was deep and fascinating.  Since G. Khan was probably a direct ancestor of mine (and yours too), I chalk this one up to doing my family history.

Product Details So You've Been Publicly Shamed by J. Ronson: A study of the history and effects of shaming, and how current social media shaming destroys lives.  This is something I've wondered about.  All one has to do is post some unsavory info or a damming photo on FB about someone and everyone believes it, becomes angry, and runs with it without every checking the facts or truly understanding the situation.  People have lost jobs and had their lives threatened by stupid misunderstandings.   We should be better than this.  Way better.  Beware, quoted conversations are very profane.  Too many folks have neanderthal vocabularies.  I skipped over some parts.

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A Distant Mirror* by Barbara Tuchmann: everything you ever wanted to know, and some things you didn't want to know, about the Hundred Years War and the 14th century.  I personally find this a fascinating time period and therefore enjoyed the book, and even listened to some of the parts more than once.   

Product DetailsA Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer:  The former North Korean dictator (he died about 2011) was fascinated by Hollywood and international films and decided DPNK needed to come up to speed in film-making.  His way to do that was to kidnap 2 residents of South Korea who were cinema experts, one a famous actress and the other a top director who was frustrated by the restrictions imposed on his film-making by South Korea.  They were captive for some years, and had plenty of time to plan an escape, but first they had to gain 100% trust from Kim.  That was the key to their successful escape.  Two other books that expose the weirdness and horror of NK are Nothing to Envy and Without You There is No Us.

Product Details It's What I Do by Lynsey Addario: A conflict photographer (one who documents war zones) details her life and rise to success.  She worked hard over some years and finally achieved high status in her profession when The New York Times and National Geographic sought her out.  It takes major guts to do what she did and few could do it.  I appreciated that she admitted when she was scared and had breakdowns.  What I hated was the TMI about her sex life.  I am seriously disinterested in knowing about her lying in bed w/ the latest in a long string of liasons (she doesn't seem to have any qualms about hopping in the sack w/ a cute guy), and certainly didn't need to know about the conception of her child.  Otherwise good.  Book is full of her meaningful photographs.

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American Creation by J.J. Ellis: the contributions of the brilliant minds of late 18th century America are examined.  Our flawed Founding Fathers carved out the most successful government in history, which also has its flaws.  Interesting analysis.

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American's Hidden History by K. Davis: untold tales of some early Americans, some unknown.  Good book, not great.

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The Great Fire* by J. Murphy: Written for junior high age, but still interesting description of the Great Chicago Fire.

Product DetailsHalf the Sky* by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn:  Some reviewers have called this work the most important book they have ever read.  The Kristofs travel the world as journalists writing about third world conditions, particularly those pertaining to women.  In the past I have wondered how it is that women in some corners of the world are so extremely oppressed, dangerously so, and I'm not talking about burquas.  I mean cases where females are killed or enslaved or denied medical treatment because they are female.  One effect of this treatment is that countries who espouse it are and will remain third world.  The unpleasant information shared in this book is hard to read, but so important.

Undisclosed* (podcast) by Rabia Chadrey and others: A person must listen to Serial (podcast) before listening to this.  Rabia and her 2 associates delve into the case of Adnan Sayeed, who they believe was wrongly convicted of murder in Baltimore back in 1999.  They make an excellent argument to bolster a new trial for Adnan.  There were a ton of mess-ups in the investigation and the trial, and it would be only fair to Adnan to right that.  How many other folks are behind bars for the same reason?


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 Grandma Gatewood's Walk* by Ben Montgomery: “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”  That's Grandma Gatewood, age 67, after she completed the 2000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail.  What a woman, that's all I can say.  Her preparation was skimpy and the hardships harsh, yet her determination prevailed over all the negatives.  I want to be like her when I grow up.  Good book!

Maria's Destiny by C. Gallo, unpublished: my cousin Cathy wrote this book about her grandmother who immigrated to America from Switzerland.   I liked reading about her circumstances in the old country, how she managed to get here, and the background of my step-mom.

