Thursday, March 27, 2014

Capital Moves--#20 finished

The complete title is Capital Moves:  RCA's 70 Year Quest for Cheap Labor.  A pretty good read about  how RCA, like most large companies I guess in a way, have shifted operations to where it has more control and cheaper labor.  The book starts talking about the huge facility in Camden, NJ and how it was all good with no labor issues.  Once strikes and more activist unions got inside the manufacturing complex, RCA started moving their manufacturing lines.  Bloomington, Indiana became the next major line and eventually headquarters moved to nearby Indianapolis, IN.  Same thing here, all was well for a while but eventually the unions & workers wanted more, also they were expensive.  RCA built and moved some lines to Memphis, TN but that was short-lived because of labor tension & this was also during the time of MLK assassination, Memphis was a kind of hotbed and RCA pulled out.  It was around this time the looked to Mexico.  The area across from El Paso, TX--Ciudad Juarez.  RCA was one of the earlier manufacturers to move there & it kept moving more from Bloomington over the years.    Same story in Mexico, eventually the workers wanted more but it took much longer for them to organize given the structure of unions in Mexico.  At this time though RCA gets sold off to a French company.  The book was written shortly after that so, doesn't really go into much of what happened since.  I know RCA label is still put on TVs, our newest TV is an RCA but I don't have the box and haven't crawled around it to see where made, but I think it is China.

This is one of those reads that make you think.  While any business is there to make a profit, this book is a good reminder that in the world of big business it is pretty much cold hearted profit.  The business doesn't really care about the workers especially the factory line workers so long as the business is in a place where they are easily replaced.  It is kind of a depressing read and it makes me wonder what the future of jobs will be here & in the world.

There are no copies in PBS and there is no WL for this book but for the paperback there is 2 WL.  I will post it and I figure it will move probably pretty soon.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch--#19 finished

March has been a busy month for my reading this year, glad to see if even if a lot of these books are smaller type books.  This one is the Nellie Oleson actress Alison Arngrim's autobiography.  A good read, lots of stuff I didn't really know.  I remember watching Little House on the Prairie growing up, it was a regular show at our house.  Of course this was back in the days of one TV and we had to agree on what to watch.  I never read the books and really not a big fan but I remember enjoying it.  Now my wife was a fan of the show and is still a fan of the show, she still watches it today.  She read the Melissa Gilbert book and I saw this one & thought she might like it too but she never did read it, just wasn't interested.  I thought it would be interesting and it was--lots of stuff about the show and Hollywood in the 1970s.  Her parents were also interesting in some ways.  I had now idea her older brother molested her and I didn't know she was an AIDS activist.  Her husband on Little House who also became a very good friend of hers died of AIDS in the 1980s.  A good interesting book.  Also didn't know she is doing some standup comedy, I wouldn't have thought Nellie to be a comedienne.  It is kind of hard to separate out the character from the actor.

I will be posting it on PBS, I think there are over 100 WL for it so it should get mailed off soon, probably next week.  I already added a book late this week, can't remember the name but a vampire bat book by Martin Cruz Smith--needed a paperback to take along to a doctors appointment where I knew I would be sitting and waiting a while.  Probably won't start another for that reason.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Watch--#18 finished

This is a short story book by Rick Bass.  I had read one of his other short story books earlier & kind of remember liking it.  This one is mostly good.  Stories have interesting characters and interesting happenings for the most part.  Mostly around the south in the US and not all that favorable of the south in many cases too.  Most of the stories were from the 1980s, which makes them remind me in some ways as what it was like growing up then.  A kind of nostalgia for the time.  Overall good stuff.

There is 1 WL for the book but this book is tore a little at the bottom of the spine, borderline postable.  I will probably post it & send an email to person about it and some underlining in one chapter & see if they still want it and throw an extra book in as well.  If not I will probably just donate it off with some of the others I have set aside.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tomato Red--#17 finished

A story of the rough life of some other side of the track people in the Ozarks of MO.  The mom was the local hooker and her two children lived next door but didn't seem to really like mom.  The kids meet a stranger that is also a kind of kindred soul at a house they had broken into to screw around & play in, he broke in looking for drugs.  They hit it off and led a pointless life that was slowly pointing to getting out of the town since their reputation of being poor & trashy held them down.  After a showdown at the country club where the distance between them and the people of the country club is seen, they take revenge on the golf course in a big downpour and destroy many of the greens with pigs and chains.  Well, the brother ends up dead a few days later, death ruled drowning.  Police comes to them and basically says some country club types grabbed the kid and accidentally killed him.  The country club types passed a hat & offered them $5500.  Books ends with sister skipping town with a gun, no mention of money.  The kindred soul tries to chase after her but stopping for smokes, goes a little crazy and kills someone.  To me none of this really makes sense.  While parts of the book and characters were interesting, the ending really leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  I am sure the author has some meaning in it but to me it is just pointless.

I will post this on PBS at some point, there is something like 22 WL for it so it will move whenever I post it.  I am getting close to finishing The Watch and have started RCA 70 Years of Labor something and Nellie Oleson's book--whatever the actress' name is.  I will probably start another book either tonight or tomorrow.

