Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winslow in Love--#60 finished

A good read about a poet that achieved some fame and now just sort of hanging on in mid-life.  His 2nd marriage is ending & he hasn't written anything publishable in years.  He is offered an opportunity to be a visiting professor at a same university in Montana with a graduate writing program.  His wife stays in Portland & he knows it is over.  A good story about his coming to grips with where he is at and his interaction with the students and other professors there.  His one student with some promise also becomes his special student, they drink together & argue and eventually take a trip together during spring break.

It is a good read in a micro sense, one man dealing with himself and just a few others.  Good conversations and thoughts and introspection on his part.

I have posted it back on PBS and there is one copy ahead of it.  I think it will move eventually, this is a good writer.  Of course one of his other books, Into the Great Wide Open, is still sitting on my bookshelf having not moved in a couple of years and basically being the only copy on the PBS system, so what do I know.

Monday, November 25, 2013

St. Louis Hustle--#59 finished

This is another book in a series by a local author, Claire Applewhite.  It is an alright series, kind of fun to read about a series going on in your local area.  Nothing too great though, almost seems to try too hard to work in places around town & it kind of messes with the flow.  Also characters, well I am having a hard time figuring out what to say about the characters--maybe I guess I just don't believe in them, no real development--just kind of splashed out there & there they are.  That probably doesn't make much sense though.  While pointing out these to me shortcomings, I did enjoy this book.  It was a quick read and the action kept moving throughout.  Also couldn't piece everything together till almost the end either so in parts kept you guessing.

The copy I read was a library copy, I had it on PBS WL but didn't seem like it was ever going to make it so found it at the library instead.  I have the 3rd in the series already so will probably read it at some point soon.  I am reading Winslow in Love and the 1413 words book--really a slow read so far.  Also that short story book and I have started another one Elmore Leonard book maybe, can't remember it right off hand either.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Queen of the Oil Club--#58 finished

I had not heard of Wanda Jablonski before I saw this book and after reading this book I am somewhat surprised that I hadn't.  Not that a report of oil business from the '40s into the '80s should be widely known but just the fact of how she became the reporter of oil news because of her contacts.  This was before, during and after OPEC founding, which she played more than a little role in.  Her ability to get to the insiders in the oil business and not just interview them but to almost become an advisor to both sides, the big oil companies and the leaders of the countries with oil.  Also this was the time when the Middle East countries were really starting to make money on their oil and she was able to talk to the leaders, a western female reporter gaining that access, really remarkable.

I liked the book and as the author noted she was really dependent upon interviews of people that knew Wanda since Wanda had no diary and few papers.  She rarely even took notes, committing to memory her interviews.  But she was also the kind of reporter that wanted to get the story correct so she would go over her story it seemed with the contact to make sure it was what they wanted out there.  She really wasn't a kind of gotcha reporter like we have today that is looking to trip up a person.

After reading this book, it makes me realize how important news reporters are and how lacking we are of them now.  I don't know if it is the 24 hour news cycle, the internet, the lack of trust in news people, the slow death of newspapers & printed media, etc but it just doesn't seem there is the quality to the news as there used to be.  Or maybe that is just my "get off my lawn" statement, in that the quality in news has always been hard to find.  Oh well, a good book and an interesting person.

I will post it on PBS at some point to pass along for someone else to enjoy, I think there are 3 WL for it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Out Backward--#57 finished

A very good book about a sort of detached young man in England.  A simple kind of guy, that sounds like didn't really fit anywhere and took wrong any signals he received.  He is the son of a sheep farmer, his father is the cold & distant type & hard to get a good read on the mother.  There was an incident in high school where him & a girl were trying to hookup in someway at school and were caught.  The story is from his perspective so not really sure if he was more the innocent victim--in that he catches all the blame and the girl claims he molested her, or if she was really molested & he was just really unaware of the severity of his actions.  He is kicked out of school and just stays on the farm helping out.

The book starts with the neighbor's place being sold to a townie family and there is a girl there of around 15 or 16, the boy is now 19.  The boy just seems awkward in about everything he does, he brings the family a bucket of mushrooms but forgets to mention to check for maggots, which of course some have maggots.  Then also showing a violent streak as well, killing a chicken of a neighbor that he hates, throwing rocks at hikers and punching a man that strikes his dog.  These make you think while he is confused, his perspective might not be correct when assessing himself.

Eventually the boy & girl start to hang out and have an adventure or two.  You can tell she is having issues with school & family.  Finally she shows up at the barn where he is working overnight and wants to run away & have him help her.  He thinks they are now an item and after a day or two of running away, she changes her mind & he won't let her.  He knows he will be in trouble so ties her up and forces her on with the running away.  He is eventually caught.  The story ends with him getting close to getting out of jail after 4 or so years.  Again though cannot tell, because from his perspective, if he has learned anything or not.  I would guess no but will hope for yes.