Blueprint For Armagaddon* (podcast) by Dan Carlin: Another of Carlin's epic Hardcore History shows, this one about the indescribable horror that is called World War 1.  I knew it was bad.  I knew it was, of all the wars in history, the one you would do anything to avoid.  But it was far worse than I imagined.

Product DetailsOne of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Asne Seierstad: Book studies Anders Breivik, one of the world's most notorious mass killers.  He killed nearly 70 high school students at a retreat on an island near Oslo Norway.  Seierstad has a unique terse way of writing.  She gives details without bogging down the reader, and it reads sort of like a play by play, where as the events are unfolding she comments on what went wrong or right at the moment it was happening.  Most notably, Seierstad brings us to know and love the victims.  These were children of promise (as is every child) who believed at a young age that they could make a difference.  The end of the book was unlike any other I've read about such tragedy: it left me not with a feeling of horror but washed me with the hope emanated by the families of the victims.  How did the author do this?

Product DetailsThe Guns of August* by Barbara Tuchman: Author covers the buildup towards World War One, and the first year of the war when it could have been easily lost to the German hordes.  No war is not horrid, but some are more horrid than others.  This one devastated a generation of European men, and it could have been prevented.  Countries were building up towards it for years, as if saying, "Well, we haven't had a war since 18--- so it's about time.  Let's get on with it."   One German high officer said months before the war that the plan was in place and cannot be changed.  Seriously.   Some historians believe that it was WW1 that ushered in the 20th century, and I think they are right.  Everything was different after the war.  Everything.  Valuable book.

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The Book of Mormon: read many many times.  For the first time though, I read it through like a novel start to finish.  And loved it.  My usual method is to look up footnotes and compare with Biblical events, etc., which I enjoy doing.  But reading straight through helped me get a better feel for the continuity of events.  It is a true book.  It is a book full of truth.

Product DetailsSeizing the Engima* by David Kahn: An account of the WW 2 Allied efforts in breaking the German code, known as the Enigma machine.  The book gets very technical (as it should) about how the machine works, which makes me realize I'm dumber than I thought.  I googled a photo of the Enigma which helped me understand a little more how it worked.  But still.   It is rather exciting to know about the race to break enemy codes in order to save lives and ships.  German U-boats had their way for a while during the Battle of the Atlantic (which the author points out was the longest battle of the war; it began the day war was declared and ended the day it was over).

My Soapbox Statement About Profanity in Books
I read a lot.  I listen to books constantly.   More and more authors are lacing their books with profanity, not the kind where a character slams their thumb with a hammer and says, "damn."  The kind where people can't seem to complete a sentence without one or more off-color words.  The "F" word is becoming ubiquitous.

In my mind it's the author's way of saying, "I don't know how to express rage or sadness or disappointment in accepted language, so I'll just throw in the "F" word all over the place and readers will know how mad/sad/angry the character feels."   This is total laziness!   Stop doing it authors!  Give us purposeful words, creatively crafted phrases and expressive sentences.

Publishers are partly at fault.  They think a book must be "sexed up" to sell.  Not a person I know ever says, "Such and such book is full of profanity, so it must be good; I'm going to read it."   But lots of folks I know set aside an otherwise good book because of the lazy, repugnant language.


  1. I'm later reading these, but enjoyed them so much! I totally agree about profanity in books. I've decided not to read certain books because they just start out with too much for my tastes. I don't get the appeal at all.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on these books!

  2. Since you like non-fiction, how about "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot? Someone sent it to me for Christmas, and I finished it this week. I saw where Bridget read it in 2011, and thought I'd mention it to you.

    Hope you are well!

    1. Susanne, yes, I read Henrietta and thought it was excellent. I enjoy books about real people, and this one was unusual in that her "contribution" was unintentional, and post-mortem. So strange.