Mullah's Storm--#16 finished

Another military novel about Afghanistan.  This time a plane is shot down with a high level prisoner & because of injuries some have to stay with the plane and the navigator, an interpreter--female, and the prisoner take off to get away since they knew bad guys were coming.  A good read and lots of good stuff about survival tactics.  The weather keeps help out for more than a few days & capture and then rescue and then tracking down the bad guys, lots of good action.  While I am not sure all of this happened at a time, it is a fiction novel, parts of this certainly did and it really sounds like most of this is possible or real scenarios in Afghanistan.  There is a 2nd book but I am not sure author was planning a 2nd book as this one just kind of ended, wasn't a complete clean ending.  I have the 2nd book so will probably try to read it soon.

I have posted this on PBS and I think there are like 15 copies ahead of it.  It might move if the series continues and gains popularity but I guess we will see.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Reluctant Fundamentalist--#15 finished

I enjoyed the book and the perspective it offers on a Pakistani, that recently graduated from Princeton and has a job at a high powered small firm in NY city, right before 9/11/2001 and how it affected his life.  I don't get the suspense from the reviews, I guess they were talking about the book is really a conversation between this Pakistani now back in Pakistan and an American CIA sounding type at a restaurant in Pakistan.  To me the book was really about this person's life and how it was changing by being in America and finding his first love.  The first love was complicated to say the least and made for a nice story within this story.  A good read and some interesting insights but that is about all for me.

I have posted it on PBS, there were 2 copies already but I think it has been moving some, I think there were more copies before.  I am not sure if a movie is coming out or something like that but I figure it will move at some point on PBS.  I picked up and started reading again The Watch and still working on Tomato Red and started The Mullah's Storm.  Not sure if I will start another one later today or not.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Other Wes Moore--#14 finished

A very good read about 2 people that started growing up around the same time in Baltimore.  Both were without fathers much of their lives and both were in tough situations and both are black.  Growing up in inner city or close to inner cities in the 1970s & 1980s had to be tough, the one Wes Moore got caught up on the street.  With no father figure around and seeing his older brother into the drug trade, he followed suit.  Even when he got older and tried the jobs corp and had some limited success at that, he couldn't see a career there and went back to the drugs.  He eventually commits an armed robbery of a jewelry store with his brother and 2 others, where a police officer working security was shot & killed. This Wes Moore is now doing life in prison.

The author is the other Wes Moore.  His dad died when he was young & mom fought to raise him right. Moved to Brooklyn to be closer to her family and paid to send him to private school and then to  a military school to get him out of the neighborhood and to force him to take school and life seriously.  From there he gets to Johns Hopkins, internship with mayor,  overseas study in South Africa, Rhodes scholar, officer in Army fighting in Afghanistan and just a true success.

It was interesting to see the two people and the similarities and also the differences.  The author's family was college educated and it was an unfortunate health problem that was the cause of his father's death.  The Wes in prison's father was never around, the book mentions the son only seeing his father a handful of times and then usually his father being drunk or not recognizing his son.  This Wes did like his father, having kids at a young age but did seem to want to be involved but really had no idea how and by then was already wrapped up on the drug life.  It is a sad story that is just seen too much in too many cities across our country.  Hopefully this book helps a few find their way.

I am posting it on PBS, there was plenty of WL for it.  I feel it is a book that needs to be passed along, the more that read it the more people could be helped.  I am also reading Tomato Red and The Reluctant Fundamentalist and I still have the short story book The Watch but haven't read it for a few days now.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Black Order--#13 finished

This is a James Rollins novel from a few years back, 2006.  I had read a few newer ones & figured I could go back & read one.  A good read, like most of the Rollins books, he tries to find something that could be possible and apply it to an action book today.  This one is about some Nazi experiments that some is known about but the research and scientists were not found.  All about a Bell and quantum physics.  Mostly far fetched and the characters aren't as developed as they seem to be in later books.  A good read but not a favorite by far.  I am not sure what number this is in the kind of series so might have to check into that & delve a little deeper to earlier books.

I won't be posting it on PBS, there are probably way too many copies and it is also non-postable with a couple pages that are tore in half.  I did tape them together with scotch tape but it can't go to PBS.  I have a few now that need to find a new home.  I will either donate them somewhere or maybe see about a used book store and get some credit there with them.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

American Sniper--#12 finished

This is per the front cover, the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in US military history.  A Navy SEAL that had also gone through sniper training and then 9/11 happens and he does multiple tours in Iraq.  He gives the reader a real sense of what it was like over there, the street to street fighting and some of the tactics used to secure the different cities.  It was kind of disturbing at points where he mentions really enjoying the war and being a sniper and killing people that deserved to be killed.  I am glad he was there fighting for the US but still this brings to mind there is a cost beyond just the killed and injured in war, there is also how war changes people.  I just wonder if given a few more years if his attitude will change, I don't know, but I do wonder.  Also I want to make sure to mention, he is not a prima donna but really does give credit to everyone that he served with and that the fact of him having more sniper kills is really just a matter of time and place.

I will be posting it on PBS at some point and passing it along.  There is well over 100 WL for it so it should move quickly.  Reading Black Order, a James Rollins book and The Other Wes Moore and also working on The Watch, a short story book.  Not sure if I will be adding another one right away or not.