A good read.  Hard to read because the writer puts lots of English dialect in the story but that does seem to make it more realistic, at least to me.

I have posted it on PBS, it is the only copy on the system so it should be moved at some point.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse--#56 finished

A fun book with a different take on the destruction of civilization.  Here it was just a whole series of events that changed the world and eventually lead to a nuclear war.  Mort, the main character, hides away in a mountain cabin in TN to avoid a divorce but has a radio and listens as the world unravels until the radio stations go off.  He stays in his hide-a-way for 9 years and then decides to venture out.  He smartly saved up a stock of whiskey which makes him rich at the only establishment, a strip club.  The strip club is more than that as he finds out eventually when meeting the owner and becomes entangled in a war between the strip club establishment and the red stripes--a band of warriors who leader wants control of everything left.  Throw in some interesting stops and overall pretty good dialogue and this story is a keeper.  It doesn't take itself that seriously but is much more likely than another vampire/zombie story.  A good read & a very very fast read--I zipped through it in 3 days--missing most of one day of the 3 too.

I will be passing it along on PBS at some point, there are 19 WL for it.  I am still on the Out Backward, I think is the name, the British screwed in the head 19 yr old.  Also still reading Wanda Jablowski or something close to that spelling wise, a groundbreaking female business reporter that reported on oil news after WWII & through OPEC founding, etc--interesting person & read so far.  Also a short story book.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Going Rogue--#55 finished

Sarah Palin is a interesting person in politics and I think a lot of what she meant to modern politics is not being examined.  She was probably put into the position of VP candidate too soon but when asked she said yes.  She was only governor for 2 & 1/2 years but her accomplishments in Alaska should not be overlooked.  She really was just a normal person who became a politician--first council person, mayor, serving on a state committee & then becoming governor.  She was not the Ivy League bred for politics type that is almost commonplace or the daughter of a politician, she was just someone that gravitated there.  That being said, I can understand why McCain choose her as a running mate.  In her short time as governor she attacked corruption in her own party and was able to pass bills that Democrats supported.  She is attractive and by being the only Republican women to be on the ticket ever was going to get plenty of media to help his campaign.

I am still surprised that all of the attacks she had during the campaign and even after the campaign, some of it was certainly self inflicted.  The Katie Couric interview and some where I think she just wasn't ready for national politics.  The McCain campaign or headquarters controlling her appearances and messages I think shows this, she was not comfortable it pushing them aside and doing things more to her way.  She kind of went along and did not respond or let her people respond to the attacks.  I don't know if there was anyway once she accepted the VP position on the ticket though she could have swayed or stopped the attacks.  That to me is probably the biggest thing that worries me today about her candidacy.  The Democrats and the mainstream media, as well as some Republicans, went to tear her down--she never really got a chance to get a message out or to define herself nationally.  In the book she mentioned Democrats started ethics investigations on her and other potential VP candidates before she was picked, just so some dirt would already be started on them.  To me that is a story the media needs to explore but just won't.  Dirty politics is a way of life and some should be expected but I really think the Obama team went too far.  Elections based on ideas or policies just isn't happening, winning at all costs is the game now & it should not be.  This is where the media must play a role but instead has just carried the water for both parties and has made our county divided because of it.  I really don't know what to think about elections anymore.

I also wanted to read Sarah Palin's book to get some insight into her because I think she could have a role in politics in the future.  I see her as possibly being a leader of a Tea Party type party if they would break from the Republicans.  I don't know if she could be a national candidate but I would think she could be a force in Alaska and maybe be a Tea Party Senator down the line.

Anyway, I liked the book for the most part.  I was going to post it on PBS but have decided to keep it because she is an interesting person for me at least and want to see what the future holds for her.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The King's Deception--#54 finished

This is the next Cotton Malone book by Steve Berry.  Malone is a retired spy for a deep secret organization inside the US government.  Because of contacts & doing favors he gets sucked back into situations.  That is what happens here.  The other thing with these books is that the author tries to take a rumor or idea or small time theory and use that as the main focus of the book.  This one is if Queen Elizabeth I was a fraud and could be proven.  Because of English Law, decisions she made--like in this book--like handing land to Protestants in Ireland, which became Northern Ireland would have to be thrown out.  This would throw the whole Ireland peace into turmoil.

Anyway with all of that going on, the book is a good action book.  Easy to read quick page turner type.    I think I enjoyed his other books a little more that I have read.  I am still meaning to find the beginning to this series & start from there but haven't gotten around to it.  By the way, this book was actually finished in October but I just never got around to logging it in then, oh well stuff happens.

I got this book from PBS but it is not postable, it is warped from water damage.  I will not be mailing it out.  I will probably donate it to the library.  I am still reading Sarah Palin's book Going Rogue.  I have also started Queen of the Oil Club a book about Wanda Jablonski and just started Out Backward.