Friday, January 28, 2011

The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair and Other Excursions & Observations--#8 finished

This is a collection of George Plimpton articles from throughout his career. Some very good and funny stuff. I knew of George Plimpton as the sports writer that actually got out there and attempted the sports to write about them. The Paper Lion probably his most famous where he went to the Detroit Lions training camp as a quarterback and even got a few plays in during a preseason game. I knew he was a writer but thought his main focus was sports. Well I was wrong and this book was a nice intro into some of what his career spanned. I liked the book, it was a short quick read with interesting chapters.

I have posted it on PBS, there was one WL for it so hopefully it will be getting mailed off soon. I am still working on The Hour I First Believed and also working on Breaking Dawn--the Twilight book. Not sure if I will be starting a 3rd one tonight but will probably look to add a 3rd sometime this weekend.

By the way, not a bad start to the year 8 books read in the first month. Now 3 of them are under 200 pages but still considering I have been slowly working on The Hour...8 read is not bad at all.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The True Sources of the Nile--#7 finished

I was pleasantly surprised at how I enjoyed this book, especially the 2nd half of it. The first half was slow and spent much time developing the characters to where the reader would feel some connection with them. The 2nd half started with the uprising and massacre in Burundi and how Anne reacts to that along with her feelings toward her boyfriend and lover Jean Pierre and his role in this and previous uprisings. I also enjoyed how Anne's life in the US still continued onward and once she was pulled back into that orbit how that life contrasted with her African life. The relationships at home with her sisters and her mother were complex but it seemed she was always looking for a way out from there and in the end leaves the US again for an overseas job in Malaysia.

If you can get through the beginnings of the novel, the 2nd half is really worth it for the read. Like I said I did enjoy reading it. I have posted it on PBS but there are 4 or 5 copies ahead of it so it probably won't move for a while.

I am still working on The Hour I First Believed, man it is going slow but hope to get more than a few pages read today on my day off. Also just starting the final Twilight book as a favor for my oldest--she really wants to read it but because of adult themes we haven't let her. I have agreed to read it and then decide so she is really really hoping I will let her--we will just have to see. I have not read any of the Twilight books but did see the first movie and wasn't very impressed, oh well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Perfect Play-#6 finished

This is a very good book by a British author. I read an earlier book by her The Half Life of Stars and liked the book but not as much as this one. A 30 something lady in England has relationship issues--afraid to open up with her boyfriend, day left long time ago, mom had remarried and mom then passed away and she liked but never really fit in with stepfather & step brothers. All of that is going on but the author writes in a quirky funny way.

She meets a former poker pro and since her dad had left home to become a poker pro, she learns poker from him as well as find a way to contact her dad. There are other twists and turns in the story. The end a little cheesy but overall a very good read.

I have already posted it on PBS and there are 4 or 5 copies a head of it so probably won't move for a while. I have 3 books to get mailed off tomorrow--Forbidden Fairways, Jaguar Smile and Ford County. I have been moving some books lately which is a very good thing because I really don't have room on my shelf for more without making some go away first.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It has been a while since I gave an update on my running. I guess this fits since it seems like it has been a while since I have gotten any consistent running in. A week and a half ago I ran 4 slow miles on Friday(I was off that day) and then did a good 6 miles at Forest Park. It was until yesterday that I got another run in, a nice 3 mile run inside on the walking track at the community center. We are supposed to get snow tonight & into tomorrow so I doubt I will be running outside soon. Hopefully I can get at least one run in this weekend though.

Given how sporadic my running has been, it should be no surprise that I have no races even being thought of right now. I am really out of shape. Dropping 10 pounds to start would be a nice beginning and would help my running as well, will just have to see about this.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Reader--#5 finished

This was another short book that I have finished this year--all 5 books finished have been under 300 pages and only A Paper Life was over 250 pages. I have been slowly reading The Hour I First Believed too which is in the 700s but I am just nearing 200 on it.

Oh well, The Reader is an interesting book in a strange kind of way. A 15 year old boy has a sexual and unusual relationship with a 36 year old lady in Germany about 8-10 years after WWII. She disappears from his life about 9 months or so after it all started. Eventually she is arrested and tried for war crimes since she was a concentration camp guard. She is found guilty and sentenced to life. While her trial is going on the boy is now a student and as part of the law school class he is in, he attends the whole trial but does not communicate with the lady at all.

Well the title of the book refers to the fact the lady cannot read or write so while dating the boy read aloud to her. During the trial it comes out that she would pick a weak child to read to her while at the camp & then at the end of the month that child would be sent off to their death. The lady being illiterate does not come out at the trial, in fact the lady does not want it to come out for some reason, most likely embarrassment. Since it doesn't come out though her defense is weak & the other guards pin the majority of the blame on her.

Well the boy, now a man, starts reading aloud again and then making tapes & sending them to the lady in prison. The lady learns to read & write and even sends notes to the boy. Well, the boy never communicates with her except by sending the tapes. Eventually she gets out on appeal and the week before she is let out, he finally comes & visits. Nothing major was said but neither was comfortable either. He speaks to her the day before she gets out and then the day she was supposed to be free, they find that she hung herself in the cell.

