Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tenth post of month

It has been a couple years now that I have been sticking to my getting into double digit posts at my blog each month. While I am not sure if I really care to keep it up this year, I figure I can get it done this first month & see what comes after that. I need to think about a list of things to do/accomplish this year also.

Last year this blog seemed to be 90% about reading & running and I really should open it up to more than that but haven't been inspired to type much else. Oh well I will see what comes. I haven't gotten a run in for about 2 weeks now so not much to say there. I should get one in tomorrow but will have to see about that also.

Reading 3 different books right now, still The Religion and also just started The Charlemagne Pursuit and about halfway through Big Hair and Flying Cows. Quite the mix of books I guess I would have to say.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mollie's Job--#7 finished

This was a very good book about a real life company and some of the people that worked at the company. The author did a history of the company--Universal Manufacturing and its founder and about its first plant in Patterson, New Jersey and how it eventually moved to Mississippi and Arkansas. Then in the 1980s after being part of the corporate raiders and junk bond money and as part of large corporations it eventually moved all of its manufacturing to Mexico. It is really a sad look at manufacturing in America and leaves the reader with many questions as to how it got to this point.

There are several things I took away from this book, first was probably back in the 1800s factories in New Jersey looked to Pennsylvania for cheaper labor and set up secondary plants there. These helped in that labor in New Jersey realized the factory could move if it demanded too much pay. Funny how it was even back then.

The biggest thing I probably took away from this book is how the labor movement really failed the workers. This plant was caught up in the Jimmy Hoffa lead Teamsters fight with the AFL-CIO unions in the 1960 and 1970s. It really hits home when at the end of the book it says how little Mollie's pension is after working for the company for 30 plus years. The union really didn't help her out much in that instance. Better working conditions and hours and benefits certainly were improved by the union but it really provided little for the retirement it seems. This was also a very corrupt union and unfortunately the leaders are probably long gone while the retirees are suffering.

The info on the plants in the south that opened in the 1960s during the civil rights movement offered quite a bit of insight into life back then. It seems these plants probably did a lot more for the races coming together than they seem to get credit for.

As far as the Mexico plants, one certainly sees that the labor is being exploited there but still there are thousands of people there happy for the jobs they have. It seems almost labor will be exploited almost everywhere. What will that area of Mexico be like in 20 or so years is an interesting question--will the factories still be there or will they have moved again for another cheaper labor source?

The whole 1980s junk bonds and corporate raiders issue was a small part of the book but it really showed the difference of how the company was handled compared to the more hands off approach for the earlier corporate structures after the founder sold the company.

This book provides a lot of very good information and really makes one think. It doesn't propose answers because I am not sure anyone really has them for what happens once the plant leaves an area. It is like a big hole is left that cannot be filled. I really enjoyed the book but there is really no happy ending for this one.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Unless--#6 finished

I was very impressed with this book by Carol Shields. I just read on her wikipedia page that this was her last book, she died of breast cancer in 2003--that is just too sad. It took a little bit to get into the book but once I did it was really enjoyable. I liked the letters she wrote defending women writers that unfortunately never got sent and her ever changing signatures on those letters. I thought it was very touching how this mother and writer was doing about everything possible to keep herself together while watching her oldest child shut down in life. I don't know how I would have reacted to similar circumstances, I doubt it would be how she did but the fact the book makes you think and consider this is just part of the greatness of the book. After I typed, greatness, I am not sure if I have used that for many other books and am not sure if this is a great book, I would guess more to the no but it is certainly very good in my opinion. I am very glad that I read it and will probably be watching for other books by her as well.

I have posted it on PBS and will be glad when I get to mail it to someone else to enjoy. I think there are 6 books ahead of it so I am guessing it won't be moving anytime soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Some kind of stomach thing is running through our house this week. Thomas was sick Monday & Tuesday. Rose & I were sick Wednesday and Debbie is sick today. So far Angie has missed out on it. I worked half a day yesterday and am taking today off as well to recover and help out at home with Debbie being sick. Not much fun, but oh well. Time to get Angie ready for pre-school so I am off.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2007 Eleven and Other American Comedies--#5 finished

This is a short skit type book. Some funny parts but mostly forgettable to me. I did not hate it but really didn't care for it either. The skits were about 3 to 4 pages long so even if you didn't like one it was easy enough to just read and get through. Oh well not every book I read is going to be good and enjoyable, there almost has to be some duds and this is one of them.

I had already posted it on PBS, I think there are 2 copies ahead of it. I really am not expecting it to move very fast but that is okay too, I like that it is something a little different sitting on my bookshelf.

Still working on The Religion, it is really been a struggle to keep at it though. I am only 239 pages in, with over 600 pages in the book, that is a long way to go still. I also just started reading Unless. I am just 30 some pages in so not really sure what I got with it but characters are setting up and seems to be somewhat interesting so far. Might start a 3rd or maybe wait a couple days and force myself to read more of The Religion for a while.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Hunger Games--#4 finished

Well, I wasn't expecting to finish this book so quickly. It is a "teens" book that Rose wants to read & that other kids in her class have already read. I figured it was probably one for me to read & see what it is like before letting her read. It is in the US after most likely a nuclear war has occurred. It is quite a few years since and in this futuristic country, the have a competition with one boy & one girl from each district have to battle to the death where there is only one winner. The hero of the book Katniss is allowed to join with Peeta the boy from her district and they force the Capital to declare both winners. This is the groundwork for the next novels in the series. The 2nd novel is already out and the 3rd is coming out in August of this year. I don't know if more to follow or not yet.

I liked the story a lot. It has some of those good coming of age elements along with strong elements of independence and intelligence. While there are some sad and also scary parts to the book, I think it is okay for Rose. She is now reading Twilight after seeing the movie so after vampires, futuristic killings and stuff is probably not that bad.

This is a library book that I actually checked out so I will be returning it shortly. I had planned to hand it off to Rose for her to read but since Twilight came in the mail today she will be busy with it for the next few days or so.

I am still working on The Religion and have also started a comedy book 2007 7-11, kind of a short comedy skit book. Not too impressed yet but the skits are short so easy to pickup for a minute and do some light reading. I don't think I will be starting another book tonight but will be looking to get one started later this week for sure.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Defenseless--#3 finished

Not too bad, I would have to say. Not amazing or even great but overall a good read. About a lawyer who was an assistant attorney general who gets fired and moves on to a very private university where a serial killer is striking. In the end it all works out and Mari the attorney gets to return to the attorney general position and the serial killer is killed and the stuffy kind of bad university gets bad press and maybe more--this was left unanswered.

This was the first novel by the author Celeste Marsella and as first novels go not too bad. I will probably be looking for others that come out. I have already posted it on PBS and there are like 7 copies ahead of it. Can't really guess when it will be moving but probably a few months at least.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Goodnight, Texas--#2 finished

I actually finished this book yesterday on 1/2, so 2 days and 2 books finished. I finished it late though, like 2:30am actually this morning, but since before I went to sleep I still figure it that previous day, if any of this makes sense. But my point is, I guess, it is done. There will not be a 3rd book finished anytime soon, still reading The Religion but have over 400 pages to go & just started one and about the same 400 to go on it--I think it is Defenseless but not sure on the title.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Goodnight, Texas, I thought the characters and the general story of the coastal town was interesting and nicely woven. I really enjoyed the characters because I thought they were realistic, you got to see both the good and bad sides of them all. I thought the author did a very good job on presenting them and just letting the story flow, it didn't seem like anything was forced in defining the characters. The author also left undefined how everything would work out but there is a sense of optimism at the end where you believe it will all work out. A good story, kind of depressing and upsetting at times but interesting the whole way through.

I have already posted it on PBS and will be mailing it off next week. This is one where I am kind of glad because I am sure the next person will enjoy this book. From her RC it sounds like it will be a keeper book for her but that is okay as well. I will probably be looking for a 3rd book to start later today but no ideas right now on what it will be.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Black Star Rising--#1 finished

First day of the new year and I have one book down already. I was still over 100 pages from finishing yesterday and didn't think I would get it done until later this weekend. But with it being cold and me not really feeling like doing much of anything, I read a lot today, mostly this book. This was a good action book with some interesting stuff on possible new technology on Stealth fighter planes. The story revolved around some islands off Vietnam that both Vietnam & China wanted for the oil discovered there and how the US, or at least the US President, decided to side with Vietnam and forced ourselves into the middle of it.

I think the whole story of the battle between the US & China is not very likely and certainly don't think all of the damage and lives lost would be ignored as it seemed to be in this book. After reading it I saw that there are other books with the same main characters so not sure if I am missing some back story on this that might make it seem more reasonable. I might check out other books by this author but won't go all must have on them either. Like I said, a good read, but there should be better out there also.

I have already posted it on PBS, there are 9 copies in front of it so will probably be a few months or more before it moves. No hurry though. After waiting in lines at the post office before Christmas, I am in no hurry to mail out books right now. I can wait it out until I can mail multiple books at once.

Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year to everyone that finds this blog. Hope all goes well and it is a good year for everyone. No words of wisdom or resolutions or anything else at this time.

I joined Facebook today since everyone else is already there. I am not too sure why though since I kind of like being unknown over here. I will see how it goes, I don't think I will get to involved but who knows, last year I joined PBS & that really took off for me.