A really kind of strange book. I have problems with the whole 36 year old lady and a 15 year old boy. The book never really says how guilty she is as far as being the guard. The boy's life is screwed up because he compares his wife, who later divorces him and other girlfriends to this first relationship and none can hold up to the pedestal he has put that relationship on. An interesting read and very easy to read but overall I just have a hard time buying into the whole story.

I have already posted it on PBS, there are like 75 copies ahead of it, so it is not going anywhere for a long time. That being said, one of the first books I posted on PBS, The Yellow Sailor has been requested & I will be mailing off early next week. I really hated that book so glad to see it going but also sorry for the person it is being sent to, but different tastes abound so who knows they might like it. By the way I am also reading The Perfect Play and might look at starting a 3rd book as well.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Paper Life--#4 finished

This is Tatum O'Neal's autobiography and it is pretty shocking as far as how she explains how she grew up, her marriage to John McEnroe and her drug addictions. I had to check her wikipedia page just to see what it said. Her father Ryan O'Neal of course denied what she wrote, there was no statement from John McEnroe though. John McEnroe's wikipedia page barely mentions O'Neal and nothing about his use of steroids, I am guessing since he is a broadcaster now those things just don't get written up there.

The book portrays O'Neal as the victim and I believe that when it talks about her upbringing. Her mom was an alcoholic and was in no shape to raise her or her brother and throw in some hippie free love and drugs in the mix and there you go. She says her father rescued them but he wasn't much better. He was jealous of her getting attention, he basically ignored the kids while sleeping with everything he could and he was on at least pot and probably worse stuff as well. It was basically a horrible upbringing. It is a rough book to read given what she went through.
Now I also don't think she was quite as innocent as she is letting on in the book either, this was her chance to set the record and I am not sure I completely believe it all. I have to admit that she is/was hurting for money so writing a book with some blockbuster stuff probably helped a lot. On her wikipedia page it mentioned she was picked up 3 years ago with cocaine and crack and a crack pipe. This is really too bad because she has not conquered her addition. At the end of the book she talked about doing the AA 12 step program but I guess it didn't take. Hopefully, she will stay clean. She has had a tough life and it probably will always be tough for her from the sounds of it.

I am not a big celebrity person and really only ordered this book because there were 5 previous Paperbackswap owners so I would read it and pass it along. I really enjoy following the travels of my PBS books. I have already posted this book and there are 4 or 5 copies a head of it so it probably won't move for a while but that is no problem.

I am still working on The Hour I First Believed, just getting past 100 pages in. I also started The Reader yesterday. I will probably look for a 3rd book to get started on also.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Miss America Kissed Caleb--#3 finished

This is a short story book by Billy Clark. It is about mountain people near a small town in northeast Kentucky. Most of the stories are from WWII or earlier. I think the author has done a great job in giving the reader a real look at life there. I seem to understand it and the people just from reading these stories. I am really impressed with the book and will probably add another book or two of his to my WL.

There is 1 WL for this book and I will be posting it sometime this weekend and passing it along. I am still reading The Hour I First Believed and also Paper Moon, Tatum O'Neal's autobiography. Not sure if I will get started on a 3rd right away or not tonight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Jaguar Smile--#2 finished

I had actually finished this book yesterday on Sunday but didn't get a chance to log it in till today. An interesting read of Salman Rushdie's trip to Nicaragua in the mid 1980s when Ortega and the Sandinistas were in control and Reagan was supporting the Contras against them. It seems like he is offering a pretty fair assessment of what was going on with both sides pointing fingers at the others blaming them for the problems. The book mostly does point to Reagan and the US for being in the wrong but the Sandinistas do enough wrong that it makes it hard for Rushdie and others on the fence to convince the public at large.

It was a very strange time, in that the Sandinistas were leftists and also looking for money & help so of course Cuba and the USSR were the ones to turn to. This pissed off the US, but I don't know if the US had stepped forward with help how that would have or even if it could have been accepted. Many in the Sandinistas were communists but many were also simply people wanting to end the authoritarian ways and oligarchic ways of the past.

Like I said and interesting read and certainly I will need to go back and re-read about what has happened in Nicaragua since then. I am sure what I remember is probably wrong in many ways. I hope Wikipedia has the info.

I have posted it on PBS. There was one WL for it but it was cancelled so it is now the only copy of this book on the system. I expect it will move shortly, probably within the month but could go a little longer too.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Modern Baptists--#1 finished

First day of the new year and I have finished my first book. I am certain this pace will not be maintained, although I could have another book finished later today or tomorrow. Modern Baptists is a kind of funny but also just kind of sad book. It is about simple Southern people and since the writer is probably one of them, laughing about this is okay but still sad to me. Screwed up town, screwed up people and if the people weren't so pathetic I might find the humor a little more to my taste. It is an older book, originally written in 1983 so the test of time stuff applies and is probably contributes to my being down on the book. In 1983 I am guessing, laughing at people was more common maybe??--I was either jr high or freshman in high school back then.

Well, I have already posted it on PBS and while there were zero copies ahead of it, it was also on no one's WL. Well it wasn't even a day later & I had a request for it, before I had even finished reading it. I will be mailing it off next week.

Happy New Year

I have probably posted something similar the last few years but I really need to think about what I want to accomplish with the blog. I will look to give it some thought but no promises about what will become.

Anyway for whomever stumbles along, Happy New Year for 2011.